By Carol Tannenhauser
Until she died at the age of 98, Mae Tannenhauser, my mother-in-law, gave to charity in a memorable way.
Especially at this time of year, not wanting any of the many solicitations she got to go unanswered, or to disappoint or leave anyone out, she would send a small amount — $5 to $25 — to every organization that asked and that she determined did good work. I remember her saying, as she sat at her dining room table, putting stamps on a stack of envelopes, “I’d rather send a little to a lot.”
With so many people in need this year, it seems particularly important to give to charity, if you can. The government recognized this need with a special tax deduction to spur donations. CNN explains it:
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, lawmakers created a special one-time deduction to encourage Americans with some cash to spare to make donations this year.
The deduction, which expires on December 31, applies to tax filers who take the standard deduction on their federal tax return. The IRS estimates more than 87% of filers now take the standard deduction.
Normally, only itemizers may claim their charitable contributions, because the lump-sum standard deduction (currently $12,400 for single filers; and $24,800 for married filers) is intended to cover most deductions.
But this year, on top of taking your standard deduction, you also may take a deduction for cash contributions up to $300, so long as you donate that money by December 31. (Note: It does not apply to non-monetary contributions such as clothing or food.)
In honor of my mother-in-law, I’ve compiled a list of Upper West Side nonprofits I plan to send a little something to for the holidays. It is by no means comprehensive. And, of course, there are countless worthy causes beyond the neighborhood. But if you want to give locally, there’s plenty of need, and plenty of groups doing good work.
Here’s my list, with links, in alphabetical order:
American Museum of Natural History
Bloomingdale School of Music
Central Park Conservancy
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Goddard Riverside Community Center
One Block UWS
Riverside Park Conservancy
Steps on Broadway
West Side Federation For Senior and Supportive Housing
West Side Campaign Against Hunger
Wild Bird Fund
If I give $25 to each, I’ll equal my $300 deduction. Please add any organizations that you believe do good work in the comments.
Note: This post was inadvertently deleted and appears now in a different position on the thread. Sorry about the lost comments. One mentioned Save NYC Musicians, which sounds worthwhile. Check out the link. Here’s another from the comments: writopialab.org