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Policy Priorites

As the leading voice to policymakers on behalf of Ohio philanthropy, we work with funder members to bring the ideas and insights of the philanthropic sector to the table. Philanthropy Ohio is a recognized national leader in advocacy efforts. Our public policy work is essential to supporting our community of philanthropy  and to strengthening our sector, not only in Ohio but across the country. 

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Philanthropy Ohio members discuss policy with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown in Washington D.C. during Foundations on the Hill in March 2019.

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Philanthropy Ohio members and staff pose in front of the United States Capitol Building during Foundations on the Hill in March 2020.

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Philanthropy Ohio Health Initiative members meet with Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights).

Engaging in public policy is critical for funders to be effective partners for change in our communities

When we collaborate, we can leverage our collective expertise, authority and resources to scale advocacy solutions more effectively. Philanthropy Ohio brings together policymakers, experts and decision-makers to engage directly with foundations and build and strengthen relationships. We research and provide you with local and national data, trends and policy and advocate with you and on your behalf for the issues important to you, your communities and our sector.

In service of building stronger communities, Philanthropy Ohio educates members about policies that impact quality of life, provides opportunities for members to convene with policymakers and supports member affinity groups and policy initiatives that address specific member needs. Our legislative advocacy includes coordinated letter-writing campaigns, individualized stakeholder outreach, public testimony, the production of policy briefs, among other efforts. We invite you to join us and engage in the Education, Health and Housing policy initiatives, where you will:

  • Learn about key federal and state policies and their impact on organized philanthropy;
  • Discover philanthropy’s role in federal, state and local issues as well as opportunities for collaboration;
  • Enhance your capacity to engage in advocacy; and
  • Build strong relationships with federal and state policymakers as well as your funder peers.

While we continue to be an independent and non-partisan voice, when appropriate, we take bold positions on legislation and budget allocations that impact the philanthropic sector’s work. The Philanthropy Ohio Board of Trustees votes on such positions as recommended by the Public Policy Committee. Philanthropy Ohio undertakes policywork in the key impact areas of education, health, housing, tax reform and promoting charitable giving. The Philanthropy Ohio Legislative Agenda below details this work.

Racial Equity 

Using an equity lens, Philanthropy Ohio supports public policies that address disparities and are equitable for all Ohioans, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or age. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging are among Philanthropy Ohio’s core values. We believe that greater diversity, equity and inclusion is a matter of fairness and effectiveness in our profession. To have real impact in a diverse and complex world, organized philanthropy must effectively include these voices and draw upon them to intentionally engage issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in an authentic way.

We encourage all foundation leaders to sustain leadership commitment, authorization, learning and outreach and strategically and intentionally advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in our organizations and grantmaking. We recognize that our society is challenged to overcome racism and that discrimination is a powerful driver of unequal individual and group outcomes. Thus, we commit ourselves to seeking out and advocating for equitable solutions.

Building Stronger Communities 

Philanthropy Ohio recognizes that systemic, community change requires partnerships with government and non-governmental leaders. When we collaborate, we can leverage our public authority and collective resources to better understand complex problems and more effectively scale promising solutions. In service of building stronger communities, Philanthropy Ohio educates members about policies that impact quality of life, provides opportunities for members to convene with policymakers and supports member affinity groups or initiatives that address specific member needs.

Building Stronger Philanthropy

Education of policymakers – Through regular dialogue with federal and state policymakers, Philanthropy Ohio educates elected officials about the nature and importance of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors with the goal of building an informed and supportive community of policymakers who will listen to the needs of philanthropy and work alongside us to create equitable solutions for Ohio’s communities.

Effective management and governance of foundations and corporate giving programs – Philanthropy Ohio supports public policies that promote effective management of charitable resources and supports transparency and ethical conduct, responsible philanthropy and corporate giving and reasonable access to information. Philanthropy Ohio encourages voluntary efforts of self-regulation within the sector and supports appropriate external enforcement agencies for nonprofit compliance and oversight. 

Supportive tax policy for private foundations and public charities – Philanthropy Ohio’s work related to tax reform envisions a future where the federal tax code is an effective and appropriate tool that strengthens the tradition of Americans helping their neighbors in need; fosters the growth and sustainability of civil society’s nonprofit institutions; promotes communities using local resources to address local issues; and helps to build the economic security of all Americans.

Preservation of charitable deductions and strengthened tax policy for nonprofit organizations – Philanthropy Ohio supports the preservation of charitable deductions as an important tool to encourage taxpayer contributions to nonprofit organizations. Respecting donors’ choices, Philanthropy Ohio supports tax policies that broaden the incentive for all donors to give to charities of their choice without influence, restriction or inequitable treatment.

Promotion of Charitable Giving

Philanthropy Ohio supports income tax credits, deductions and other vehicles that provide an incentive for increased charitable giving.

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs)

Philanthropy Ohio promotes the availability of donor-advised funds as a viable charitable giving vehicle (with operating policies that are consistent with National Standards for Community Foundations). We support legislative reforms for DAFs that help to promote ethical and accountable management of the charitable resources in these funds for the public good, without compromising the privacy of the donor, and oppose legislative reforms that inhibit or diminish the reasonable growth and effectiveness of donor-advised funds.

Private Foundation Payout

Philanthropy Ohio supports an appropriate payout level for private foundation distributions that allows for the availability of funds for distribution in perpetuity.

Protection of Endowments

Philanthropy Ohio works with policymakers to support current laws protecting and promoting endowments within the philanthropic sector. 

Tax Reform

Our efforts focus on educating federal policymakers as they undertake reform, advocating for policies that:

  • Allow the greatest flexibility in how Americans use their assets to make charitable donations, with donors having a broad choice of assets from which to make charitable donations;
  • Treat charitable giving equitably for individuals at every income level, with donations of cash and property to public charities and private foundations deductible at the same rate;
  • Reduce complexity, as long as simplification does not adversely impact charitable giving and other principles;
  • Provide for a stable and certain climate conducive to charitable giving; and
  • Ensure an appropriate level of regulation for charitable organizations.

Education Policy

Philanthropy Ohio and its members have prioritized statewide education policy since 2006 with the creation of the Education Initiative focused on helping funders better understand and address education reform in Ohio. This member collaborative supports policies that:

  • Ensure every Ohio student is actively engaged in their learning, has access to high-quality education opportunities in early childhood, K-12 and post-secondary education and is prepared to enter the workforce and succeed in life;
  • Enhance student learning opportunities and equity across P-20 education;
  • Invest in high-quality early childhood education;
  • Support standards and assessments, which form the foundation of an equitable education system in Ohio;
  • Measure and ensure accountability so that all K-12 students receive the education they deserve;
  • Strengthen the primary drivers of student success: teachers and principals;
  • Support high schools to set the stage for a student’s future success; and
  • Raise education achievement levels after high school.

 Join the Education Initiative 


Health Policy

For over a decade, Philanthropy Ohio and its members have engaged in policies that promote the health and well-being of Ohio’s families and children. The member-driven Health Initiative supports policies that:

  • Advance Medicaid transformation while preserving current Medicaid eligibility levels and comprehensive benefits;
  • Enhance access to care;
  • Reduce infant mortality;
  • Address social determinants of health/health equity; and
  • Prevent and treat mental illness and addiction.


Join the Health Initiative


Housing Policy

The Philanthropy Ohio Housing Stability affinity group is a member-driven coalition focused on policies related to housing stability and reducing homelessness in Ohio. Philanthropy Ohio supports access to fair and equitable housing programs and works in partnership with strategic partners to educate public officials about the role of philanthropy in advancing stable, equitable housing and ending homelessness in Ohio. Moving people into permanent housing through proven best practices is critical to ensuring homelessness is rare, brief and one-time. It is important that philanthropy work in a public-private partnership model identifying where funds can be leveraged and create innovation and collaboration.

Join the Housing Stability affinity group 

Signature Policy Events

Philanthropy Ohio’s signature policy events provide members with the opportunity to connect with state and federal lawmakers. We encourage participants to share their grantmaking efforts and best practices to scale our collective work and improve the lives of Ohioans.

Foundations on the Hill

Once a year, the Philanthropy Ohio team and our Ohio delegation of statewide members convene to ensure policymakers in Washington, D.C., understand the landscapes of the communities we serve. Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) brings together hundreds of foundation leaders from across the country to meet with Congress and discuss issues of critical importance to philanthropy.

Join/Renew Your Membership

When you become a member of Philanthropy Ohio, you join a community of funder organizations 200+ members strong who are working to improve our communities! Already a member? Make sure your annual membership is up to date and you have access to all the benefits – from members-only peer convenings to public policy initiatives to the latest resources and networking events. 

Need Help?
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Learn more about Philanthropy Ohio’s advocacy work and how you can get involved! Contact Carrie Arblaster.