Nonprofits, Community Foundations, and Other Philanthropic Leaders Applaud the House Introduction of the ACE Act

Today, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Tom Reed (R-NY), and others, introduced the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act in the House. This legislation reflects the policy ideas outlined in the Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving’s statement of principles and puts them into action in a pragmatic and thoughtful way. 

As reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy:  

“A bipartisan set of tax proposals intended to speed up distributions from foundations and donor-advised funds has been introduced in the House of Representatives, raising the hopes of its backers that the legislation has momentum. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine, with the backing of Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican from New York.”

Read IACG’s statement and what philanthropists, nonprofits, community foundations, and others are saying about this step toward getting more resources to our nation’s charities faster.  

Aisha Alexander-Young, Chief Executive Officer of Giving Gap: “The reforms that would be implemented by the ACE Act are a crucial step towards making philanthropy more equitable. While preexisting racial and economic disparities continue to harm communities of color, over $1 trillion sits on the sidelines in donor-advised funds and private foundations with no assurances that those funds will be made available to help those in need. In order to mitigate the effects of structural racism, we must be more deliberate and transparent with our philanthropic giving and intentional with regard to who, how, and when we want to help. I thank Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Tom Reed for introducing the ACE Act in the House and urge other members of Congress to join them in passing these common-sense reforms.” 

John Arnold, Co-Founder of Arnold Ventures: “I applaud Representatives Chellie Pingree and Tom Reed, and others, for introducing the House companion bill to the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act, which would ensure charitable giving laws once again benefit our nation’s working charities. It’s time to modernize outdated tax rules to ensure charitable dollars get to work where they’re needed most in our communities.”  

Roger Colinvaux, Professor of Law: “The ACE Act is common sense, forward-looking legislation that reconnects tax benefits for donors with benefits to charities. This bipartisan effort is crucial to strengthening under-resourced nonprofits and updating our charitable giving infrastructure for the 21st century. I applaud Representatives Pingree, Reed, and others for their leadership on these vital issues.” 

Marie Ellis, Public Policy Director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits: “The U.S. is a generous nation when it comes to charitable contributions, but our tax laws have not kept up with changes in the way that many Americans give. The Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act restores transparency to the charitable giving process by accelerating the distribution of already committed and tax deducted contributions to our nation’s charities. On behalf of our 2,300 member organizations, we are grateful to Representatives Chellie Pingree and Tom Reed for introducing this important legislation that will support Minnesotans, and urge Congress to swiftly pass this legislation.” 

Michael Faye, President of GiveDirectly: “With extreme poverty increasing, the time to act is now as patience is not a luxury the poor can afford. Rather than charitable funds sitting and collecting dust, we should be encouraging people to spend in a timely manner. The House introduction of the ACE Act takes an important step in that direction.” 

Global Citizen: “Global Citizen supports the ACE Act and we commend Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Tom Reed (R-NY) and others  for their leadership in building a tax system that truly encourages charitable giving. Charities deserve our help in addressing the critical funding gaps as they continue to deliver critical services. If we are to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals — and end world poverty — we have to look past just what governments can do. A good starting point is making sure that money earmarked for charitable causes by the wealthiest Americans actually reaches working charities. The ACE Act will enable charities to help those most in need — in the U.S. and around the world. Together, we can end extreme poverty.” 

Craig Kennedy, Former President of the Joyce Foundation and the German Marshall Fund: “This is very good news.  The nonprofit world will benefit from any legislation that makes DAFs more accountable.” (Tweet)

Richard Lawrence, Founder and Director of the High Tide Foundation: “Nonprofits are leading the fight against the climate crisis, using innovative approaches to address one of the world’s biggest challenges. Our charitable giving laws must ensure philanthropic dollars are flowing to these organizations, so they have the resources to tackle the climate crisis and other leading issues of our day. The House introduction of the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act underscores momentum for reforming our outdated charitable giving rules and getting much-needed resources to nonprofits sooner rather than later.” 

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “The ACE Act will strengthen nonprofit organizations like LLS, and the communities we serve, by restoring the connection between charitable tax benefits and actual benefits to charitable organizations. By encouraging the timely distribution of available dollars from donor advised funds, the ACE Act puts nonprofits like LLS at the center of our charitable giving laws.”

Felecia Lucky, President, Black Belt Community Foundation: “The Black Belt Community Foundation adds its voice in support of the ACE Act legislation. In particular, the last couple of years clearly have demonstrated the value of charitable organizations stepping in to serve our country in crisis. The ability of those organizations to access their funding when needed is critical to serving effectively.” 

Dr. Melanie Lundquist, Activist Philanthropist: “Philanthropy has such a positive impact on American society when done right. I thank the bi-partisan members of the House who are standing up for our nonprofits by introducing the ACE Act. The federal government provides incentives to donors to put money aside for giving; now the federal government will give them an incentive to get the money into the hands of the people who can use it for good. America will be better for it. I look forward to the House and Senate passing the ACE Act and then seeing President Biden sign this important legislation into law.” 

Ray Madoff, Professor of Law: “The House introduction of the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act clearly demonstrates a growing recognition among policymakers and the philanthropic community that our current charitable tax laws aren’t working as intended. This legislation builds on the momentum in the Senate to enact long overdue reforms to put charities – not charitable intermediaries – back at the center of our charitable giving laws. The ACE Act implements much needed guardrails that would ensure charitable funds actually reach working charities in a timely manner. By introducing the ACE Act, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Tom Reed (R-NY) are taking critical action to provide additional resources to America’s charities and I strongly encourage other Members of Congress to support this legislation.” 

Paul Major, President and CEO of the Telluride Foundation: “The Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act recognizes the unique role that community foundations play in communities, especially rural communities with informed placed-based giving. I am grateful to Representatives Chellie Pingree and Tom Reed for introducing this bill in the House, which will accelerate philanthropic money available to provide invaluable services to our rural communities, offering local solutions to widespread problems and underserved populations. The ACE Act is a step in the right direction. On behalf of our community foundation and our rural region, I urge Congress to pass this legislation.” 

Jan Masaoka, Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits: ”CalNonprofits, a policy alliance of 10,000+ members, is thrilled to see a House version of the ACE Act and thanks House and Senate bill sponsors for their leadership on these issues. This legislation will get much-needed resources to charities serving our communities. Under current law, these resources can sit indefinitely in donor-advised funds, with donors benefiting immediately through tax deductions but no guaranteed timely benefit to society. Our nonprofits and communities need these resources now more than ever!” 

Nancy Van Milligen, President and CEO at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque: “Reforming philanthropy is vital for the future of our democracy. We all will benefit from better aligning tax and charity rules with the public interest. At CFGD, our purpose is to move charitable dollars into our communities to strengthen our nonprofits and to meet urgent needs. We know that for DAFs to fulfill their intended purpose, our donors’ funds need to flow in a timely manner for public benefit. As a field, we need to recognize that in some institutions, DAFs have become tax avoidance tools in which funds may be parked indefinitely rather than be donated to charities that address challenges facing communities. The ACE Act is a great starting point for reforming philanthropy.”

David Risher, CEO and Co-Founder of Worldreader and #HalfMyDAF: “Our charitable giving laws need updating. Nonprofits efficiently help millions of Americans every day but are starved for resources, even as funds warehoused in Donor Advised Funds and Foundations grow faster than ever. The Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act introduced by U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Tom Reed, along with Rep. Ro Khanna and Rep. Katie Porter, is a critical step to increase the pace and flow of resources to charitable organizations — supporting access to reading, serving food to the hungry, and performing other critical services. By supporting the ACE Act, Congress has the opportunity to restore the connection between charitable tax benefits and benefits to charities and put more dollars to work for our communities.” 

Gerry Roll, CEO of Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky: “The Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act recognizes the important role community foundations play in promoting informed place-based giving today while building assets that continue to serve communities in the future.  This legislation is designed to strengthen community foundations that are proximate to both the donors and the communities they serve. Community foundation leaders like me are excited to see the ACE Act introduced in the House and call on Congress to support this legislation.” 

Mark Swann, Executive Director of Preble Street: “Over the past two years of this pandemic, charities in Maine and across the country have stepped up in numerous ways to fill critical gaps in services and support their communities. And yet, while these organizations impact so many lives, thousands are at risk of closing. In the nearly 50 years since our opening, we’ve seen the impact that every donation can make on a person in need. Establishing charitable giving laws that prioritize giving in a timely manner means more resources and help for Americans in need. We are grateful to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and her cosponsors for their leadership in introducing legislation that strengthens and invests in America’s charitable organizations. I urge Congress to swiftly pass the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act.” 

Kat Taylor, Founder of the TomKat Foundation and Co-Founder of Beneficial State Bank: “We’re pleased to see the House introduce commonsense steps to reform charitable tax deductions that benefit the wealthy and divert critical government tax proceeds. At a time when Americans face even more inequities due to the pandemic, democratizing philanthropy needs to, as intended, free up funds for nonprofits serving under-resourced people and their communities.” 

Edgar Villanueva, Principal, Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital: “People of Color-led organizations are driving the collective push for social justice in this country but remain largely under-resourced by philanthropy. The ACE Act’s proposed reforms are key to getting more charitable dollars out the door and to organizations on the frontlines pushing for a more just and equitable society, and I applaud Reps. Pingree and Reed and the other cosponsors for continuing to move this important legislation forward.” 

Katherine Vockins, Founder and Executive Director, Rehabilitation Through the Arts: “RTA helps people in prison develop critical life skills through the arts. When released, less than 5% of RTA participants return to prison compared to the national recidivism rate of 60%. Having received the majority of its funding from private foundations and individuals, RTA supports the ACE Act that allows money to move out of the foundations and donor-advised funds faster. We thank Representatives Chellie Pingree and Tom Reed for their leadership, and hope these reforms will support RTA and non-profits like us to address the urgency of reducing mass incarceration and create lasting change within our communities.” 

Thomas Vozzo, CEO of Homeboy Industries: “Throughout Los Angeles and across the country, nonprofits are on the ground making a difference in their communities. Unfortunately, inefficiencies in our nation’s charitable giving rules have stalled the flow of resources to these organizations. We applaud U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Tom Reed for introducing the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act, along with Representatives Ro Khanna and Katie Porter. The ACE Act implements reasonable reforms to our charitable giving rules and restores them to their original purpose. By getting charitable dollars into our communities faster, the ACE Act can truly make a difference for the thousands of nonprofits supporting individuals in need, including the most marginalized members of our society. Homeboy Industries calls on other Members of Congress to support our nation’s nonprofits by passing the ACE Act.” 

Dean Zerbe, Former Senior Counsel and Tax Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee: “The bipartisan introduction of the ACE Act in the House is an important step forward in getting more dollars into the hands of our nation’s working charities. The bicameral and bipartisan momentum behind the ACE Act reflects the growing support of leaders in the tax-exempt community for reforms to our tax laws to ensure that charitable donations are put to work helping those in need and strengthening communities. Charitable donations sitting in a warehouse don’t help warm the poor in a cold winter. Representatives Pingree (D-ME) and Reed (R-NY) should be commended for their leadership on this important issue that will provide meaningful benefits to those most in need.”