Skip to main content

Why should you get a tax deduction for your charitable gifts?

Believe it or not, that question is being asked by people in positions of influence. Even by some members of Congress. They aren’t suggesting that charitable gifts should stop. But, they have a few ideas that may surprise you.

For example, David Booth recently made an eye-popping gift of $300 million to the University of Chicago Business School. The school will use the gift to recruit and retain the best faculty members and to expand its research programs. Booth is the founder of Disciplined Growth Investors, the successful investment firm that bases its strategies on what Booth learned as a University of Chicago graduate student. It is no surprise that he chose to make this gift in gratitude and to help the school continue its impressive academic tradition. From investment strategies to medical therapies, the things discovered, taught and learned at the University of Chicago and countless other schools improve life for all of us.

How else could you view this gift? Some look at it and note the large endowment already in place at the University of Chicago. They may focus on the narrow group of business school students and faculty who will directly benefit from the gift, mostly from relatively affluent backgrounds. Then, they may contrast the huge, immediate impact that $300 million could have on a nonprofit organization that provides social services, such as assistance for the homeless.

The idea of prioritizing charitable gifts is gaining ground. Some argue that giving incentives through tax deductions is not necessary for a place like the University of Chicago, which can more easily attract money. Instead, tax deductions should be reserved for others. What’s more, limiting the charitable deduction could be a way to increase revenue for the government.

A few members of Congress are now even referring to charitable gifts as “subsidies” and “earmarks.” This suggests that because the gifts are subject to charitable tax deductions, they have become public money. Public money rightly comes within the control of the government. And at that point, respect for donor intent gives way to the direction of our elected officials.

If this makes you uneasy, it should. We all decide differently about how to make charitable gifts. But, respect for donor intent, regardless which charitable priorities a donor may choose, is fundamental in a democratic society. Donor-advised funds at CFT are a great example of that. When someone else can tell you the priorities for your own charitable giving, it stops being your own charitable giving. And, charitable giving is vital to our country.

That’s why CFT is helping to fund a new economic study about the effect of all charitable dollars. What the study has found is that each $1 invested in a public charity produces an average $8 return in direct and indirect benefits to society. Of course, that includes gifts to social-service agencies, but it also includes the other charities, such as hospitals, schools, and organizations for the environment and the arts. Each effective nonprofit plays an important role in our society. We need to encourage more charitable giving, wherever a donor’s interests may lead—not just to the current priorities in the Congress.

Brent E. Christopher

President and Chief Executive Officer

Read More

  • CFT For Business

    06.26.2019| 9:15 AM - 12:15 PM

    CFT for Business June Volunteer Service Event: Project Transformation North Texas

    CFT for Business member companies and employees: Join us on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – 9:15 am – 12:15 pm to volunteer for Project Transformation North Texas at Grace United Methodist Church. This is a great opportunity to make a difference in the life of children who love reading!

  • CFT For Business

    06.26.2019| 9:15 AM - 12:15 PM

    CFT4B June Volunteer Service Event: Project Transformation North Texas

    CFT for Business member companies and employees: Join us on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – 9:15 am – 12:15 pm to volunteer with Project Transformation North Texas at Grace United Methodist Church. This is a great opportunity to make a difference in the life of children who love reading!

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    06.26.2019| 3:30 pm

    July Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: June 26, July 24, August 28, September 25, October 30 and November 27.

  • CFT For Business

    07.19.2019| 9 am - 12 pm

    CFT for Business July Volunteer Service Event: Dallas Animal Services

    CFT for Business member companies and employees: Join us to volunteer with Dallas Animal Services, the fourth largest dog and cat intake shelter in the country, taking in more than 35,000 pets annually). Volunteers will make enrichment toys for dogs and cats, participate in beautification projects, and provide treats to the animals. 

  • CFT For Business

    07.19.2019| 9 am - 12 pm

    CFT4B July Volunteer Service Event: Dallas Animal Services

    CFT for Business member companies and employees: Join us to volunteer with Dallas Animal Services, the fourth largest dog and cat intake shelter in the country, taking in more than 35,000 pets annually). Volunteers will make enrichment toys for dogs and cats, participate in beautification projects, and provide treats to the animals. 

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    07.24.2019| 3:30 pm

    July Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: July 24, August 28, September 25, October 30 and November 27.

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    08.28.2019| 3:30 pm

    August Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: August 28, September 25, October 30 and November 27.

  • Nonprofits

    08.29.2019| 5 pm

    Fall Grant Application Deadline for Nonprofits

    As part of CFT's fall letter of inquiry (LOI) process, grant funding is available to local nonprofits in in the areas of: community services (social services, veterans, youth), environment, health, and racial equity. There is also a special grant opportunity for organizations who plan to recognize the centennial of the 19th Amendment through events and programs. Applications are now open and are due by 5pm on August 29.

  • Community|Nonprofits|Advisors|Fund Holders|Educate Texas|CFT For Business

    09.19.2019|

    CFT's 11th Annual North Texas Giving Day

    Communities Foundation of Texas’ 11th Annual North Texas Giving Day is the nation's largest 18-hour online community-wide giving event designed to empower every person to give back by supporting any and all of the 2,700 local nonprofits and causes they care about in one easy-to-use platform. During North Texas Giving Day, everyone has the opportunity to be a philanthropist to build a stronger and more vibrant community. Save the date to get up and give!

  • Community|Nonprofits|Advisors|Fund Holders|Educate Texas|CFT For Business

    09.19.2019|

    CFT's 11th Annual North Texas Giving Day

    Communities Foundation of Texas’ 11th Annual North Texas Giving Day is the nation's largest 18-hour online community-wide giving event designed to empower every person to give back by supporting any and all of the 2,700 local nonprofits and causes they care about in one easy-to-use platform. During North Texas Giving Day, everyone has the opportunity to be a philanthropist to build a stronger and more vibrant community. Save the date to get up and give!

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    09.25.2019| 3:30 pm

    September Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: September 25, October 30 and November 27.

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    10.30.2019| 3:30 pm

    October Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: October 30 and November 27.