On September 18-19, 2014, leaders in philanthropy from diverse backgrounds—including legal scholars, economists, political scientists, historians and foundation and nonprofit leaders—convened at Boston College Law School for a historic meeting to assess whether the current rules governing philanthropy adequately support the public good.

Philanthropy is the backbone of American society. Unlike many other countries that finance education, health care, scientific research, arts, and social safety nets primarily through government spending financed by tax revenues, the United States supports these important activities largely through private donations subsidized by tax benefits. This public-private partnership has resulted in many positive features of our civic landscape, including broad participation in charitable giving and unparalleled diversity in the charitable sector. At the same time, this system of funding is vulnerable to causing grave problems if the rules granting the tax benefit do not adequately ensure charitable dollars being put to charitable use.

The last time Congress addressed this issue in a comprehensive way was 45 years ago when it enacted the Tax Reform Act of 1969. This legislation overhauled the rules governing philanthropy and played a significant role in shaping the current structure and activities of the charitable sector. However, a lot has changed in 45 years, and the problems of 1969 have been replaced with the problems of 2014, causing many to wonder whether the time has come for Congress to revisit the rules governing the charitable sector with the goal of creating a closer alignment with the public good.


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Thursday, September 18th
5:00 PM

Keynote Address: American Philanthropy in the 21st Century: Challenges and Possibilities

Stanley Katz, Princeton University

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

6:00 PM

Public Reception and Private Dinner to Follow

Convention on Promoting Meaningful Reform in Philanthropy

6:00 PM

Friday, September 19th
8:00 AM

Light Breakfast

Convention on Promoting Meaningful Reform in Philanthropy

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

8:30 AM

Welcome and Philanthropy by the Numbers

Brian Galle, Georgetown University Law Center
Jon Bakija, Williams College

8:30 AM - 8:59 AM

8:59 AM

What Makes an Organization "Charitable" and Should All Charities Be Treated the Same?

Miranda Fleischer, University of San Diego School of Law
Rob Reich, Stanford University

8:59 AM - 10:00 AM

10:00 AM


Convention on Promoting Meaningful Reform in Philanthropy

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM

10:15 AM

Reconsidering the Distinction Between Private Foundations and Public Charities

Evelyn Brody, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Roger Colinvaux, Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

11:15 AM

Taxation of Endowments

Daniel Halperin, Harvard Law School
Henry Hansmann, Yale Law School

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

12:15 PM


Convention on Promoting Meaningful Reform in Philanthropy

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM

1:30 PM

Donor Advised Funds and Payouts

Alan Cantor, Alan Cantor Consulting
Eugene Steuerle, Urban Institute

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

2:30 PM

Coffee Break

Convention on Promoting Meaningful Reform in Philanthropy

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

3:00 PM

Payout, Perpetuities, and Private Foundations

Paul Brest, Stanford Law School
Peter Frumkin, University of Pennsylvania
David Morse, The Atlantic Philanthropies

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

4:00 PM

Other Topics and Where Do We Go From Here?

Ray Madoff, Boston College Law School
William Bagley, Boston College Law School

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM