Eugene R. Tempel, founding dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and former president of the IU Foundation, has been selected to testify at a congressional hearing this week examining the impact of tax policies on charitable giving.
At the Feb. 14 hearing in front of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Tempel is expected to provide testimony detailing the importance of charitable giving to U.S. society, and the potential impact on giving of limiting tax benefits for charitable donations.
The School of Philanthropy worked with the office of Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., a member of the Ways and Means committee, to secure Tempel's participation in the hearing. The committee has called the hearing as part of its work to pursue comprehensive tax reform.
"The IU School of Philanthropy, which is built on the foundation of our former Center on Philanthropy, is one of the most respected sources of objective research on U.S. charitable giving, and I am honored that the Ways and Means committee has provided this opportunity to share information on this important issue," Tempel said.
Tempel, who became dean of the school last fall after four years leading the IU Foundation, is a national expert on philanthropy and played a significant role in the creation of what is the nation's only school devoted solely to research and teaching about philanthropy. Tempel's testimony is designed to provide the committee with objective data about the role tax policy plays in charitable giving in the U.S.
According to recent research by the school for Giving USA, Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charity in 2011, and 65 percent of Americans give each year. The school's research also shows that the amount of tax benefits an individual receives from giving tends to affect the amount that a person gives to charity, especially among higher-income donors who account for a disproportionate share of charitable giving in the United States.
"Our goal is not to advocate for a specific policy with regards to tax deductions for charitable giving, but rather to provide an objective look at the current state of philanthropy in the U.S. and an analysis of the role that those deductions play in giving," Tempel said. "Charitable giving is an important way that citizens exercise their democratic freedoms and is an essential component to the creation of a caring and thriving society, and we are pleased to be able to contribute to the public dialogue on this issue."