We often note that America is the most charitable nation in the world, and the end of the year – what we call the “season of giving” – is when Americans come out in droves to donate to important causes and showcase their generosity. And much of that generosity begins on Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday, a now nationally recognized tradition, began in 2012 as a day to encourage people to do good and has turned into a global movement for generosity. On Giving Tuesday in 2019 alone, nearly $2 billion was donated in the U.S., both online and offline. And this year, when many would say that needs are at an all-time high, charities across the country are hoping to set records.
Since 2009, the Charitable Giving Coalition has been educating policymakers about the importance of protecting and enhancing the charitable deduction so charities can work to meet the needs of Americans. This year, charities across the country have been hit hard by COVID-19 and its economic fallout, and they’re still struggling. Now, more than ever, an expansion of the charitable deduction is necessary to ensure these organizations can keep the lights on and continue providing vital resources when they’re needed most.
Congress signaled that these efforts have partially paid off when they enacted a temporary universal charitable deduction as part of the COVID relief package known as the CARES Act that passed in March. Since then, we have seen an increase in small-dollar gifts to charity, and Senate policymakers have even included an expansion of the deduction (the cap is currently $300 and the Senate has proposed upping that to $600 for single filers and $1,200 for joint filers) in the next round of proposed COVID relief.
Additionally, bipartisan and bicameral groups of lawmakers have introduced a number of bills in the 116th Congress that would make available or increase the incentive for all Americans:
- 4032, H.R. 7328 – Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act introduced by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Reps. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Chris Pappas (D-NH)
- R. 6408 – Save Organizations that Serve America Act introduced by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
- R. 8430 – CALMER Act introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
- 4537 – RECOVERY Act Introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
- R. 1260 – Introduced by Ways and Means Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL);
- R. 651 – Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act introduced by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Chris Smith (R-NJ)
- R. 5293 – Universal Charitable Giving Act introduced by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
All of these bills would incentivize more giving to charity at a critical time.
Beginning today and throughout December – the month during which we historically see the most donations – our Season of Giving Guest Blog Series will be highlighting the important work charities across the country are doing and the critical need to incentivize individual donations, especially during a year of unprecedented crises.