Your Action Needed: Support Charitable Giving - (May 2, 2011)

Tax and Deficit Debates Endanger Charitable Giving Incentives

Washington, D.C. - As the momentum for tax reform and deficit reduction increases, Congress is considering proposals to curtail or eliminate the income tax deduction for gifts to 501(c)(3) organizations, including the nonprofit arts. Congress must fully understand the impact on charitable giving before taking action, and should protect giving incentives that support the valuable community services provided by the full range of nonprofit organizations.

  • The President's FY12 budget proposal to limit deductibility for charitable gifts to 28% for higher income tax payers could reduce charitable giving by as much as $7 billion per year.
  • Far too little is known about what the impact on giving might be under the proposal by the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, which recommends replacing the charitable deduction with a 12% credit for charitable gifts that exceed 2% of an individual's adjusted gross income.
  • Altogether eliminating the deduction for charitable gifts would produce an estimated 25 to 36% decrease in annual giving.
  • This is the first in a series of League alerts you will recieve as Congressional action builds during the summer, and we will keep you posted as specific proposals gain traction. In the meantime, here are three easy steps for your orchestra to take:

1. Contact Congress: The League has set up an e-advocacy campaign with a sample letter to Congress, talking points, and complete background on this pivotal policy issue. Please contact your members of Congress today to let them know how your orchestra serves the public, and how essential charitable giving is to that work. Be sure to personalize your message with details about your orchestra. Policymakers have been surprised to learn that orchestras count on contributions for roughly 40% of the revenue that enables them to serve communities through music.


2. Invite Elected Officials to See Your Orchestra in Action: Check our Congressional Recess Calendar to learn when your members of Congress are likely to be home, and invite them to see your programs in action. No form of advocacy is as effective as providing policymakers with the opportunity to experience firsthand the community benefit your orchestra provides.

3. Keep Us Informed: The League is directly representing orchestras in key meetings on Capitol Hill, in close partnership with the broader nonprofit and philanthropic community. Please be in touch to tell us about your interactions with members of Congress.


Please direct any related questions to Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Najean Lee, Senior Manager, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America