“It’s hard to overstate the crisis facing charitable giving today. So let me just say it as plainly as I can: Much of current philanthropic giving, by foundations and individuals, neither meets the needs of our charitable organizations nor addresses some of our most urgent public needs.”
-Pablo Eisenberg, Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2009
“Eighty percent of the charities surveyed last month said they had lost financial support, compared with 52 percent in 2008.”
-Chronicle of Philanthropy, December 10, 2009
Charitable giving in America has fallen on hard times. And the prospect for 2010 does not look any better. Based on the Dunham+Company annual New Year’s Philanthropy survey conducted in January of this year, Americans say they are loosening their purse strings on entertainment and other household expenses but not on charitable giving.
When it comes to charitable giving, 37% of respondents indicate they continue to reduce their charitable donations and 23% say they have eliminated donations altogether – statistically the same rates as last year.
Yet in spite of the crisis facing charitable giving, the Obama Administration steams ahead at full speed endangering even more charitable institutions through the proposed tax increases unveiled in its 2010 budget along with deduction decreases on charitable giving.
The Obama budget resurrects the proposals from last year to raise taxes on single households making $200,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more. This is compounded by the Obama administration proposing to decrease the charitable deduction for these same households, limiting the deduction to 28 percent. That would be a perfect storm for undermining the charitable sector … and the certain demise of some charities.
It is argued that these households only make up 2.8% of all households but, according to the Center on Philanthropy, they contribute 43.5% of all charitable gifts. The Center on Philanthropy goes on to estimate that these moves would decrease charitable giving by about 2.1 percent, which would have meant a decrease of income to charities in 2006 (the last year for which we have data) of almost $3.9 billion. In other words, they would hinder the most generous Americans from doing what they should do – share generously with those in need through a charity that specializes in the service it provides.