The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world dramatically since this time last year, but the needs of our communities are still there. In fact, those needs have never been greater.
The uncertainties about our health and the economy have also taken heavy tolls on local support for nonprofit organizations such as The Immunization Partnership that rely greatly on contributions from our philanthropic partners. Their charitable gifts provide the vital margin of excellence that allows us to continue working to keep our families, friends and communities healthy and safe — today and for generations to come.
Giving Tuesday is one way all of us can help one another transform our communities and the world. The idea behind Giving Tuesday began in 2012 to encourage individuals to do good for one another. Since then, it has grown into a global movement that celebrates collaboration and generosity. The philanthropic community contributed nearly $2 billion in the U.S. through online and offline donations during Giving Tuesday 2019. This year, the pandemic reduces the opportunities for traditional in-person fundraising activities, which only increases the importance of online giving that, in some cases, has returned higher levels of engagement and giving than past in-person events.
Recent changes in tax laws also affected charitable giving. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 nearly doubled the standard tax deduction, which meant taxpayers taking this deduction could not reduce their taxable income by the amount of their charitable contributions. This affected more than 95% of taxpayers by eliminating the advantage of this important benefit for nonprofit organizations like The Immunization Partnership. To no one’s surprise, studies on giving in 2018 and 2019 showed declines in the level of gifts to charities and in the total number of donors.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 made a beneficial, albeit temporary, change for taxpayers and nonprofits for this year. The CARES Act gives all taxpayers an additional deduction on their charitable gifts up to $300, or $600 for married filers, on donations made before Dec. 31, 2020. This affects more than 90% of U.S. taxpayers.
Donors who itemize and write off their charitable gifts may deduct 100% of their adjusted gross income for donations to qualifying nonprofit organizations. Corporations may deduct charitable gifts up to 25% of their taxable income this year. As always, visit with your accountant or tax adviser regarding your personal situation. Also ask if your employer has a matching program for charitable gifts. This is a great way to leverage your generosity.
All of us would like to see large gifts, but the reality is that we can expect only a few. The bulk of our support comes from individuals who share our beliefs and goals. This is why we say that the fact you give a gift is just as important, if not more so, than the amount you contribute.
If there is one simple reason individuals do not make charitable gifts, it is because no one asks them, at least not directly. But that will not be a reason this year. On behalf of The Immunization Partnership and all community nonprofit organizations, I ask you today to participate in Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1 or at any time before the end of the year.
Now, more than ever, we need the dedication and commitment, the leadership and philanthropy, of our caring and essential community partners. We do not know how long the present health and economic uncertainties will continue. We do know with certainty, however, that they will continue to exert adverse effects on our communities and on the nonprofit organizations committed to providing the services and support our most vulnerable populations so rightly expect and deserve.