State Of Florida Passes Race Based Law: Legalizes Racial Economic Exclusion
Statement by FMCRC Chair Al Pina
“In light of the Arizona Immigration Law that placed race front and center, Florida has now followed a similar road of racial economic exclusion. The State of Florida has now made it legal to discriminate based on race. Both FMCRC and Greenlining will seek legal resolution to this race based law that has placed race as a barrier for economic inclusion. The wealth gap for minorities has quadrupled and this law will increase this gap to the long term detriment of the Florida and U.S. economy. Minorities account for over 40% of Florida’s population and must become a greater factor in its economy to ensure long term economic growth. This new law just killed that economic objective”
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Government & Politics Watch
June 1, 2010, 01:31 PM ET
Fla. Adopts Legislation to Protect Foundations' Autonomy
Florida's governor signed legislation last week aimed at curtailing how much state and local governments can do to regulate foundations and their diversity practices.
Drafted with help from the Alliance for Charitable Reform, the law prohibits Florida government officials from requiring that foundations disclose the race, religion, gender, income level, sexual orientation, or certain other characteristics of their employees and board members, as well as those of their grant recipients.
The new law also bars state and local government officials from requiring that private foundations appoint board members based on such characteristics and preventing them from selecting trustees who are family members.
In addition to introducing restrictions on how government officials might regulate foundation governance, the law prohibits governments from forcing foundations to give money to groups and people based on their racial makeup and other characteristics.
The legislation was prompted by concern about the efforts of the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition and other groups to compel grant makers to disclose information on how diverse their staff and board members are and how much of their money benefits minority and low-income populations.
The Alliance for Charitable Reform is a project of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a Washington group that represents donors. While the law's backers say it will preserve foundations' independence and help attract more foundations to Florida, opponents likened it to discrimination. "They must be really ashamed of their diversity practices if they have gone a step forward in creating regulation that basically gives them the right to discriminate," said Orson Aguilar, executive director of the Greenlining Institute, a California group that has backed legislation in the state to compel foundations to disclose information about their diversity practices. Mr. Aguilar challenged the legislation's legality and said it would help his group's advocacy efforts by raising the issue's profile.
"They've given us a big gift," he said.
The bill's backers, meanwhile, stressed its importance in spurring charitable giving and protecting foundations from undue outside influence. "In these troubling economic times, we need to encourage more giving to these charitable organizations that are helping our most vulnerable, and governments should do nothing to get in the way of the good work they do," said Mike Fasano, a state senator, in a press statement released by the Philanthropy Roundtable.
The Florida law follows a resolution passed in February in Virginia, which was also backed by the Alliance for Charitable Reform that praised the work of foundations and encouraged grant makers to locate in the state.
FMCRC Mission Statement
Our goal is to empower low-income and minority communities by attracting investments for health, education, homeownership, employment, and minority entrepreneurship using a holistic advocacy approach.
The Coalition's (70+ minority organizations) strategy entails six central programs and projects for Florida's minority communities, families and organizations: