Philanthropy under Attack

Administration Tax Proposals

In the new budget submitted by the Obama administration there is a proposal to reduce the deduction value for charitable contributions for Americans making over $250,000 from 35% to 28%. This proposal, if enacted, would devastate the lifeblood of many charitable organizations, such as museums, symphonies, medical research, education and a myriad of other cultural, academic and social organizations that make a huge contribution to our quality of life.

As Loman S. Henry stated , “The goal of the administration is to increase dependency on government, particularly the federal government. A healthy nonprofit sector with people giving voluntarily and taking care of themselves does not further the dependence society which the president seeks. By reducing the charitable tax deduction more money would be taken from the wealthy by the federal government which would then control the spending”

Independence of Philanthropic Organizations

Certain liberal activists, notably Greenlining Institute, are seeking legislation which would compel charitable organizations to “diversify” their directors and management teams to include representation of ethnic minorities and gay, lesbian and transgender groups. The obvious objective is to direct funding to these groups.

Founders of philanthropic organizations usually define a specific mission for the organization, and the funds they contribute, and those of other donors, are intended to fulfill that mission. FoIF believes that any effort to coerce philanthropic organizations to direct their funding to purposes other than their established missions is, in effect, in violation of personal property rights. The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights of US Constitution states that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation (see Appendix A). However, many philanthropic organizations are constrained from actively opposing liberal pressure groups because of their mission objectives and other considerations.

Our Mission and Response

The primary mission of the Foundation of International Freedom (FoIF) is to protect and defend the core values of Western civilization, including the rights of individuals and private entities to acquire and own private property.

The Board of Directors of the Foundation of International Freedom has resolved that it is appropriate to take whatever actions it can to (a) defeat any legislation which would adversely affect the tax deductions for charitable donations and (b) to defend the right of philanthropic organizations to allocate grants according to the wishes of their founders and their established missions.

Specific Actions

Accordingly, FoIF’s management proposes to undertake the following activities:
1. Identify the major liberal advocacy groups which are seeking to coerce philanthropies;
2. Prepare specific responses to their arguments through blogs and letters to editors;
3. Seek support from philanthropic organizations that may be constrained from active opposition to these threats by their missions or other factors;
4. Contact legislators and give them background information and our support. (Note: This is strictly an “informal” effort – FoIF is not a registered lobbyist);
5. Develop public awareness of this threat through the Internet and other media

Funding requirements

In order to accomplish these objectives, FoIF will need additional funding. These funds will be used for Internet marketing, including web site changes; back office upgrades, marketing efforts, including travel and entertainment, and overhead and executive and staff compensation. The proposed budget for these activities is $100,000 for the remainder of 2009.


There is an urgent need for this plan to be implemented as soon as possible because the new Obama budget is now being considered by Congress and certain legislation prepared by liberal groups is now being considered in California and other states to alter tax provisions to limit deductions to charitable organizations and compel them to allow minority representation on their Boards of Directors and management.


The Foundation of International Freedom is positioned to take on this project on a full time basis. Its primary mission to defend our freedoms was established at its founding and this mission is now being challenged at home. We can respond aggressively to these challenges on behalf of other foundations that may be constrained from these activities.

Byron K. Varme,
Executive Director, Foundation of International Freedom
February 28, 2009

Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[1]