It is a season marked by warmth and light, defined by families gathering for gift exchanges or assembling around a table for a feast. More than any time of the year, the holidays also offer a marked contrast to those in our community who have less and emphasizes the need to give.
A charitable donation isn’t the kind of holiday gift that will end up on a shelf or in a closet in a few months — it will have long-lasting effects in bettering the lives of those in need of food, shelter, medical attention or other essentials. Charitable donations are gifts that brighten the holidays for both those who give, and those who receive.
“The holidays are a time for believing,” says Keith Inman, president of Kosair Charities. “Since 1923, Kosair Charities has believed in showing children their potential, instead of their obstacles. Your support helps make this belief a reality, with 100 percent of all donations going to support kids in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.”
Why should you add a charitable donation to your gift list this holiday season? Here are three compelling reasons.
1. There’s More Work to Be Done
Poverty remains a real issue in Louisville, where 1 in 7 residents lives in “concentrated” poverty — the kind that places them well below citywide averages in jobs, education, and health, according to the Greater Louisville Project. Children are especially at risk, with over a quarter-million living in poverty in Kentucky, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 Kids Count Profile. Kentucky ranks 37th nationally in an index combining education, health, and economic well-being.
In Louisville, 1 in 5 children live in poverty, according to Allison Samblanet, senior vice president for development and impact giving at Kosair Charities, who protects the health and well-being of children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana by providing financial support for social services, research, pediatric healthcare, education, and child advocacy. “The struggles for these families range from access to food, housing and transportation, and also the children’s attendance at school suffers as well,” says Samblanet. “Poverty contributes to chronic stress, illness, and lack of access to treatment, and research shows that shows children in poverty often lag behind in school. With so much more to be done, there is definitely a reason to donate this holiday season."
2. It Makes People Happier
Charitable giving no doubt improves the lives of those on the receiving end, but it can also better things for the giver. Studies have shown that people who make charitable gifts are happier and that their positive mood can even have a positive effect on their overall health.
Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton confirmed as much in 2008, through a study that asked 632 Americans about their spending habits, and their level of happiness. “Regardless of income level, those people who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not,” it found, as reported in the Guardian.
In 2010, Norton’s study was backed up by another conducted by social scientist Liz Dunn, who gave college students money in envelopes and asked them to spend it on themselves or give it away. “Spending on others made people happier than spending on oneself,” Dunn found, as reported in Psychology Today.
“Giving certainly has a positive effect on the brain, and there are health implications that go along with that,” adds Samblanet of Kosair Charities. “It is simply feeling as though you are making a difference in the world, no matter the amount. Whether it is a $5 gift or a $5,000 gift, studies show giving makes people happier and healthier.”
3. It Has a Tax Benefit
Although the tax code has changed, those who make charitable gifts may still be entitled to a deduction if they itemize, and the amount of the gift is greater than the standard deduction. The gift must be made to a qualifying charitable organization such as Kosair Charities, and proper documentation must be kept to verify the donation.
Deduction limits apply only to those giving over 20 percent of their adjusted gross income, according to Charity Navigator. Under the new tax code, deduction limits are set at 60 percent of adjusted gross income. Anyone giving 20 percent or more of their income is advised to consult a tax adviser.
Those over 70½ years of age have another giving option that offers potential tax savings: an IRA charitable rollover gift. It allows qualifying individuals to take their minimum distribution, avoid taxes on IRA transfers up to $100,000, prevent potentially getting bumped into a higher tax bracket, and make a donation that is not subject to the standard limits on charitable giving.
Interested in making a charitable gift this holiday season? Donations to Kosair Charities, which helps improve the lives of children throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana, can be made through their website at Kosair.org/Donate. Those interested in IRA rollovers or giving gifts of stock can contact Kosair Charities directly at (502) 637-7696.