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The Second Annual “Protect Giving Day” Invites You to Be the Charitable Deduction

On Nov. 20, more than 200 attendees representing over 140 organizations participated in the Charitable Giving Coalition’s Protect Giving – DC Day.

In its second year, the Charitable Giving Coalition set out to continue the fight to preserve the full value of the charitable deduction by convincing Congress that WE are the charitable deduction. Broken out into 36 teams, they attended hundreds of meetings across the Hill, all portraying their connection to the charitable deduction.

Say it with us, “We are the charitable deduction.” Everyone in the nonprofit sector is affected, maybe without even knowing it.

Need more convincing? The Charitable Giving Coalition has created a YouTube page for testimonials of “I am the charitable tax deduction.” From stories of higher education, goodwill services, cancer cures, the hungry and homeless, rescue dogs and beyond—you will truly see that we are all the charitable deduction.

Join the movement and share your story of impact on the YouTube channel—you can find instructions on how to submit your video on the Charitable Giving Coalition’s website. (Bonus: there’s a plethora of documents that will aide you in taking action!) While there, you’ll also find an infographic that clearly defines the power that the charitable deduction has over the nonprofit sector—and the demise we would face if the proposed cap was approved.

Impact From Within The Second Annual Protect Giving – DC Day

Through the second annual Protect Giving – DC Day, representatives from nonprofits across the country expressed how THEY were the charitable deduction, explaining exactly how they would be affected by the proposed cap.

Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, kicked off the panel luncheon on Protect Giving – DC Day with his story of impact. The proposed cap would mean a two-and-half percent reduction per donor, which equals to six million LESS to Catholic Charities USA. Father Snyder set the tone with the sentiment that, “those who are most vulnerable among us should NOT be the ones to feel the biggest impact.”

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Father Larry Snyder addresses the room of more than 200 attendees at the luncheon for Protect Giving – DC Day.

How would the proposed cap drill down to individual impact? Michael Baker, AFP member and founder and partner of m3 Development, spoke with us about the effect of the proposed cap and how it would impact relief efforts such as those that he worked on after Hurricane Sandy. As a New Jersey native, Baker had a hand in rebuilding after the hurricane, and he noted that without the donations from generous donors, it would have been nearly impossible. The same goes for disasters around the world, including the recent Haiyan Typhoon and Illinois tornadoes. Click here to view the interview with Baker, where he explains his full sentiment of “being” the charitable deduction.

As Robert Sharpe, president of The Sharpe Group, and panelist at the Protect Giving – DC Day luncheon explained, as taxes go up people will redistribute their money and cut back on things that are not necessities—like giving back. Especially if giving back does not come with the incentive of a sizeable tax deductible.

Stephanie Cory, AFP member and executive director for the Epilepsy Foundation of Delaware, concurs with Sharpe’s findings and is fighting for the charitable deduction as a donor and donee. Hear how Cory is the charitable deduction, how it affects her nonprofit and her personally.  

Charitable Deduction Lesson 101  

There were a plethora of highpoints that came out of the second annual Protect Giving – DC Day. Below is a breakdown of what you may not know, what you need to know and what’s next.

What is the charitable deduction?

A quick refresher: the charitable deduction allows you to deduct charitable contributions of money or property made to qualified organizations if you itemize your deductions. Meaning, donations to charity are tax deductible expenses and can reduce your taxable income and lower your tax bill.

What is at jeopardy with the charitable deduction?

In an effort to reduce government spending and to overhaul the tax code, the government is proposing a cap on charitable deductions. Currently, donors in the highest tax bracket can get a 39.6 percent tax savings for every donation. The proposed cap would limit the savings to a 28 percent tax savings.

How big of an impact would the proposed cap make?

Lending his expertise on the luncheon panel at the second annual Protect Giving – DC Day was Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). One of the most impactful statements from Brooks was just how affected the nonprofit sector would be if the proposed cap was accepted: giving would drop by nine billion (!) in the first year alone, causing “massive” harm to the nonprofit world.

“This should scare you. If it doesn’t, you’re not listening,” said Brooks in front of more than 200 attendees.

You can find more of Brooks’ findings here.

What can you do to get involved?

As the saying goes, “the more, the merrier.” The more that individuals and organizations speak-up and explain the importance of the charitable deduction to their nonprofit’s success and livelihood, the bigger impact we will make. Get involved in the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #ProtectGiving. Follow along via the Public Policy tab on AFP’s website and chime in when called upon—because every voice counts.

Success And The Road Ahead

The success story of the day was the bi-partisan support of Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), both members of the Senate Finance Committee that oversees tax policy, who drafted a letter to their leadership to preserve the charitable deduction as-is. The letter warns that any restrictions added to the charitable deduction will have consequences. The letter is being circulated for additional signatures from other senators, and Sandra Swirski, executive director of the Alliance for Charitable Reform in Washington, D.C., hopes a similar letter will be drafted on the House side. For more on this letter and its hope for success, click here.

It’s a step, but the work in preserving the charitable deduction is not done. The“fight” doesn’t just occur in one day—it’s an ongoing battle. Earlier this year, as the chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition, AFP sent president and CEO Andrew Watt, FInstF, to testify before Congress, calling on them to not only preserve the charitable deduction but to look at new ways to invest in communities.

The coalition is now focusing on getting as many people involved in the movement. It presented members of Congress with a petition that supports the 100-year-old tradition of giving on the Nov. 20 Protect Giving – DC Day, but the comments on the petition’s website continue to grow. Join the movement to protect giving and share how nonprofits serve your community!

Become a part of the voice to fight for the charitable deduction—join the conversation on Twitter using #ProtectGiving, sign the petition, submit a video explaining how YOU are the charitable deduction—show the government and the world that nonprofits are a force to reckon with.

For more on AFP’s involvement as chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition, and for more information on our fight for the charitable deduction, including President and CEO Andrew Watt’s testimonial on the Hill earlier this year, visit the Public Policy tab on our website.

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