Florida’s S.B. 988, Philanthropic Giving, and the Public Good

This post was written by Calixto Melero Jr. and Marco Portales, Texas A&M University

Florida’s S.B. 998 allows nonprofit tax-deductible foundations not to disclose race and gender information regarding their administrators, staff, and grant recipients. This law legalizes and encourages money and power to continue to flow largely to privileged people and to organizations with resources. Disguised as a post-racial “color blind” policy enhancement, further legislation legalizing such laws and policies will continue to dismantle and kill the Public Good.

Driven by Tea Party and neo-conservative minds, Florida’s S.B. 998 dismantles civil rights laws and policies that are in place to empower communities of color.

Unlike other public and private sectors that have embraced and benefited from minority perspectives, tax-deductible nonprofits in Florida today can continue to exclude non-whites from their boardrooms, funding mechanisms, and grant giving.

In 1982, CEOs and board diversity memberships nationally consisted of 1.6 and 4.3 percent, statistics that slightly improved in 2006 to 5.8 and 13 percent, according to a 2008 article, “Philanthropy in a Changing Society” by Chao, Parshall, Amador, Shah, and Yanez. That’s why a U.S. House 2007 committee found private foundations were “not doing as much as they could or should” to channel dollars and support to racial minorities. Nonprofits “were not growing in pace with overall charitable giving” and with society’s demographic changes.