Sunday, December 09, 2012

Did the Good Samaritan Get a Tax Deduction?

I’m sure most people are familiar with the Bible story about how a man saw another person in need along the side of a road and gave him all the help he needed to recover. This story is over 2000 years old, but it brings up an important question. See Good Samaritan images like the one shown in Pinterest.

For many years a debate on reductions of tax deductions for charitable giving has been going on in Congress. Will people still give to social causes without a tax deduction? See this article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy , Changes in Charitable Deduction May Have Mixed Impact on Giving.

Where did we get off the road of giving aid because it’s needed and the right thing to do, to giving aid only when we get a tax write off?

I operated as a 501-c-3 non profit from 1993 to 2011 and solicited donations from a wide range of individuals, corporations and foundations over that period of time. More than $6 million was raised, partly to support the site-based Cabrini Connections program, and partly to support the citywide strategy of the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

I’ve been operating without the 501-c-3 tax status since July 2011, focusing on the Tutor/Mentor Connection's goals. I am doing exactly the same work of supporting the growth of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs (see 4-part strategy), yet find it much more difficult to ask for help due to not being classified as a charity. Based on the number of people who gave in the past but not in the last year, I think others find it more difficult to give help because I’m not a charity and they don’t get a tax deduction. Read "Why I'm not a Non-Profit"

I don’t think the person that the good Samaritan helped was a 501-c-3 charity. He was someone in need.


I have been trying to improve the flow of talent, dollars and technology into high poverty neighborhoods for over 18 years. I’ve piloted a unique use of maps and interactive databases to do this, yet have not had the capital to keep these working, updated and expanding in how they connect resource providers with the different tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll outline two strategies that I've been developing. I think any city could support these in its own efforts to help youth in multiple neighborhoods have the extra learning and mentoring supports needed to move more successfully through school and into jobs and careers.

One is an information-based community mobilization strategy. The second is a 12-month calendar of events and collective efforts intended to dramatically increase the number of people to look at the information and take actions that support the growth of one, or more different tutor/mentor programs in Chicago or other big cities.

As you read these I encourage you to browse past articles on this blog, review the sections of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site, and review the wiki that shows what I've been building and where help is needed.

If by December 31 you’ve read these and agree with what I’m trying to do, then look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re a Good Samaritan and if you can provide some of the financial support needed in 2013 and 2014 to do this work properly.

No comments: