You know you've become an issue geek when... regret not being able to attend a law school conference on "Taxing Philanthropy." Conference was held at Columbia U on Nov 9 and included the following key topics:

  • Subsidizing Charitable Contributions: Incentives, Information and the Private Pursuit of Public Goals,
  • Is Income Tax Exemption for Charities Special? The Issue is Investment Income,
  • Taxing Philanthropy
I'm not a lawyer, not a big fan of taxes, and go to far too many conferences already. This discussion intrigues me for several reasons:
  1. I've long maintained that tax codes and regulatory structures are the true levers of change on philanthropy;
  2. I've been following the discussion about variable tax structures for different giving choices rather closely;
  3. I've proposed a few far -fetched tax and other structural schemes myself, mostly in hopes of sparking a useful discussion;
  4. I'm thinking a lot these days about what grant making philanthropic organizations could look and act like, if they were less shaped by institutional isomorphism and more strongly influenced by the missions, opportunities, strategies, and technologies of today's diverse, global, connected, digital world.
You can download the agenda for the Columbia conference. If anyone who went cares to point me to blog coverage, public notes, key takeaways, or even - gasp - video coverage - please do.

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