Independent Women’s Forum Highlights Christie Herrera’s Work Championing Philanthropic Freedom

On January 2, 2024, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), a national women’s organization devoted to advancing freedom, opportunity and well-being, profiled Philanthropy Roundtable President and CEO Christie Herrera. This piece highlighted Herrera’s emphasis on protecting philanthropic freedom and donor privacy, and her commitment to staying true to the Roundtable’s mission. The Roundtable is honored that IWF has recognized Herrera as one of its “Champion Women.”  

Below are excerpts from the Independent Women’s Forum profile on Herrera: 

“Many major foundations now put a heavy focus on addressing ‘systemic racism’ and promoting ‘equity.’ Herrera believes that injecting identity politics into philanthropy misses the mark. ‘It all goes back to Alexis de Tocqueville,’ Christie tells IWF. ‘He visited America two hundred years ago and revered it. He wrote about the thriving civil society that’s made up of charities, religious institutions, and all of our voluntary associations.’ 

‘That charitable network exists today,’ she continues. ‘It’s a lifeline for churches, educational institutions, the arts, museums, culture. And philanthropy is everything to them. And we need to preserve it rather than tear it down, which sadly many in the sector are trying to do.’ 


Herrera says frequently that philanthropy should help individuals realize their dreams. ‘In recent years, we’ve seen otherwise effective charities on the ground get infected by wokeism—pulling their staff and resources away from pursuing their original intent and valuable missions.’ 

‘What we do at the Roundtable is connect donors with organizations that not only do great work on the ground but also put our values—liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility—at the heart of what they do. So, we’re able to advise donors and help them make great investments that really, again, align with their values. We also work with donors to help them with the nuts and bolts of philanthropy.’ 


‘I am a blue-collar kid and have done everything from clean rooms at a motel,’ Christie continues, ‘to waitress, to—gosh, like every blue-collar job, I have done it. That work ethic and perseverance brought me to where I am today, and that is why I am so passionate about getting government out of the way and letting people work hard and pursue their dreams. Philanthropy is a big part of that.’ 


‘Generally speaking, philanthropy has not had its head in the game when it comes to advocating for the freedom to give,’ Herrera says. ‘It’s a quiet sector. I want us to kind of disrupt it a little bit, and make sure that we’re on the Hill, and in state capitals, and working with attorneys general across the country to protect charity and to protect philanthropy.’ 

When asked recently by the Associated Press what are the key challenges for the Roundtable, she cited this. ‘It’s one thing and one thing only and that’s protecting philanthropic freedom,’ she said. ‘That is what makes generosity possible—allowing donors to give where and when they choose. The really interesting thing about this is that we’re seeing threats coming from the left and the right, which puts the Roundtable in a unique position to stand up for philanthropic freedom, for conservative foundations and progressive foundations, because we believe in the right to give no matter what your ideology.’ 

‘As a part of this effort, donor privacy is a key issue for Philanthropy Roundtable,’ Herrera told IWF: ‘When you look at social movements in this country, every major social movement from women’s suffrage to civil rights, to gay rights have benefited from anonymous charitable giving. And so, you know, protecting donor privacy is paramount for everyone, but it’s especially important for conservative donors. There is so much scrutiny of givers on the right these days. And the first step of those who criticize is to say, ‘show us who you are giving to’, and then the second step is ‘we are going to harass and intimidate you’, and the third step is ‘we want to take dollars from the causes that you care about and put them to our politically preferred causes.’ So, donor privacy is of paramount importance.’” 

Please continue reading at Independent Women’s Forum. 

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