Clinton College Plan Damaging to Philanthropy

AFP News Release: 

August 11, 2015

Fundraising Professionals Urge Candidate to Protect American Tradition of Philanthropy From Proposed Cap

(Arlington, VA.) – In response to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s college tuition plan, which would limit the value of the charitable deduction for gifts made by certain taxpayers, Andrew Watt, the president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), released the following statement:

Hillary Clinton has proposed a plan to reduce the cost of college tuition and alleviate student debt burdens by capping itemized deductions, including charitable deductions, at 28 percent for certain families and individuals. Although the goal of Mrs. Clinton’s plan may be laudable, we are concerned with the proposed funding mechanism that effectively diverts money away from charitable causes.

Philanthropy plays a vital role in American society. It provides more than $335 billion dollars in programs and services that charities provide every year, and America’s charitable sector accounts for nearly ten percent of the national workforce. Philanthropy also encourages people to get involved in their communities and work together to solve problems. It is the thread woven throughout America’s communities that ties us together.

We advocate for more thoughtful consideration of any funding mechanism that could negatively impact charitable giving. The proposed cap on deductions represents a potential loss of $80 billion in charitable contributions over a ten-year period. But the negative impact doesn’t stop there. In addition, research shows that for every tax dollar invested through the deduction, nonprofits and the people they serve receive approximately $2.50 in charitable services in local communities. The overall effect of this proposal on charitable funding, and the impact it would have on programs, is massive and represents a huge step backwards for philanthropy in our country.

To alter the charitable deduction is to reverse a long-standing commitment to the charitable sector, the donors who generously support it and the people we passionately serve. It means fewer programs and services that benefit all Americans, but especially those most vulnerable in our communities.

We should be encouraging additional philanthropy and investing more in the charitable deduction, not introducing ways to limit or cap it. On behalf of the more than 30,000 charities and fundraisers raising $100 billion annually that AFP represents, we call on Mrs. Clinton to reconsider her proposal and examine new ways to fund her education program.

For more information about AFP’s views on philanthropy and the charitable deduction, including AFP’s testimony before Congress on the importance of the deduction, email Michael Nilsen at

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Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has inspired global change—helping nonprofits and charities and supporting fundraising efforts that have generated more than $1 trillion. AFP advances effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s more than 30,000 members raise over $100 billion annually, equivalent to more than one-third of charitable giving in North America, with millions more generated around the world. For more information, go to