By Tara Arras
Like most organizations, Catholic Charities was plagued by COVID-19 during the past months and some of our best laid plans were thwarted by the pandemic. While we encountered numerous challenges and many disappointments, we were buoyed by the resilience and resolve of our staff who continued to meet the needs of our clients without reservation and by the outpouring of generosity by thousands of volunteers and donors.
• Masks were hand sewn or purchased and donated to us for our staff and clients to wear.
• Bars of soap and bottles of hand sanitizer were donated for our distribution in the community.
• Warm meals, boxed lunches and hot pizzas were prepared and delivered to countless families who stood in line each week at a food pantry or stayed in one of our homeless shelters.
• Pallets of shelf-stable and fresh foods were provided by companies and local farms to help us provide millions of meals to families challenged by food insecurity.
• Truckloads of food and other essential supplies including infant formula and diapers were purchased by caring people through our Amazon wish list.
• Thousands of donors — many of whom donated for the first-time to Catholic Charities — provided more than $2.5 million to our special COVID-19 Relief Fund for us to meet the sharp increase in need for help during this pandemic.
Without this collective response from our generous community, we would not have helped almost 193,000 men, women and children this past year. This is a 34% increase in the number of people helped over the previous year.
During this holiday season, friends, volunteers and very generous supporters continue to give back as an annual holiday tradition, ensuring the most vulnerable in our community stay warm, have enough to eat and experience a joyful holiday even during a pandemic. This is a true blessing.
As 2020 draws to a close and you consider your charitable donations, we highlight the following ways to make a sustainable investment in Catholic Charities while appreciating additional tax benefits. The CARES Act has temporarily changed certain taxable deductions. Please consult your financial or legal adviser for more information.
Deduct up to $300 per taxpayer “above the line:” For those who take the standard deduction and do not itemize, the CARES Act adds a new “above-the-line” deduction for up to $300 in qualified charitable giving. To qualify, the charitable contribution must be made in cash in 2020 and given directly to a qualified public charity such as Catholic Charities.
Deduct up to 100% of your AGI when you itemize: When you make a charitable contribution of cash in 2020 to a qualifying public charity such as Catholic Charities you can deduct up to 100% of your adjusted gross income (up from 60% previously). The CARES Act temporarily increased the individual AGI limits for cash contributions made to qualified public charities in 2020.
Make a Tax-Free Transfer from Your IRA: If you are age 70-1/2 or older, you can direct up to $100,000 each calendar year to charity from a qualified IRA. The distribution is tax free and must be sent directly to Catholic Charities. The CARES Act has temporarily suspended the required minimum distribution.
Earn a Tax Break from Giving Appreciated Stock: Giving stock entitles you to a charitable deduction for the fair market value of the shares and may allow you to avoid capital gains tax. To transfer stock or mutual funds to Catholic Charities electronically, provide your broker with this information and contact us to let us know.
Thank you for your continued generosity and support of our mission. No gift is too small, and every donation makes a difference.
Tara Arras is chief development officer at Catholic Charities DC.