Philanthropy Forum

Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good

The Boston College Law School Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good is a time-limited think tank devoted to considering whether our current rules governing the charitable sector are adequately serving the public good. 

The work of the Forum is undertaken with the support of many of the country's leading foundations including: the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David Bohnett Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Foundation, Inc., the Chicago Community Trust, the Andrea & Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, in addition to a generous anonymous donor.*

We seek other foundations to become involved as active participants in this important work.

*The work of the Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good does not necessarily represent the views of those foundations.


Become a Co-Sponsor


For more information about becoming a co-sponsor, please contact Professor of Law and Forum Convenor Ray Madoff


 

Philanthropy and the charitable sector are the institutional embodiments of society’s highest ideals: the voluntary commitment of time and resources in pursuit of making the world a better place. It is because of these important ideals that the government chooses to subsidize charitable activities through the tax code.

However, experience teaches us that legislation and regulation do not always produce optimal results. Society must periodically revisit the rules and ask whether they adequately further the accomplishment of desired goals. This inquiry serves to strengthen the philanthropic sector as well, as any perceived disconnect between the charitable sector and the public good undermines public confidence and invites reactive legislative intervention.

The goal of the Forum is to assume a leadership role in developing a full and fair airing of issues in connection with this inquiry. While Congress has shown interest in addressing issues of philanthropy and tax policy, too often the only feedback it receives is from interested parties and too little attention is paid to the broader public good. The work of the Forum is non-partisan and unencumbered by constituent interests.

The Forum operates as a time-limited think tank that brings together the nation’s leading experts in philanthropy to engage deeply in matters of philanthropy policy. By raising the level of sophistication of policy discussions and their timely expression, we believe that the Forum plays a useful, non-partisan role in raising, exploring and resolving issues whose resolution stands to promote the use of philanthropy in pursuit of the public good.

A diverse consortium of funders, including large and small public and private foundations, supports the work of the Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, including: the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David Bohnett Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Foundation, Inc., the Chicago Community Trust, the Andrea & Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

We seek other foundations to become involved as active participants in this important work.

Interested in becoming a co-sponsor?

Contact:

Ray Madoff
Professor of Law and Forum Convenor

In June 2017, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called on tax stakeholders to provide ideas, proposals, and feedback on how to improve the American tax system. In response to Senator Hatch's request, Professor Ray Madoff (Professor and Director of the Boston College Law School Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good) and Professor Roger Colinvaux (Professor, Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America) submitted a letter proposing changes to the rules governing donor-advised funds and private foundations. In response to the Colinvaux-Madoff letter, an industry group submitted their own letter to Congress and Professors Madoff and Colinvaux responded to the industry letter. 

This type of robust exchange of ideas is one of the things that we hope to promote in creating the Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good. 

Coinvaux-Madoff tax reform submission
Daf joint response
Response to industry DAF letter

 

Events Archive

September 22-23, 2016
Giving in Time Scholars Conference

April 4-5, 2016
Giving in Time: Perpetuity, Limited Life, and the Responsibility of Philanthropy to the Present and the Future
Chronicle of Philanthropy: Foundation Chiefs Spar on Question of Giving in Perpetuity
Stanford University Pacs Center: Giving in Time
Video from event

October 23, 2015
The Rise of Donor Advised Funds: Should Congress Respond?

October 2014
Convention on Promoting Meaningful Reform in Philanthropy

More:
Archived papers and materials from prior events (Digital Commons)