The December 20 Interchange by Irwin Stoolmacher was headlined “Does the Tax Law Spell Doom for Charities?” As someone with long and in-depth personal experience with a spectrum of 501(c)3 non-profits, including charities, the author’s doomsday proclamation is largely baseless. It doesn’t even acknowledge fundamental changes in fund raising, both sources and methodologies, which have occurred in recent years well prior to the recent drafting of the 2017 tax law. His warning flags are astonishing coming from someone purportedly having expertise who “advises charities in fund raising and strategic planning.”
Let’s look at what these “experts” don’t even mention that directly impacts both financial viability and effectiveness of non-profits, including charities, in serving their corporate missions.
First, look at financial viability of non-profits and the sources of funding key to their very existence.
The author does not mention what for many is a huge source of revenue and a major tax saving for donors. They contribute part or even all of their required minimum distribution from their IRA directly to charities. There is no tax or itemized deductions needed as it doesn’t count as income to the tax payer.
As to sources and uses of financial support in general, two important trends are becoming increasingly evident. First, corporate support is becoming a mainstay for more non-profits, especially those traditionally funded by individual memberships. There are now cases where sustaining firms provide 80 percent of a 501(c)3 annual budget. A short time ago the reverse was true. Second, charities and non-profits are under increasing pressure to rebalance their costs and expenditures to greatly increase percentages allocated to mission. They attain favor with top donors.
Contrary to the author’s views and several specific proposals, the most stifling impact on the cost effectiveness and delivery of mission is burdensome and largely unnecessary regulation. The author’s commentary and proposals not only criticize, even impugn the virtues of capitalism in general but even allege self-interests control their every action. Over regulation is the disease, not the cure. Also, “unfettered capitalism” may not be a core value or virtue, but “unfettered discourse” certainly is and the author seems unaccepting of that virtue.
#b#A Musical Thank You#/b#
On December 2 we held our third Music for All Seasons event at the Salt Creek Grille Princeton. The event, featuring Philadelphia funk band Swift Technique, benefited Dress for Success Central New Jersey (DFSCNJ), which this year celebrates 10 years of empowering women. The organization, founded in 2007 as Dress for Success Mercer County, has served more than 5,500 women and girls during that time. DFSCNJ has increased its services by 292 percent and is partnering with Mercer County Community College, high schools and vocational schools in providing workforce development programs in downtown Trenton and six other counties.
Net proceeds of $11,000 will go to help fund a variety of vital education and career development programs for DFSCNJ. Funds raised from the event, co-chaired by Nora Szabo-Siklosi, came from ticket sales to about 70 attendees, and a number of sponsors, led by Princeton-based DiversityInc., was well as PNC, Bank of Princeton, Stark & Stark, Taft Communications, Wells Fargo Advisors (Lawrenceville), the Olsen Foundation, Northfield Bank, the Martin Family, Bracco Diagnostics, and Nass-tech Mechanical.
Thanks also to videographer Wright Seneres of MetorWright, who donated his expert services. And special mention for drummer Raghav Mehrotra, an eighth grader at Grover Middle School in West Windsor who has performed on “School of Rock” on Broadway.
Finally, with this highly successful event just past, I want to thank the incredible nonprofit organizations we aligned with for the opportunity to contribute to their amazing efforts. The chance to combine twin passions in music and philanthropy is a gift in itself.
Founder/Director, Music for All Seasons