Most Americans believe they have a right to privately support the causes they believe in without harassment. The South Dakota legislature has a chance to affirm that belief this legislative session. If two important bills pass, South Dakota would be positioned as a leader nationally in philanthropic protections, just as it is already a leader in trust protections.
Gov. Kristi Noem’s support of these efforts underscores the importance of South Dakota’s charitable giving environment. While political opponents are taking aim at the governor, claiming it’s bad to allow people to keep their giving private, the bills actually protect citizens’ First Amendment right to give privately to whatever causes they choose without fear of political retaliation.
Private giving stands as one of the most fundamental and enduring traditions in American society. In times of plenty or times of lack, Americans tap their personal wealth, whether great or small, to support causes that improve the lives of others, their communities, the environment, and the world. In giving, people get to exercise a right with benefits far beyond themselves.