A blog that I follow is the Seattle Times’ The Business of Giving authored by Kristi Heim. The post of November 29 features cites a recovery in charitable giving, along with significantly more demand for nonprofit services, especially Human services. Read Kristi’s post at Charitable giving up but not keeping pace with rising demand.
Looking at the CDC’s ACEs study this morning, I noticed a tie-in with Wednesday’s post about health inequity. Previously, I had associated ACEs primarily with psychological impairments, but taking a quick look at the CDC’s pyramid chart I’m reminded (once again!) of the effect socioeconomic status has on health and longevity.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Walla Walla Symphony and the Rogers Adventist School Intermediate Choir will present a concert of three original songs called “Blessings From the Children” by composer Gwyneth Walker. Admission is one non-perishable food item to help supply our local food banks. Concert starts at 7:00 p.m., Cordiner Hall, Whitman College Campus. Oh! And if you attend… the little girl with the long red hair, standing in the center of the choir is my daughter, Abigail.
Just wanted to share these links on…well, obviously…the social determinants of health. :-} The third includes several interactive scenarios designed to illustrate the dynamics of poverty and poor health. (Given my visual learning style, I had fun with these). Hope you find them interesting, relevant, and maybe even fun, as well.
Following the recent problems with some charitable organizations failing to meet their filing requirements with the IRS and losing their charitable status, the IRS is trying to reach out to charitable organizations. The IRS will offer a free 45-minute webinar for newly formed 501(c)(3)s – and established organizations that would like a refresher – on November 18 at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. Pacific time). Two specialists from the IRS Exempt Organization division will explain what new tax-exempt organizations need to do (and what they will want to avoid) to comply with IRS rules and keep their status in good standing in years to come. You can register in advance.
To hear about these sorts of opportunities and other tidbits relevant to charitable organizations, you can sign up to receive a periodic email from the IRS called the IRS Exempt Organization Update. It doesn’t take a long time to read and will keep you current on issues pertaining to tax-exempt organiztions.
What began with an idea of Blue Mountain Action Council in 2008, excerpted below, was dedicated as a completed Phase I in September, 2010. As a concept, it was called Bryant Creek. As a completed project, next to Walla Walla’s Lincoln Alternative High School, it is now Lincoln Terrace. This project showcases the quality of Blue Mountain Area nonprofits and what can happen with vision, leadership and capital.
As a Foundation, our goal is to help put ideas like this one in to action. It is enjoyable to see an idea in writing become shelter for families.
Candi and her daughter are currently living in emergency shelter at the Christian Aid Center. The father is currently in a treatment facility.
Drugs and alcohol, coupled with mental health issues, have resulted in numerous episodes of homelessness for the family. Candi’s family is ideal for permanent supportive housing.
Permanent supportive housing in Walla Walla in practice is the construction of 30 units, 22 of which are for families. It will house homeless families with children and single individuals at or below 30% of the area median income.
The project called the Bryant Creek complex is close to a bus line, seven blocks from the center of town, half a mile to a full-service grocery store and three blocks from a hospital.
In addition to providing shelter, the complex will also offer supportive services, including, but not limited to: mental health and chemical dependency counseling, health care, job training, educational advancement, legally, domestic violence counseling, parenting and financial education. MOUs are already in place with participating agencies.
Local support is critical to unlocking over $2.2 million of state and federal support for the project. When funded, Phase I, which includes all of the family units, will begin construction with substantial completion by December 2010 and full occupancy within eight weeks.
Credit for video production goes to Wave Massey of Blue Mountain Action Council.
The IRS offers some helpful information about charitable giving and your tax filing in a recently posted list (SOURCE: IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2010-21). Those ten things, listed below come directly from the IRS.
Here are the top 10 things the IRS wants every taxpayer to know before deducting charitable donations.
1. Charitable contributions must be made to qualified organizations to be deductible. You can ask any organization whether it is a qualified organization and most will be able to tell you. You can also check IRS Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations, which lists most qualified organizations. IRS Publication 78 is available at IRS.gov.
2. Charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize deductions using Form 1040, Schedule A.
3. You generally can deduct your cash contributions and the fair market value of most property you donate to a qualified organization. Special rules apply to several types of donated property, including clothing or household items, cars and boats.
4. If your contribution entitles you to receive merchandise, goods, or services in return – such as admission to a charity banquet or sporting event – you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received.
5. Be sure to keep good records of any contribution you make, regardless of the amount. For any contribution made in cash, you must maintain a record of the contribution such as a bank record – including a cancelled check or a bank or credit card statement – a written record from the charity containing the date and amount of the contribution and the name of the organization, or a payroll deduction record.
6. Only contributions actually made during the tax year are deductible. For example, if you pledged $500 in September but paid the charity only $200 by Dec. 31, your deduction would be $200.
7. Include credit card charges and payments by check in the year they are given to the charity, even though you may not pay the credit card bill or have your bank account debited until the next year.
8. For any cash or property contribution of $250 or more, you must have written acknowledgment from the organization to substantiate your donation. This written proof must include the amount of cash or a description of any property you contributed, and whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for the gift, including a good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services you received.
9. To deduct charitable contributions of items valued at $500 or more you must complete a Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attached the form to your return.
10. An appraisal generally must be obtained if you claim a deduction for a contribution of noncash property worth more than $5,000. In that case, you must also fill out Section B of Form 8283 and attach the form to your return.
For more information see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, and for information on determining value, refer to Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property. These publications are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
One of the touchstones to the era before my tenure at the Blue Mountain Community Foundation was a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. I, unfortunately, have to use the past tense to describe him as he has given up the ghost.
Prior to his passing, Mr. Coffee performed quite a service. He faithfully brewed great-tasting, hot coffee pot after pot, day after day for years. Much of his white surface had an espresso-brown patina. The lid that covered the water basin had a half-broken hinge and a curl from years of steam cooking the plastic.
Mr. Coffee brewed great coffee for more than a decade a half by estimation. So what does a coffeemaker eulogy have to do with nonprofits?
It highlights a key point about nonprofit finance and one of the key reasons that many nonprofits struggle. In technical terms, we use words like fully-loaded cost and depreciation.
You see, stuff breaks. When it does, you have to buy new stuff. Too often, nonprofits only budget for the year ahead. And typically, they budget based on what they spent last year. So, where does the money come from to replace an eighteen year-old coffee maker or, for that matter, a whole building?
It needs to come from money set aside over the years. Money may be put in a depreciation account or sinking fund or building reserve, or operating reserve, or rainy day fund. It doesn’t matter what is called—what matters is that real money is set aside to renew worn out resources.
Nonprofits can budget for this by adding an amount to their annual budgeting for these types of expenses. This is part of recognizing the fully-loaded cost of running a nonprofit organization. If these costs are not understood and covered, then an organization that usually runs just to break even is actually losing money.
While we don’t expect nonprofits to “make money,” we do need them to remain solvent. In memory of our dear departed Mr. Coffee, please make a memorial gift to your nonprofit organizations reserve fund.
The Blue Mountain Community Foundation is committed to social media. Our commitment begins today with the introduction of the Blue Blog. The staff plans to post frequently with information about the Foundation, the social sector in the Blue Mountain area, the nonprofit field and Philanthropy. It may be that our muse leads us to other topics as well. Follow us and find out! If there are topics that you hope to read more about, leave us a comment and we will try to respond in future posts!