Monday, November 2, 2009
This past Thursday afternoon and Friday (October 29-30), the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at NYU hosted an invitation-only conference on Measuring the Comparative Worthiness of Charities. Rob Atkinson (Florida State) began the conference Thursday afternoon with a particularly heroic effort entitled Philanthropy and the Law: Remembering and Measuring the Common Good, covering the theories of tax-exemption, deduction, and comparative worth of charities from philosophic, economic, political, and legal viewpoints. Yours truly presented a paper entitled The Role of Redistribution to the Poor in Federal Tax Exemption for Charities that considers some anomalies in the federal tax definition of charity under 501(c)(3) that sometimes requires charities to engaged in poor relief to be entitled to tax exemption, but not always. Evelyn Brody from Chicago-Kent followed on Friday morning with a marvelous presentation on state property tax exemption, All Charities are Property-Tax Exempt, but Some Charities are More Exempt Than Others. Richard Schmalbeck from Duke closed the Friday morning sessions with yet another superb presentation, a paper on potential reforms to federal tax incentives for charities, Reforming the Charitable Sector to Account for Relative Worthiness? (the question mark indicated his general discomfort with such an effort). A trio of practitioners and academics from Canada (Terrance S. Carter), Australia (Myles McGregor-Lowndes) and England (Debra Morriss) treated participants to comparative views on the topic from their respective countries in the Friday afternoon session.
NCPL publishes the papers presented at its conferences in due course. See the NCPL web site for more information.