I am NOT a philanthropist! Or AM I?
If you are like me, you either just finished you 2020 tax return, or will be starting on it very soon. A striking addition to this year’s tax return is the ability for everyone to deduct a certain amount for gifts to charity, no matter what your income level was for 2020, even if you take the standard deduction and don’t itemize. What a great benefit for nonprofit organizations! Hopefully you, and a whole bunch of other tax filers, took advantage of this opportunity to give.
So, this raises the question about who really is a philanthropist. We tend to think about philanthropy in very large dollar amounts – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, MacKenzie Scott and the like. But I would suggest that everyone who makes regular gifts to various charities is in fact a philanthropist. Many of us give to our church, if only through the Sunday collection basket. We see many people respond to national or world disasters with gifts from nominal amounts to large amounts. We could list the myriad charities that everyone knows, and perhaps gives to from time to time: American Red Cross, Haven for Hope, the Food Bank, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, and the list is very extensive.
If you are in the habit of making charitable gifts on an annual basis, no matter the amount or the number of charities gifted by you — You Are A Philanthropist.
Now, more than ever, charities need philanthropists like you and me. Make a gift. No, make several gifts. And consider yourself to be among the elite of the world, because you are a charitable person.
Gregg E. Muenster, PhD
Senior Philanthropic Strategist