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Policy Priorities

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.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging 

To have a true impact in a diverse and complex world, organized philanthropy must commit to including all voices as we intentionally and authentically engage on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Therefore, Philanthropy Ohio supports public policies that address systemic disparities and produce equitable outcomes for all Ohioans.

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 seek out and advocating for equitable solutions. Likewise, we encourage foundation leaders to also commit themselves and their organizations to intentionally advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging through their community leadership and grantmaking.

Building Stronger Communities 

Philanthropy Ohio recognizes that lasting community change requires partnerships with government and non-governmental leaders. When we collaborate, we can leverage our collective resources to better understand complex problems and more effectively scale promising solutions. 

In service of building stronger communities, Philanthropy Ohio educates members about the policies that impact their communities, creates opportunities for members to convene with policymakers and supports initiatives and affinity groups that address specific member needs. 

Building Stronger Philanthropy

We are committed to supporting a strong philanthropic sector at the state and federal levels. We do this by educating policymakers about the impact of our work and where philanthropic priorities intersect with the priorities of government. 

Additionally, we support public policies that promote the effective management of charitable resources, transparent and ethical conduct 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. 

Our work related to tax reform envisions a future where the federal and state tax codes are 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.

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 and 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. The education policywork focuses on helping funders better understand and address education reform in Ohio. This member collaborative supports policies that:

  • Advance anti-racist and anti-discriminatory policies and practices in P-20 education; 
  • Improve access to whole-child comprehensive supports in schools across the state; 
  • Invest in high-quality early childhood education. Support early literacy and two-generation approaches; 
  • Ensure students have access to high-quality educators by investing in recruitment and retention efforts; 
  • Anchor the state's school funding system in adequacy, predictability and equity: 
    • Make significant investments in K-12 education, particularly for students of color, those living in low-income households or rural areas and those with other needs. 
  • Position Ohio’s students on solid pathways through K-12 education, post-secondary education and into careers.
  • Boost college affordability by: 
    • Increasing statewide FAFSA completion rates, related professional development and family supports; and 
    • Increasing investments in Ohio College Opportunity Grants and expanding eligibility to more students.

Learn about Education Policy


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 health policywork supports policies that:

  • Advance anti-racist and anti-discriminatory policies; 
  • Allocate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to investments that are likely to positively impact groups that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; 
  • Improve access to mental health services; 
  • Improve birth equity (reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality/morbidity, birth outcomes and infant mortality); 
  • Maintain access to public benefits (such as Medicaid and SNAP) for people who are eligible; and
  • Pursue innovative approaches to addressing the social determinants of health through Medicaid/Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).

Learn about Health Policy

Housing Policy

Philanthropy Ohio and its members focus 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.

Learn about Housing Policy

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 Deborah Aubert Thomas.