Charitable Count: April

April.  Tax Season.  Schedule A deductions.  Charitable contributions….  Does our tax process have a role in encouraging being charitable or to which organizations we might contribute?  In order to include contributions on the Schedule A, you must contribute to an organization that has filed paperwork for 501c non-profit organization status, or a religious institution.  If your intended group to donate to does not fit the IRS definition, do not plan to include the moneys on your tax forms.  This begs the question about how we define charity, as well as how much paperwork adds layers of bureaucracy that redirect funds away from the charitable mission.  And, bureaucracies tend to end up with highly paid administrators, who again diverts funds back to the office folks rather than those in the field carrying out the mission.

Does Schedule A deductions influence whom you may or may not be charitable toward?

Month:                                                         J    F   M    A

American Diabetes Association               1     1     –     1
American Farmland Trust                         1     1     –     1
American Friends Service Committee    –     –     –      1
American Horticultural Society               1     –     2     1
American Indian College Fund                 1     1     2     –
American Indian Education Fund             1     –     –     –
American Red Cross                                    1     –     –     –
American Rivers
Americans United (for Separation
Of Church & State)                                     1     –     –     –
Amnesty International                              –     –     –     –
Appalachian Trail Conservancy               –     –     –     1
Arbor Day Foundation                              3     –    –     –
Archeaeological Conservancy                  –     –     2     –
Archaeological Institute of America      –     –      1     –
Arthritis Foundation                                 –     –     –     1
Audubon Society                                        –     1     –     –
Berea College Fund                                    –     –     1     –
Care                                                              –     1     1     –
CATO Institute                                           –     –     –     1
Civil War Trust                                           –     1     3    –
Colonial Williamsburg                              1     1     1    1
Common Cause                                           –     –     –     1
Compassion & Choices                              1     –     1     –
Congressman Paul Ryan                           1     1     –      –
Doctors without Borders                          –     1     1     1
Drug Policy Alliance                                  1     –     –      –
Easter Seals                                                 1     –     –     –
Feeding America                                        3    2     2     1
FINCA                                                           –     1     1     1
First National Development
Institute                                                       –     –     1      –
Food First                                                    –     –     –     1
Ford’s Theatre                                            1     –     –      –
Friends of the Library (Hardy Co.)          –     –     –     1
George W Bush Pres. Center                   –     1     –      –
Gettysburg  Foundation                           –     1     1      1
Green America                                           1     2    –      –
Green Peace                                                1     –     2     1
Habitat For Humanity                             1     –    1       2
Heritage Foundation                                –     1     –      –
International Rescue Committee           –     1     –      –
Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center       –     –     –      1
League of Women Voters                        –     –     1     –
March of Dimes                                         –     –     1     –
Marine Corps Heritage Foundation       –     –     1    –
Marquette University                               –     –     1    –
Massanutten Regional Library               –     –     1     –
Mayo Clinic                                                –     –     1     –
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center                                                          –     1     2    –
Mount Vernon                                            1     –     1    –
NARAL Pro-Choise America                   –     1     –     1
NRA                                                             1     –     –     1
National Museum of the American
Indian                                                          –     1     –     –
National Museum of Women in
the Arts                                                       –     1     –     –
National WASP-WWII Museum             1     –     1     –
National Parks Conservation Ass.          1     –     –     2
National Park Foundation                       –     1     1     –
National Republican Senatorial
Committee                                                  –      –     1    –
National Trust for Historic Preservation    –     –     1
National WWII Museum                          –     1     –     –
Native American Rights Fund                 –     –     –     1
Natural Resource Defense Council         –     2     –     1
Nature Conservancy                                  1     4     2    1
New York University                                –     –     –      1
Oxfam                                                          1     1     1     1
PFLAG                                                         –     –     –      1
Planned Parenthood                                 2     –     1      –
Population Connection                             –     1     1      1
Potomac Conservancy                               –     –     1      –
Project Hope                                              1     –     –       –
Prosperity PAC (Paul Ryan)                     –     1    –       –
Raese for Senate Committee                   –     –     1       –
Rainforest Alliance                                    1     –     –      –
Red Tail Squadron (WWII)                      1     –     –      –
Republican National Committee             –     1     –      –
Ronald Reagan Pres. Foundation            1     –     –      1
Romeny for President                               1     1     2     1
St Jude Children’s Research
Hospital                                                       –     –     1     –
Salvation Army                                           –     –     2     1
Save the Children                                      –     –     1      –
SJSU Alumni Association                         1     –     –     –
Shenandoah Valley Music Festival        –     –     –      2
Sierra Club                                                  –     –     1     –
Technoserve                                               –     –     1      –
The Shakespeare Theatre                         1     –     –     –
Smithsonian Institution                           –     1     1     1
Smithsonian National Museum of
African American History
And Culture                                                1     –      –     –
Southern Poverty Law Center                 2     2     3    2
Special Olympics                                        –     1     1      –
Unicef                                                           1     1     –      1
Union of Concerned Scientists                 –     –     1      –
United Farm Workers                               –     –     –      1
USO                                                               –     –     –     1
WV Humanities Counsel                           –     –     1      1
WV Public Broadcasting                           2     1     –      –
Woodland Owner’s Assoc. of WV            –     1     –       –
WMRA/WEMC (NPR)                              1     1     1      1
World Vision                                               –     1     –      –
Wounded Warrior Project                        1     –     –      –

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About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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9 Responses to Charitable Count: April

  1. Barneysday says:

    Wow, you get a lot of queries. I found that once I locked my credit reports, then the queries literally stopped. At any rate, I wonder how many people actually check the gov’t status of a charity before giving. Perhaps the very wealthy so a deduction will not be denied, someone perhaps giving a million dollar to “doggy breath awareness, Inc” but I know for myself, I make contributions but haven’t a clue if they have the right paperwork.

    Good question, though…

    • hermitsdoor says:

      How do you “lock” your credit report? Sounds like a good idea. Maybe I could do an experiment by having my credit report locked this year and see if the requests dry up?! Do fill us in on this process.

      • Barneysday says:

        First, I assume you know you have the right to get 1 free copy of your credit report each year, from each reporting company. TransUnion, Experia, and the third name escapes me at the moment. Go to their websites to obtain them. They will download to your computer, and you can them print them out. Make sure you do it, and then check each carefully.

        When you freeze your report, no one can look at your credit report without your permission. If you study the ones you get, there is a section on it of who has looked at your reports recently. You’ll be amazed at the number of different companies and agencies that do it, on a very regular basis.

        We’ve done it a while ago, so I don’t recall exactly, but I don’t think there is a fee to freeze it. Once it is frozen, if you apply for a loan or for a credit card, you will have to unfreeze your report. Just check with your lender to see who they use, and unfreeze only that one. Usual fee is $5-$10, and can be unfrozen for 1, 3, or 7 days, or permanently.

        Once we froze the reports, credit card and charitable solicitations dried up. Now the Vicar is correct, that often Charitable or otherwise will contact you off mailing lists of their own. You can contact Direct Marketing Assoc. to get off those lists, but not always effective.

        Hope this helps

        Best

        Barney

      • hermitsdoor says:

        Excellent! Now for the experiment to begin. First a little research on our credit history (other than credit cards, which we pay off monthly, we have not had a loan since we paid off our mortgage 9 years ago… may this is a novel idea in our society, but we save money up and buy things when we have enough to pay cash… car dealerships hate us, when they make a sweat deal, then we pull out the check book and pay cash)

  2. The Vicar says:

    While helping my father in-law with his taxes I began sorting through his”charitable” contributions. He received a multitude of solicitation by mail and tended to write checks between $5 – $20 about 30 times a month. This only increased the number of requests for support he received each month. Many of the organizations were lobbyists and the fine print made it clear (not that fine print ever makes anything clear) that the money being sent was not tax deductible even though all of their literature implied this was a contribution. Organizations that claim to be saving social security or working to provide healthcare for all, are often supporting their bureaucracy first, and that means the number one priority is raising funds.

    While it is nice to have a tax incentive to be generous towards others, tax breaks alone don’t seem to be encouraging generosity in citizens. I believe the average charitable contribution on an itemized deduction worksheet is about 2% of income. True benevolence doesn’t ask “what’s in it for me”, it simply respond to the need as able.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Maybe this is an example of how a political process corrupts good intentions from people.

    • Barneysday says:

      Vicar, love the last paragraph. Not that I’m any kind of paragon, but we try very hard to give gifts anonymously. Feels really good, and by putting that out in the universe, then the Universe will feel better about we mere humans.

      • The Vicar says:

        There are lots of great cause and many needs that will never meet the criteria for a “charitable contribution”. When we are generous we go against some of the prevailing cultural wisdom like “it’s all about you”, “he who dies with the most toys wins”, and “I deserve it”. Both giving and receiving generosity moves us from a belief in rugged individualism to an awareness of our need for interdependence and the importance of community.

        Maya Angelou wrote “giving liberates the soul of the giver”.

      • hermitsdoor says:

        May we all be so liberated.

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