Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc. www.childharness.ca
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Monday, 14 March 2011

Charitable donations. Who gets my money

First of all, regardless of who makes the charitable donation, apply the tax receipts against the person in your household with the largest income. For example, if the receipts are in your name but your spouse has the larger income, your spouse would claim the charitable donation deduction to reduce their taxable income.

Here ends my income tax advice.

I have 3 charities that I support. The first is the school that my boys attend. Last year when my oldest was in Grade 1 he would come home and talk endlessly about the PASS Room where he would go each recess to sign out a shovel or some other play equipment. He LOVED the PASS Room. I made some enquiries and learned that the PASS Room was actually a safe haven where children with behavioural issues could go during the day to calm down if they were having difficulty coping in the classroom. These children do not have a diagnosis, they are just kids who are not valued by their parents and their behaviour and social development reflects this. The PASS Room was created by the school to address behaviour problems and is supervised by 2 Special Ed qualified teachers. It has desks and cubicles so students who have been removed from their classroom can sit quietly without distraction and complete their work. They also stock healthy snacks for children who are sent to school with little or no food. I donate to the PASS Room at the beginning of each school year and ask that my funds be used to buy books, play equipment, food or anything the children may need.

My church receives a monthly donation. The congregation is small but mighty in it's community outreach. It runs 3 breakfast clubs in 3 large primary schools where 100s of children who would not have breakfast otherwise benefit from a healthy meal served by church volunteers. The Visitation Committee visits shut-ins or people who are too ill to attend church and twice a year they organize a special luncheon at the church and haul everyone in for socializing, a service and a hot meal. Other committees provide support to people in hospital or families in difficult circumstances. When my sister died another committee whipped up sandwiches and had the hall decked out for everyone who attended her service - we didn't have to do a thing. The church committees seem endless and when I think about community impact return for my buck, the men and women who steer these committees stretch my dollars like only church people can.

The third organization I support is Special Olympics - Aurora, Ontario. I wanted to find an organization close to home that worked with people with Down Syndrome who will forever hold a special place in my heart due to my incredible years with my sister. Last year I attended their annual general meeting and I was overwhelmingly impressed by the volunteers, their activities and their community involvement. I know my funds go directly to the athletes and that's very rewarding and reassuring to me.

Chances are good you and everyone you know donates to charity. Some people with a lot of money may donate to the most popular organizations because their donation is more about easing their conscience and getting the tax write off than following the impact of their dollars. But for those of us with only a little extra to spread around, taking a few minutes to shop for a charity that will get the most out of our money is an exercise worth doing. After all, helping as many people as possible should be the priority rather than sending in our hard earned bucks to go toward inflated salaries for executives and catered Christmas parties for staff.

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