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Philanthropy in the Context of Biden’s Administration

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Sharif Shamroukh
January 25, 2020

The 2020 United States presidential election process concluded on January 6, 2021 with the vote of both branches of Congress confirming the democratic choice of the people for Biden-Harris as the upcoming new president/vice-president respectively. Since then, many challenges have come into the spotlight, especially regarding the unanticipated rioters that stormed the United States Capitol. The Democratic Party won the last two seats for Georgia’s Senate representation, changing perceptions of the political approach for the new administration. Thus, there was always a crucial role that the philanthropy sector played with each administration to overcome critical issues and enhance policy to ensure the betterment of social justice and the delivery of priority services to communities. The current developments that accompanied the 2020 elections and beyond further provided a decisive role for philanthropy.

Consequently, it is critical now more than ever that nonprofit leaders work closely with the new administration and local communities to raise awareness and a deep understanding of the citizens’ faithfulness to the constitution. It is important to enhance government policies and accountability practices to ensure public safety and smooth operations of government offices.

It is important to reference that most newly-elected administrations throughout United States history create new forms of nonprofit representations that aim to support philanthropy’s critical issues and heighten the government’s performance. Examples of this initiative are Obama’s office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and George W. Bush’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Throughout the transition period of Biden’s administration, it was evident that nonprofit representatives were involved in many discussion circles, helping to form the new administration’s pathway for tackling critical issues. The nonprofit sector is expected to have more involvement throughout the upcoming four years. It is also imperative to highlight the heavy stake that the nonprofit sector represents in the nation’s economy, especially when we know that Americans are the most generous contributors to charities (Total contributions were $427.71 Billion to charities in 2019). Hence, there is no doubt that this great sharing in the United States economy deserves more attention and consideration for the critical issues that the nonprofits work for.

Biden’s administration hinted at its top priorities: fighting COVID-19, restoring the economy, climate change and immigration, among other issues. Looking through the various areas of philanthropy focus, we can assert that nonprofit organizations will have a focus on most prioritized issues. Biden’s team initiated bridges of involvement to nonprofit leaders and advocacy groups during the transition period that would hint for positive future cooperation and consideration to satisfy calls of nonprofit causes and critical issues. Fighting COVID-19, for instance, would require cooperation from all aspects of the health system; government, nonprofit and private sectors alike. Among those, there are plenty of nonprofit hospitals that put their health professionals and staff on the frontline to fight this pandemic from day one.

Reading through the new administration’s statements, tackling complicated immigration issues became one of its top priorities. Therefore, the role of nonprofit immigration rights groups would be necessary right from the beginning of the Biden administration’s term to ensure enough time for smoother and effective implementation. Now more than ever, Biden’s administration should feel the urgency to resolve the immigration issues that affect an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Although Biden’s campaign promised to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform to Congress, reversing Trump’s immigration policies that do not comply with national interests, and restoring the protections for DACA and TPS qualified individuals is imperative. It is crucial that nonprofit organizations continue to stress a comprehensive immigration reform that would lead to citizenship for millions of individuals. The last immigration reform ever implemented was during the Reagan administration in 1986.

The critical need for immigration reform had a strong basis of support from major corporations since it would positively affect the economy. Google’s senior vice president Kent Walker announced that his company favors the efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform with emphases on DACA recipients and other work and employment-related cases. Amazon, Salesforce and Uber Technologies also expressed a similar direction for immigration reform that would provide flexible immigration processes to support workers and families. Therefore, immigration advocacy groups should work with a sense of urgency throughout their collaborations with the new administration.

Without a doubt, the ball is rolling now in Biden’s court. Thus, it is the actions that people expect to see from the new administration. This is a real examination of Mr. Biden’s promises. Let’s be optimistic and assume that we will see a fair end to the suffering of millions of families. Further, complying with the constitution and promoting the American values that we all know is the right step towards restoring America’s soul. Putting infants and young kids in cages and separating children away from their parents is not the America we know, and not what every American expects. Therefore, it is time to fix this image.

Author: Dr. Sharif Shamroukh holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration / Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and frequently writes about various public policy issues. Currently, Dr. Shamroukh is a Senior Lecturer at the American Institute for Philanthropy Advancement.

Contact Dr. Shamroukh via e-mail: [email protected] or Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter @DrShamroukh

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