Philanthropy Roundtable

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The Philanthropy Roundtable
Philanthropy Roundtable New Logo.png
Founded1987, gained independent status in 1991
FounderWilliam E. Simon, Irving Kristol
FocusPhilanthropic strategy and analysis, philanthropic freedom, preserving donor intent
Coordinates38°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
OriginsFormerly project of Institute For Educational Affairs
MethodPublications, events, consulting
Adam Meyerson
$7,742,082 (2014)[2]

The Philanthropy Roundtable is a nonprofit U.S. membership organization that advises and serves the interests of philanthropists.[3][4] 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."[5]


The Roundtable was founded in 1987 as a project of the Institute For Educational Affairs. It was founded as an alternative to the Council on Foundations, another nonprofit membership association of donors.[6] 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 began publication of a bimonthly newsletter, Philanthropy; offered member organizations a talent bank for hiring young staffers from its list of recent college graduates, and conducted a "project development service" that assisted members "in examining their own programs ... to foster innovative programming."[7] Membership was free "to interested grantmakers," and 140 foundations, charities and nonprofits joined in the Roundtable's first year.[7]

In 1991, The Philanthropy Roundtable became an independent entity, with its own board of directors and staff, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.[8][9] The Philanthropy Roundtable is a 501(c)(3) organization.[2] It has been described as conservative[10][11] and non-partisan.[12]


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.[9] Walters remained in that position until resigning in October 2001[8] 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.[13]

The current president of the Roundtable, Adam Meyerson, has held that position since Walters's departure in 2001.[14] 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.[15] In 2011, former White House domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister joined the Roundtable as vice president of publications.[16]


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 issue group holds regional meetings and offers customized resources to members, including publications and seminars. As of 2015, the Roundtable offers programs in K-12 education, economic opportunity, and veterans. In the past, it has held programs on conservation, national security, and higher education.[17] The concept of blended learning as a method of education reform has been discussed at the group's meetings.[18]


The Roundtable 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.[19]

The Roundtable also produces a series of guidebooks on philanthropic topics, such as education reform, public policy, protecting donor intent, and helping veterans. These guidebooks are intended to help philanthropists become knowledgeable about the various nationwide strategies in a particular philanthropic sector.[20]

Here are several guidebooks that the Roundtable has published:

The Roundtable published the Almanac of American Philanthropy in January 2016. The Almanac, at over 1,000 pages, is a reference book that summarizes the history, purposes, effects, and modern direction of private giving.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34]

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."[35]

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,[36] S. Truett Cathy, and Frank Hanna III.[37]

Board of directors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stockwell, Jamie (February 12, 2000). "Giving Nations More Than a Band-Aid Solution". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "IRS Form 990 2013". GuideStar. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  3. ^ Cohen, Patricia (February 4, 2013). "Museums Grapple With the Strings Attached to Gifts". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  4. ^ Sanger, David (May 11, 2001). "Bush Names a Drug Czar And Addresses Criticism". New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Guiding Principles, Mission, Offerings". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  6. ^ King, Wayne; Molotsky, Irvin (February 1, 1987). "WASHINGTON TALK: BRIEFING; ALTERNATIVE UMBRELLA". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Philanthropy," July–August 1988, p. 16.
  8. ^ a b Nauffts, Mitch (November 29, 2006). "Adam Meyerson, President, Philanthropy Roundtable: Donors and Philanthropic Intent". Philanthropy News Digest. Archived from the original on January 15, 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  9. ^ a b "History of The Philanthropy Roundtable". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  10. ^ Bandow, Doug (August 25, 2015). "Whitney Ball: Losing a Sparkplug for Liberty". The American Spectator.
  11. ^ Cohen, Rick (February 4, 2015). "The 2016 Federal Budget: What Nonprofits Should Know". Nonprofit Quarterly.
  12. ^ "Jon Huntsman Sr. honored for philanthropy". The Washington Times. Associated Press. October 10, 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  13. ^ Sanger, David (May 11, 2001). "Bush Names a Drug Czar And Addresses Criticism". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Faith, hope, charity". Inside Politics. Washington Times. October 4, 2001. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Adam Meyerson". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  16. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "Karl Zinsmeister". Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  17. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "About Us". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  18. ^ Strauss, Valerie (September 22, 2012). "Three fears about blended learning". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Philanthropy Roundtable Magazine". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Guidebook". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Catholic School Renaissance: A Wise Giver's Guide to Strengthening a National Asset Like this on facebook". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Clearing Obstacles to Work: A Wise Giver's Guide to Fostering Self-Reliance". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  23. ^ "Agenda Setting: A Wise Giver's Guide to Influencing Public Policy". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  24. ^ "Excellent Educators: A Wise Giver's Guide to Cultivating Great Teachers andPrincipals". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  25. ^ "From Promising to Proven: A Wise Giver's Guide to Expanding on the Success of Charter Schools". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  26. ^ "Closing America's High-achievement Gap: A Wise Giver's Guide to Helping Our Most Talented Students". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  27. ^ "Serving Those Who Served: A Wise Giver's Guide to Assisting Veterans and Military Families". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  28. ^ "Blended Learning: A Wise Giver's Guide to Supporting Tech-assisted Teaching". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  29. ^ "Transparency in Philanthropy An Analysis of Accountability, Fallacy, and Volunteerism". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  30. ^ "Protecting Donor Intent: How to Define and Safeguard Your Philanthropic Principles". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  31. ^ "How Public Is Private Philanthropy? Separating Reality from Myth, Second Edition". Philanthropy Roundtable.
  32. ^ Koenig, Rebecca (January 6, 2016). "First Philanthropy Almanac Provides a Wealth of Facts and Data". Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  33. ^ Meyerson, Adam (March–April 2005). "Alliance for Charitable Reform". Philanthropy. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  34. ^ "About The Alliance For Charitable Reform." Alliance For Charitable Reform. 2011.
  35. ^ Peters, Dan and Heather Higgins. "Letter: Don't Erect Barriers to Charity." Archived 2007-06-30 at The Hill. 24 May 2006.
  36. ^ Wilhelm, Ian (October 15, 2009). "Denver Couple Honored With Philanthropic Leadership Prize". Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  37. ^ Philanthropy Roundtable. "William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  38. ^ Cohen, Rick (April 14, 2015). "The Bradley Foundation's Agenda Setting: The Intersection with Partisan Politics". Nonprofit Quarterly. Retrieved 9 September 2015.

External links[edit]