Letter to Congress: Protect the Charitable Giving Incentive

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Dear Massachusetts Congressional Delegation,

We, the undersigned nonprofit organizations of Massachusetts, are concerned by reports that Congress is considering a cap or elimination of the itemized charitable deduction as part of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.  We urge you to protect this deduction—a unique and cherished incentive for Americans to invest directly in important community needs.

The nonprofit sector plays a central role in the social and economic vitality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Our organizations educate and keep the citizenry healthy; care for the most vulnerable populations; and preserve the state’s cherished historical, cultural and environmental resources.  Nonprofits employ 16.7% of the workforce, or nearly 500,000 Massachusetts residents, and are responsible for $250 billion in annual revenues.

Congress codified the strong American tradition of giving back to our communities in the tax code nearly a century ago, when it provided for deductions on charitable contributions in the Revenue Act of 1917.  Now, as an April 2011 Gallup poll illustrated, 7 in 10 Americans oppose the elimination of the charitable tax deduction, regardless of whether the savings would be used to lower their taxes or reduce the deficit.

The charitable tax deduction maintains such broad support because it is the only incentive that provides not a personal benefit, but instead a mechanism to support critical community needs and generates considerable leverage on the federal government’s investment.  For every dollar that is deducted through the charitable giving incentive, nearly three dollars of private spending go directly to schools, hospitals, social service organizations, museums, historical landmarks, open spaces and more.

It is clear that the charitable deduction works and that more people give—and give more—as a result. Dr. Martin Feldstein, a professor of economics at Harvard University and president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research, estimates that without the charitable giving incentive, annual giving in the U.S. would drop 25 to 36 percent.  He also states that the proposed cap could cost charities as much as $7 billion a year in contributions.

The direct impact on nonprofits in Massachusetts would be devastating.  According to the IRS, Massachusetts residents contributed $4.3 billion in itemized charitable donations in 2010.  60 percent of those contributions were made by individuals with incomes greater than $200,000.  A national study, released last month by Bank of America, asked philanthropists, whose incomes were $200,000 or more, whether their giving habits would change if the charitable giving deduction were eliminated.  Nearly half (49 percent) indicated that they would decrease their giving, and 20 percent indicated that their contributions would “dramatically decrease.”

Charitable giving is the lifeblood on the nonprofit sector and any effort that would eliminate, reduce, or cap the tax value of charitable contributions will affect our ability to address critical needs in Massachusetts cities and towns. We urge you to protect and make clear your support for the charitable giving incentive.

Thank you for your continued work on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth.


Frank Albani, Director, Soule Homestead Education Center
Christine Alessandro, Executive Director, BayPath Elder Services, Inc.
Margaretta S. Andrews, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Nantucket
Jill Ashton, President, Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women
James R. Ayres, Executive Director, United Way of Hampshire County
Sue Baldauf, Director, Bedford Youth & Family Services
Katjana Ballantyne, Executive Director, Girls’ L.E.A.P.
Jeffrey Bass, Executive Director, Emmanuel Gospel Center, Inc.
Julie Batten, Director of Development, Medicine Wheel Production
Judy Beckler, President, St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children
Laura Benjamin, Vice President, New England English Springer Spaniel Rescue, Inc.
Lois J. Barry, Executive Director, L.U.K. Crisis Center, Inc.
Judith Bigelow-Costa, President, Middleborough on the Move
Donna Blanchard, Executive Director, Apple Tree Arts
Oksana Bondar, Director of Finance and Operations, Elizabeth Peabody House
Ruth Bramson, CEO, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Michael Brown, CEO, City Year, Inc.
Ann Budner, Chair, MetroWest Nonprofit Network
Julia Burgess, Executive Director, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
Sandra Burke, Vice President and Executive Director, City Year Boston
Daniel Burke, President and CEO, Lifeworks Inc & The Arc of South Norfolk
Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
Joan Butler, Executive Director, Minuteman Senior Services
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph. D., CEO, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
Dennis Carman, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Plymouth County
Grace Carmark, Executive Director, The Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, Inc.
Margo Casey, Executive Director, North Shore United Way
Maureen Cavanagh, Director, Magnolia New Beginnings, Inc.
Swanna Champlin, Executive Director, L’Arche Irenicon, Inc.
Sue Chandler, Executive Director, DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), Inc.
Selina Chow, Board President, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Boston
Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Mass Audubon
Brenda Clement, Executive Director, Citizen Housing and Planning Association
Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director, MassVOTE
Maryellen Coffey, Executive Director, BOSTnet (Build the Out of School Time Network)
Denise N. Cogman, Executive Director, Springfield School Volunteers
Elizabeth Cohen, Executive Director, Families First Parenting Programs
David Cohen, Executive Director, Doc Wayne Athletic League
Ian Cooke, Executive Director, Neponset River Watershed Association
Marcia Cooper, President, Green Decade Newton
Gregg Croteau, Executive Director, United Teen Equality Center
Maureen F. Curley, President, Campus Compact
Michael Curry, Esq., Legislative Affairs and Senior Counsel, Massachusetts League of
Community Health Centers
Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO, The Greater Boston Food Bank
Russ Davis, Executive Director, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Margo Deane, Executive Director, Framingham Coalition for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Joe Diamond, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association for Community Action
Kathleen Dowd, Executive Director, Human Service Forum
Daniel J. Driscoll, President and CEO, Harbor Health Services, Inc.
Suzanne C. Dubus, CEO, Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Inc.
Toni Elka, Executive Director and Founder, Future Chefs
Davina Fankhauser, President, Fertility Within Reach
Kate Fentress, Executive Director, Women’s Fund at the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts
Juliana Field, Director of Development, Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts
Anne-Marie Fitzgerald, COO, Reach Out and Read
Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery
Adele Franks, Board President, Grow Food Northampton, Inc.
Diane Galvin, Finance Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
Tim Garvin, Chair , Council of Massachusetts United Ways
Tim Garvin, CEO, United Way of Central Massachusetts
Linda S. George, Executive Director, Boston Senior Home Care
Bob Giannino-Racine, CEO, uAspire
Gregory, Executive Director, Hitchcock Free Academy
Paul Grogan, President and CEO, The Boston Foundation
Mary Gunn, Executive Director, Generations Incorporated
Emily Haber, CEO, Massachusetts Service Alliance
Jeff Hansell, Executive Director, Belmont Media Center
Melissa Harper, CEO, Good Sports
David Hawkesworth, Executive Director, Helping Communities in Crisis, Inc.
Kristen Heintz-Perkins, Assisant Director, Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership Boston University
Charmane Higgins, Executive Director, STRIVE/Boston Employment Service, Inc.
Joanne K. Hilferty, President and CEO, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries
Janice Hoffman, President and CEO, Wide Horizons For Children
Danielle Holly, Executive Director, Common Impact
Donna Hunnewell, Executive Director, The Wish Project
James W. Hunt, President and CEO, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Rev. Dr. Anne Marie Hunter, Director, Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence
Lysetta Hurge-Putnam, MSW, LICSW, Executive Director, Independence House, Inc.
Diana Hwang, Executive Director, Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative
Stephen D. Immerman, President, Motserrat College of Art
Rick Jakious, CEO, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
Robert A. Johnson, President & CEO, Special Olympics Massachusetts, Inc.
Kirk N. Joslin, President and CEO, Easter Seals Massachusetts
John D. Judge, President and CEO, Appalachian Mountain Club
Todd Kates, Ph. D., CEO, United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston
Patrice Keegan, Executive Director, Boston Cares
Pat Kirby, Vice President and Executive Director, Citizen Schools Massachusetts
Deborah Kneeland Keegan, Executive Director, For Kids Only Afterschool
Christine Konys, Board Chair, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.
Skye Morrison Kramer, CEO, First Literacy, Inc.
Joe Kriesberg, President, The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations
Joan Kulash, Executive Director, Jericho Road Lawrence
Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston
Mary Lauby, Executive Director, Jane Doe, Inc.
Leslie Tarr Laurie MS, President and CEO, Tapestry Health
Darcy H. Lee, Executive Director, Mayflower RSVP, Inc.
Beth Leventhal, Executive Director, Network LaRed
Juan Leyton, Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts
John Linehan, President and CEO, Zoo New England
Julie Lovely, Founder and Executive Director, Wild Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Program
Linda Lowy, Founding Artistic Director, Shakespeare Now! Theatre Company
Steven M. Rothstein, President, Perkins School for the Blind
Brian A. Mac Donald, President, National Braille Press
Doug MacPherson, Chief Development Officer, HMEA
Christine M. MacWade, LICSW, BCD, Executive Director, Family Services of Central Massachusetts
Chris Mancini, Executive Director, Groundwork Somerville
Barbara Mangum, President of the Boards, Historic Somerville, Inc.
Joseph L. Manna, Community Development Director, Springfield Rescue Mission
Lynn Margherio, Founder and CEO, Cradles to Crayons
Mark Marino, Executive Director, Health Leads, Boston
Nancy Martin, Director, Jenney House Museum
Marty Martinez, President and CEO, Mass Mentoring Partnership
Benilda Martinez, Director of Finance and Administration, Polus Center for Social &
Economic Development
Michael Maso, Managing Director, Huntington Theatre Company
Lowell I. Mazie, Executive Director, John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation
David McAnulty, Administrative Director, Tellus Institue
Gerard McCarthy, Executive Director, Northeast Arc
Antonio G. McGuire, President and CEO, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Jean G. McMurray, Executive Director, Worcester County Food Bank
Alan Michel, Director, HOME, Inc.
Catherine Gregory Mogavero, CFRE, Member of Board of Directors, Marlborough Regional Community Foundation
Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
Nancy R. Munson, CEO, Bristol Elder Services, Inc.
Elaine Ng, Executive Director, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc.
Anne Norton, Director of Insitutional Affairs, Boston Center for the Arts
Joseph P. O’Brien, President, CEO & Patient, National Scoliosis Foundation
David O’Donnell, Executive Director, Operation P.E.A.C.E. – Boston
Valerie Paric, Interim Executive Director, One Family, Inc.
Paula Paris, Deputy Director, JFYNetWorks
Lauren Payne, Executive Director, Friendship Home, Inc.
Maribeth Perry, Executive Director, Lawyers Clearinghouse
Earl Martin Phalen, Founder, Summer Advantage USA
Earl Martin Phalen, Founder, The George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies
Paulo Pinto, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
Jeff Poulos, Executive Director, Associated Grant Makers
Serena M. Powell, President and CEO, Community Work Services
Deborah Re, CEO, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Dejon Rice, President and CEO, Boston’s Bridge to Excellence, Inc.
Roland Rick Robillard, Executive Director, Pride Inc.
David Rollins, Executive Director, Citizens Volunteers Limited
Joyce Rowell, Executive Director, Rainbow Child Development Center
Jerry Rubin, President and CEO, JVS Boston
Randal Rucker, CEO, Family Service of Greater Boston
Beth Russell, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County
Elizabeth Saunders, Massachusetts Director, Clean Water Action
Gunner Scott, Executive Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Sarang Sekhavat, Federal Policy Director, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Sharon Shelton, Community Relations Director, Community Teamwork, Inc.
Barry Shrage, President, Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Marcia Sindell, Chief External Affairs Officer, Atrius Health
Suzanne Singh Nebelung, President, YWCA of Central Massachusetts
Susan Werley Slater, Chief Program Officer, Jumpstart
Louisa Stephens, Executive Director, Associates of the Boston Public Library
Grace Sterling Stowell, Executive Director, Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Youth
Kara Suffredini, Executive Director, MassEquality
Pat Suhrcke, Director, Cambridge Forum
Sue Dahling Sullivan, Chief of Staff/Chief Strategic Officer, Citi Performing Arts Center
Anne Teschner, Executive Director, The Care Center
Claudia Thompson, President, Grow Native Massachusetts
Eric Thompson Esq., Executive Director, Earthen Vessels, Inc.
Ben Ticho, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest
Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director, Griffin Museum of Photography
Lynn R. Trelle, Director of Development, Berkshire Children & Families
Greg Tutuny, Executive Director, Natick Service Council
Laura R. Van Zandt, Executive Director, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.
Gladys Vega, Executive Director, Chelsea Collaborative
James C. Ward, Executive Director, Early Childhood Centers of Greater Springfield, Inc.
Michael Weekes, President and CEO, Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc
Dave Welbourn, President and CEO, Essex County Community Foundation
Jim Wilde, Executive Director, Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership
Matt Wilson, Executive Director, MASSCreative
Janelle Wilson, Executive Director, Jeremiah’s Inn
Marianne Winters, Executive Director, Safe Passage, Inc.
Jodi A. Wolin, Director of Development, Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
Andrew Wolk, Founder and CEO, Root Cause
Rev. David Wright, Executive Director, Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.
Leigh Youngblood, Executive Director, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Kathy Zagzebski, President and Executive Director, National Marine Life Center
Linda Zim
merman, Executive Director, Neighbors In Need
Robert L. Zimmerman, Jr., Executive Director, Charles River Watershed Association

(endorsements as of 12/21/2012, 11:30 AM)