On November 19, 2020, Catholic Law presented the third event in the Contemporary Challenges in American & Global Law webinar series. This program is held in conjunction with Catholic Law’s partners at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. The afternoon webinar, “Nonprofits in Crisis: Changes to Giving Rules and Politicization,” was moderated by Professor Emerita Leah Wortham. Wortham is director of the American Law Program and the LL.M. program in which Catholic University has cooperated with Jagiellonian University for many years. Catholic Law Professor Roger Colinvaux, Director of the Law and Public Policy Program (LPP), began the discussion from the American perspective, and comments were then made by Dr. Katarzyna Zdybska Przybysławska, President of Halina Niec Legal Aid Center in Kraków, Poland.
Colinvaux discussed three components of a “crisis” surrounding non-profits and charitable giving in America. The first was the recent increase to the change in the standard deduction, which has reduced the number of Americans taking the charitable deduction from 30% of taxpayers to the richest 10%, portending dramatic changes to the makeup of the charitable sector and the market for giving. The second is the concentration of charitable contributions in donor-advised funds managed by commercial investment funds, which do not require disbursal. The third is emasculated enforcement of the law by the IRS arising from efforts to address the consequences of the Citizens United decision. Przybysławska described the differing crisis faced by many Polish non-profit organizations, which have affected by the current government’s redirection of funds. Participant questions and the discussion raised many interesting questions about differences in how differing political history, philosophy, and culture affect charitable giving and differing assumptions about the relationship of the government to non-profit entities and the voluntary sector.
To learn more about upcoming webinars in the series, click here.
You can view a recording of the webinar below.