Samuel Hammond wrote this piece on philanthropy’s role in the child tax credit expansion. It was published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on March 8, 2022. Read the full article here.
During his State of the Union speech last week, President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass an extension of last year’s expanded child tax credit. Most people watching likely viewed it as a futile gesture. America’s political polarization, the thinking goes, has made the passage of such major social legislation nearly impossible.
After all, the expanded child tax credit, which provided a monthly allowance of $250 to $300 per child to most families, was allowed to expire during the impasse over the Build Back Better legislation — despite receiving uniform praise for cutting child poverty by nearly 40 percent.
But the end of the expansion — or, with any luck, its temporary pause — does not negate the success it represented for policy making that embraces a range of ideologies, nor the need for long-term philanthropic support for such efforts. On the contrary, the willingness of grant makers to support a diverse array of voices and arguments across the political spectrum was critical to the tax credit gaining broad buy-in. If a bipartisan expansion of the credit becomes the most viable path forward in the months ahead, this kind of ecumenical and forward-thinking philanthropy will be a major reason why.
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