Yes, Virginia, The For-Profit President Has Arrived

Some of us were more pleased than others with the outcome of our Presidential election in November, and that’s fair. Democracy reigns!

Now we face the unknowns, as Donald Trump, a supremely successful businessman with a serious interest in for-profit ventures ascends to the presidency of the United States. Trump’s world is business and he knows how domestic tax laws work.

For non-profits, major donors and foundations, the impending Trump presidency suggests there are many unknowns ahead. Turbulence is to be anticipated; change is likely. But I’m not convinced it’s time to press the panic button.

Of course, I noticed that in the immediate aftermath of the election many cause-related non-profits mailed their donors urgent pleas for continued support.

Yes, I hear my colleagues talking, worrying, and planning. I understand, but I also believe that escalating an ideological war with a novice politician may be counter-productive. Mr. Trump already has signaled that his views on climate change, immigration and even Hillary Clinton are not immutable. I predict his non-profit energies will be focused on changing the rules around the U.S. tax code, and so far the Trump transition is generating a lot of mixed signals about what to expect while avoiding substantial issues dialogue.

Mr. Trump appreciates big, and non-profits are big business, $938 billion last year. Changes are coming, to be sure. I would like to see non-profit organizations, foundations and the donors who support them seize this opportunity to improve and insulate everything they do that works.

Lives and communities are improved and enhanced with the true wealth of this nation with all kinds of people spending time and money on the common good. No regime change can fundamentally alter that.

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