November 20, 2013


Author National Philanthropic Trust

Today, hundreds of nonprofit leaders and their supporters are gathering on Capitol Hill for Protect Giving Day. Their goal is to urge lawmakers to protect the charitable giving tax deduction—which has been in effect, unchanged, for nearly 100 years.

The threat to change the charitable tax deduction has become more audible in recent years. As Congress and the White House debate budget and tax policies, it is seen as a possible source of untapped revenue. The deduction has never been changed since it was implemented in 1917, so there are huge questions about the impact that any change to the deduction would have. Studies have suggested that if the charitable tax deduction were ever eliminated entirely, the loss to the nonprofit community could cost the sector over $100 billion; nearly a third of all private philanthropy.

Since the recent recession, everyone has been “doing more with less”—and this includes charitable organizations. Many deliver major impact to communities across the country on very small budgets. We saw charities stepping up earlier this year during the government shut down—private donors contributing major gifts and nonprofit organizations like universities offered to fill-in the gaps that the shutdown created.

Eliminating the charitable tax deduction would not just threaten the organizations’ survival, it would affect the10.7 million people employed in the U.S. charitable sector. Most importantly, it would immediately and directly impact the people charities serve.

The best way to prevent this kind of disruption is to protect the charitable tax deduction. I encourage everyone to contact your federal representatives to ask them to preserve the charitable deduction in its current form.