Mary Pounder, Comer Family Foundation program officer, joined a Donors Forum delegation attending the Foundations on the Hill event last month. The new Congress will soon be making decisions on tax policy that will affect philanthropies nationwide.
"I stepped onto the airplane, clicked my seat beat, and thought “what a ride this will be,” as I prepared for my first official visit to meet and advocate with legislators on philanthropic tax policy. Being new to philanthropic tax policy I was nervous; it didn’t help that upon arrival I was handed a name tag with a giant blue ribbon that stated “First Time Attendee” (that I discreetly removed).
In preparation of our Foundations on the Hill meetings, Donors Forum had provided us with talking points covering areas we were most concerned about. I quickly became at ease after our first visit with Senator Mark Kirk’s staff. Our tag-team approach in each meeting worked well, as each foundation leader stepped up as expert on their subject -- providing real examples of how each proposed law change would impact foundation giving, and in turn, impact our communities.
The simple art of storytelling, what each of us sees day to day in our communities, was the lynchpin to our success. It was how we turned “tax reform” into "real people at home."
I was proud to see nonprofits -- both from Chicago and those national in scope -- in action, working with our legislators. We were all in D.C. advocating for the people we care about back at home.
The relationships established with legislators and their staff were invaluable. With continued follow up locally, I will strive to become a trusted source for examples to help them made the best decisions for our communities. Those in our delegation were fighting for the coveted status to be remembered as “the best tour of a nonprofit ever,” where we can help highlight the work of nonprofits at home."
— Mary Pounder
Read more about the delegate visit to D.C.