Newspaper article The Florida Times Union
Philanthropy Provides Crucial Services
Byline: Sherry Magill, Nina Waters
Today, Jacksonville's community leaders will pause to recognize the importance of philanthropy in our community. Across the country, Philanthropy Day observances in November will lift up the importance of private charitable giving for the common good.
This year, we arrive at Philanthropy Day with the recent rancorous budget debate ringing in our ears.
With these issues still lacking long-term resolution, we remain concerned that elected officials are seriously considering unraveling a 100-year-old American tradition that incentivizes charitable giving and benefits millions of people. In jeopardy is the provision that allows taxpayers to deduct donations to nonprofits.
Roughly 20 percent of all taxpayers in Florida (1.9 million Floridians) use this incentive, which is designed to encourage donors to support worthy causes. Add up the donations they made to nonprofits in 2011, and it comes to an incredible $9.7 billion.
It's important to recognize that donors at all income levels itemize their deductions, not just the wealthy. In fact, more than half of Florida's taxpayers who use the charitable deduction earn less than $75,000 annually, and one-third earn less than $50,000.
North Florida is fortunate to be home to many people - past and present - who carry on the unique American tradition of charitable giving.
We have foundations willing to take a leadership role to encourage philanthropy and residents willing to dig deep into their pockets to help those who are less fortunate.
In fact, donors in the Jacksonville metro area give a larger proportion of their incomes to charity than those in much larger South Florida communities.
While elected officials in Washington express support for the value and impact of charitable giving, proposals on the table pose a real threat to incentives that encourage this kind of generosity. …