President Oaks Speaks as Honorary Chair of 2019 Utah Philanthropy Day

Contributed By Sydney Walker, Church News staff writer

  • 22 November 2019

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, receives the 2019 Honorary Chair award at the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. James and Andrea Clarke, chairs of the event, present the award. 

Article Highlights

  • President Oaks saluted philanthropists for their work in support of private philanthropy during a luncheon held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of Utah Philanthropy Day, and each gathering celebrates Utah’s philanthropists.

“Millions of these ‘private associations’—religious and charitable—are responsible for tens of millions of jobs and innumerable services that benefit our citizens at every level.” —President Dallin H. Oaks 

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, delivered a message about the importance of private philanthropy as the honorary chair of the 2019 Utah Philanthropy Day on Tuesday, November 19. 

“I salute you for your work in support of private philanthropy,” President Oaks told philanthropists during a luncheon held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. He also addressed the importance of persuading “citizens to a ‘spirit of giving’ in our communities and in our personal efforts throughout the state.” 

The private sector, he said, is essential to “preserving pluralism and freedom in our nation.” Its financial well-being is dependent upon philanthropy. 

“Millions of these ‘private associations’—religious and charitable—are responsible for tens of millions of jobs and innumerable services that benefit our citizens at every level,” President Oaks said. “These include private educational institutions, hospitals, social welfare agencies, and innumerable other organizations ministering to the needs of children, youth, the aged, the poor, and citizens generally. . . .

“The impact of these private contributions on those they serve is magnified by the millions of volunteers motivated by the philanthropic ideals you pursue. You are an essential part of that great service.”

President Oaks, a former Utah state supreme court justice, has supported private philanthropy at the nation’s highest levels, according to a Newsroom release. He testified before the United States Senate Finance Committee in 2011 and asked government leaders to not reduce the tax deduction for personal charitable donations. 

“While I appear here as a religious leader, the possible impairment of the charitable deduction in order to enhance tax revenues is not a religious issue,” then-Elder Oaks said in 2011. “It is not a political issue. It is not even an economic issue. It poses a question about the nature and future of America.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Utah Philanthropy Day. Since 1999, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Utah Chapter, Utah Nonprofits Association, and UServeUtah have gathered every November to celebrate Utah’s philanthropists.  

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greets a young man attending the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

Sister Kristen Oaks, wife of President Dallin H. Oaks, attends the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

President Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s First Presidency greets people attending the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

President Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s First Presidency greets people attending the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

The chairs for the 2019 Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon, held Tuesday, November 19, 2019, are James and Andrea Clarke. Clarke introduces President Dallin H. Oaks as the luncheon speaker.

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, speaks at the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, speaks at the Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon in Salt Lake City Tuesday, November 19, 2019.