‘Tis the Season to Be Giving!

In the midst of the holiday rush, opportunities and impulses arise that lead to charitable giving. Whether it’s making a small donation to a struggling non-profit, or a significant contribution that could change the world, your donations reflect your values: the things you care about most in your community or in the world, as well as your gratitude for being in a position to make such a donation.

When you donate money, you are putting your money where your mouth is. You are becoming part of the solution rather than part of the problem. While there is talk in Washington of limiting the tax deduction for charitable donations—an aspect of the current negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff”—as of today and through the rest of 2012, the Tax Code as it relates to charitable giving remains unchanged.

If the tax deduction for such donations were to be reduced, hopefully the desire to give to worthy causes would not. Come what may in 2013, there is still time to give this year. If you haven’t decided just where to send that check, we have a few suggestions related to our firm’s own giving, which includes support of the Oakland East Bay Symphony; the Muse Program (for Music Excellence in the Oakland Public Schools); Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir; Cazadero Music Camp; Ann Martin Education Center; Rebuilding Together-Oakland; and YEAH, an East Bay shelter and life skills program serving homeless youth.

This year, we established something new:

In response to continuing budget cuts to arts programs in the East Bay public schools, our firm established its first annual $5,000 Youth-in-the-Arts grant to be awarded to an organization dedicated to providing arts opportunities for East Bay at-risk or underserved youth.

To our surprise, we received applications from 34 creative and inspiring organizations. Sadly, we could only choose one winner, which turned out to be Cal Performance’s Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp, a summer dance program for mostly at-risk and underserved kids from 11-14. Based in the professional dance techniques of Alvin Ailey, and under the direction of David McCauley, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, teacher, and leader, the program integrates life skills training with dance performance, and literally changes lives. For more information about Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp, and a list of the other 33 deserving applicants see the Community Section of our website.

1. Please consider giving your year-end contribution to one of these worthy organizations supporting youth in the arts; a click will take you their website. We especially encourage other businesses to “adopt a non-profit” as we have. Together we can positively impact the communities in which we live. We constantly hear about the problems, but here are some organizations already providing solutions! You and/or your business can help.

2. For additional fresh ideas for year-end giving, consult catalyticwomen.com, and download the online holiday giving guide called How to Make Giving a Family Tradition, which offers innovative and easy ideas to engage all generations in giving back.