Why do we give to charities, anyway?

Is healthcare philanthropy in big trouble?

I agree that #1 and #2 of the “triple threat” to healthcare giving are real, as reported by Health Leaders Media: Uncertanty of health care reform and local (county) budget crises nation-wide.
#3 I’d like your opinion about. Here’s the situation:
President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget caps charitable deductions at 28%, while a Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission proposal would reduce the tax incentive for charitable giving to a 12% tax credit for donations that exceed 2% of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.
Nine out of 10 AHP [Association of Healthcare Philanthropy] respondents surveyed in February said the Bowles-Simpson proposal would cause significant reductions in overall giving to their organization, with 64% saying the adverse impact on major gift-giving would be considerable. About 40% said giving would fall between 10% and 30% if significant changes are made to the current tax incentives for charitable donations—which conservatively could amount to more than a $1.07 billion drop in total annual giving to nonprofit hospitals, AHP said, based on its own FY2009 statistics.
AHP Chair Mary Anne Chern said any reductions in the tax incentives for charitable giving could be “devastating for healthcare in the U.S.”
The implied assumption here, of course, is that people donate to get a tax deduction. While that may be true, I cannot believe it’s the driver. Especially here in data-driven, outcomes-based Silicon Valley, my strong sense is that we donate because we want to see a positive, measurable change in our community as a result of our help. We want to make Santa Clara County a better place for everyone.
Let me know: If your donation was only partially tax-deductable, would you give as much to the charities you support? Frankly, the future of the VMC Foundation may depend on how we collectively answer this question. I welcome your thoughts: vmcfoundation@gmail.com
1 reply
  1. Chris Wilder
    Chris Wilder says:


    I do believe that tax deductions do impact giving .

    !. People with smaller incomes will have to make choices between which to support. The bigger the deduction, the more they can give I,t is a matter of reducing their taxes and giving to charity rathere then the government.

    2. Some wealthy people now create family foundations, to avoid giving to Uncle Sam. They grow in their giving and do support more and more, finding that they like making a difference.

    3. I have observed, through watching sad stories in the newspapers, givers come out of the woodwork and give small amounts and a crisis solved . And that is great, but those who give in an organized way, do limit their giving to what they can afford. Better tax breaks equal more giving.

    I do know that the more stable families ar eand they have have surplus dollars, they give generously, but only to those charities who work hard to educate them on the need, have passion for their charity and are good at always acknowledging the donor.

    Donor bases don’t just happen, they are earned by the charity, by the work that the charity does.


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