On July 23, 2020, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, held in committee a bill, critically important to nonprofits, which had already passed in the Assembly. This unwelcome move prevented it from being heard in the State Senate and effectively killed it for 2020. AB 2936 is designed to bring modest transparency to donor-advised funds and simply calls for: a) defining the terms “donor-advised fund” (DAF) and “donor-advised fund sponsor” in California law, and b) affirming the authority of the Attorney General to ask for reports from DAF sponsors. Sponsored by CalNonprofits, the bill was strongly supported by DER plus about 400 California nonprofits as well as statewide associations like the California Association of Museums, California Association of Food Banks, United Ways of California, and Californians for the Arts – as well as the United Domestic Workers and the Women’s Foundation of California.
Even with the nonprofit community’s overwhelming support, it seems that Senator Jackson’s decision was swayed by powerful Wall Street DAF sponsors Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, and the League of California Community Foundations who opposed it by arguing that even modest reports burden them and would deter donors. DER deeply regrets the Senate’s Judiciary Committee’s denial of a vote for AB 2926 and their disregard for the nonprofits from the Senate districts of many Committee members that asked for and held meetings with their Senators to advocate for the DAF transparency bill. AB 2936 was staunchly fought for by Calnonprofit’s Jan Masaoka and authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (East Bay).
DER will continue to support Calnonprofits in this heroic effort, and we call on our members to join us as nonprofits, community activists, partners, collaborators, and system disruptors in the struggle against the grave and increasing inequality caused by DAFs. Thank you!