Amid the most unusual and unexpected event of our lifetime, I find myself struggling for words. No story seems appropriate, no example relevant.
I’m bombarded by hard, rough around the edges news, like the text I received a few minutes ago with a story from the local television station explaining that crisis calls to family violence shelters are up.
I’m not surprised. I am deeply concerned at a level I can hardly describe.
What I Know
As stress grows for everyone, it will increase even more for those stuck in their homes under shelter in place and stay at home orders. For many battered women, going to work is one of the few safe places in their lives. Children are stuck at home – no longer able to attend school, another safe place for abused children.
As a country, we had already become more concerned about mental health issues and growing suicide rates. And then a pandemic occurs.
The virus will affect the mental health of many Americans, most of whom have never experienced more than an occasional “bad day” kind of depression. For those who have long had mental health challenges, it is excruciating. Given the economic impact, suicide rates will be unimaginable. Family violence and child abuse stories will be horrifying.
Where do I start? How do I respond? From my community? From my home?
The CARES Act did finally pass on Friday, March 27. Amidst the 880- page bill, on page 171 – new provisions are made for charitable donations.
Some Good News
For 2020 cash gifts to most public charities may qualify under a new 100% of adjusted gross income (AGI) limit increasing the amount you can deduct as a write-off. This Good News is not quite as simple as it sounds with the expected if this, then that caveats that change for each taxpayer.
But, at least for some of us, the opportunity to give and make a difference in today’s trying times may have become more attractive. It is worth investigating.
News That Matters
All around us – family, neighbors, and friends across town have overnight become one of those in need. Community nonprofit organizations provide a critical safety net for families, many who have never needed help in the past.
Through our gifts of time, donations, and wisdom, Americans have built just about the best nonprofit safety net in the world. To keep it strong, we have to keep giving, even if we have less to give.
Where Do I Start? And What Do I Do Next?
I can give now to organizations on the front line, here in my community, down the road from my home, or just across town. I must pay attention to their next newsletter, the on-line request, the article in the newspaper – for more ways that I can help.
We Will Come Out of This
There will be much work to do in the coming months – many to care for. We must give again and again.
Did you catch my drift? If not, it’s worth repeating. We’re Americans. We have built just about the best nonprofit safety net in the world. To keep it strong, we have to keep giving, even if we have less to give. That’s what we do.
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