Someone turned to me at a party recently to enlist me in his tirade about the possible changes to the way the deductibilty of charitable contributions are calculated. At that moment I had to wonder about that discourse so I didn’t answer him right away.
“Don’t you agree though? I mean, this will shut down non profits all together!” he spat at me.
Now, I run a small non profit. It is, of course underfunded, I expect that. I budget for that. His tactic was meant to hit a nerve I suppose. It did, but not the one he expected.
Here’s what I think. I wonder what kind of narrative we’ve adopted in our culture that bases our desire to GIVE based upon what we GET. I personally, do not give money to charity because I will get a deduction for it. Many times I give and do not declare it as a charitable contribution. I give to my church because “tithing” is part of my faith narrative. I give to charitable organizations because it is part of my personal desire to support good causes. I have to believe that MOST of us who give to charities have this conviction, I have to believe that.
I may be wrong, I often am wrong in fact but it’s in my basic nature to think the best of people, to hope for the best in people. So to put out there into the world the idea that non profits will disappear because the amount I can claim on my taxes will decrease just degrades all of us. It imagines the very worst possible nature for us, as americans and as citizens of the world as well.
Can we not think better of ourselves? Can we not bring each other UP instead of down on this? I say that in light of the tax changes (if they happen) the response ought to be a hope in the goodness of people.
It’s an issue of care. We must begin to see ourselves as a people who value CARE more than money, more than politics, more than personal gain. If we do not become a country filled with people of care then we are indeed at our own end and no amount of legislation can cure us.