Philanthropy Roundtable

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The Philanthropy Roundtable
Founded 1987, gained independent status in 1991
Founder William E. Simon, Irving Kristol
Type 501(c)(3)
Focus philanthropic strategy and analysis, education, conservation, national security, social services, philanthropic freedom
Coordinates 38°54′19″N 77°02′24″W / 38.9053°N 77.0401°W / 38.9053; -77.0401Coordinates: 38°54′19″N 77°02′24″W / 38.9053°N 77.0401°W / 38.9053; -77.0401
Origins Formerly project of Institute For Educational Affairs
Method publications, conferences, consulting
$5,872,863 in 2006[1]
Slogan Strengthening our free society

The Philanthropy Roundtable is a private, non-partisan, conservative, philanthropic organization. Its stated mission is "to foster excellence in philanthropy, to protect philanthropic freedom, to assist donors in achieving their philanthropic intent, and to help donors advance liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility in America and abroad."[2]


The Roundtable was founded in 1987 as a project of the Institute For Educational Affairs.[3] For four years the program, known then as the Philanthropic Roundtable, held occasional meetings where representatives of foundations and charities could converse with scholars and journalists about the way professional philanthropy was conducted in the U.S. It also published a bimonthly newsletter, Philanthropy; offered member organizations a talent bank for hiring young staffers from its list of recent college graduates (almost all of whom had worked at conservative college newspapers partially funded by IEA); and conducted a "project development service" that assisted members "in examining their own programs ... to foster innovative programming."[4] Membership was free "to interested grantmakers," and 140 foundations, charities and nonprofits joined in the Roundtable's first year.[4]

In 1991, The Philanthropy Roundtable became an independent entity, with its own board of directors and staff, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana .[5] The Philanthropy Roundtable files with the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization.[1]


Kimberly Dennis was the organization's first executive director. She served as executive director from 1991 through 1996. John P. Walters assumed administrative leadership of the organization in the newly defined role of president the following year when the organization moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C.[3] Walters remained in that position until resigning in October 2001[5] in order to accept an appointment by George W. Bush to the cabinet-level position of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.[6]

The current president of the Roundtable, Adam Meyerson, has held that position since Walters's departure in 2001. Before Meyerson's move to The Philanthropy Roundtable, he was the Heritage Foundation's vice president for educational affairs. Meyerson was previously an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal and, in the late 1970s, managing editor of American Spectator.[5] In 2011, former White House domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister joined the Roundtable as vice president for publications.[7]


Since 2003, The Philanthropy Roundtable has organized issue-specific program areas designed to "help philanthropists connect with like-minded peers in their field of interest to share ideas, leverage resources, and strategically collaborate to create significant change. Each group holds separate regional meetings and offers customized resources, including publications and seminars." As of 2011, the Roundtable offers programs in K-12 education and economic opportunity, although in the past it has held programs on conservation, national security, and higher education.[8]


The Philanthropy Roundtable has published a series of guidebooks offering suggested strategies for many philanthropic niches. Such books published by the organization include:

All of these are available in electronic and print formats.[9]

The Roundtable also publishes a quarterly magazine, Philanthropy, that includes coverage of past and ongoing philanthropic efforts and strategies, as well as news stories and commentary relevant to readers who are active in the philanthropic sector. [10]

Alliance For Charitable Reform[edit]

In January 2005, The Philanthropy Roundtable created the Alliance For Charitable Reform (ACR) in response to pending legislation that would have created new statutory regulations and restrictions on the non-profit sector.[11] The ACR website describes its formation "as an emergency self-defense initiative to respond to legislative proposals on Capitol Hill, some of which could adversely affect private foundations and the charities they support." The Alliance opposes legislation that would create accreditation requirements for grant-making foundations, establish a five-year IRS review of tax-exempt status, or restrict the ability of donors to establish family foundations.[12]

In a letter published in The Hill, ACR co-founders Dan Peters and Heather Higgins responded to discussion of legislative regulatory proposals, saying that, "ACR believes that every dollar of tax increases on foundations is to the federal government rather than a dollar to charities, and the ACR is troubled by that notion.... We cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all solution that disadvantages smaller organizations. We must do everything possible to encourage philanthropy and not create barriers to charitable giving."[13]

William E. Simon Prize[edit]

Starting in 2007, the William E. Simon Foundation named the Roundtable the administrator of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. Recipients of the prize since the Roundtable's administration of it include Bernie Marcus, Eli Broad, Charles G. Koch, Roger Hertog, Philip and Nancy Anschutz, S. Truett Cathy, and Frank Hanna III.[14]

Board of directors[edit]


  1. ^ a b "IRS Form 990: Philanthropy Roundtable." Hosted by the Foundation Center. 23 May 2007.
  2. ^ "Mission and Principles." The Philanthropy Roundtable. 2006.
  3. ^ a b "History." The Philanthropy Roundtable. 2006.
  4. ^ a b "Philanthropy," July–August 1988, p. 16.
  5. ^ a b c "Newsmakers: Adam Meyerson, President, The Philanthropy Roundtable: Donors and Philanthropic Intent." Foundation Center. 29 November 2006.
  6. ^ "John P. Walters."
  7. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "Karl Zinsmeister". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "About Us". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Guidebooks." Philanthropy Roundtable. 2009.
  10. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "Philanthropy Magazine". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Meyerson, Adam (March–April 2005). "Alliance for Charitable Reform". Philanthropy. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "About The Alliance For Charitable Reform." Alliance For Charitable Reform. 2011.
  13. ^ Peters, Dan and Heather Higgins. "Letter: Don't Erect Barriers to Charity." The Hill. 24 May 2006.
  14. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "Board of Directors". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 

External links[edit]