Saturday, March 5, 2011

Some things are better than a tax deduction!

A month ago, I blogged about my former student, Sarah Yergeau, who has been spending this year teaching English and math in Uganda at a school with no books in English. Sarah launched a campaign to get contributions of books which has been very successful so far. The first two shipments of books and a storage cabinet have arrived, and many more books are due to be shipped off soon.

Understandably, there was no time or easy way to get 501(c)-3 status, so the contributions are not deductible for tax purposes.

That didn't stop me and a number of others from donating*--there are some benefits to donation that transcend tax benefits--such as the good feelings I get from looking at photos of Sarah, the students, and the staff of the school as they build the cabinet and stack the treasured books on the shelves.

For a closer look at those photos, go here.

I designated my contribution to purchase copies of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book that my own children enjoyed enormously and read many times, over and over, when they were young. Reading over the list of other authors on the school's "wish list" brought back many happy memories of reading with my children when they were young. (Priceless!) To see a list of the books on the school's wish list, and which ones have been donated so far, go here. It's not too late to get involved. There are still more books on the wish list and donations of funds to help with shipping costs are also welcome. See here for more.

*Footnote: by the same token, many taxpayers do not itemize and therefore get no tax benefit from donations, even when donating to an organization with 501(c)-3 status, but a surprising number of them are still quite generous. As previously mentioned, a good survey of the literature is available in this paper.

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