We often meet with potential and current clients who say they want to give to causes they care about and to implement a more formal charitable giving approach compared to what they’ve done in the past.
This past spring, I completed my capstone course at Bentley University, which consisted of writing a grant for a nonprofit organization in the Waltham area. My classmates and I worked with three incredible nonprofits, including an organization called Africano. Africano serves the local Ugandan immigrant community in Waltham by providing after-school tutoring, community outreach, and cultural enrichment. Their mission is “to lift African immigrant youth and their families to succeed in life through educational assistance, visual and performing arts, and cultural connections.”
I hope that by describing a cause that I find interesting and important, it may generate some ideas of your own in finding nonprofits you’d like to support.
The first step was finding a grantor who would be interested in funding the proposed project. Africano’s project is a financial literacy program to teach the Ugandan community in Waltham about investing, budgeting, taxes, and saving strategies. We described the opportunity of free training on financial topics to help Africano members make informed, confident decisions with their finances. If awarded, it will cover the costs of a curriculum and an instructor who understands the cultural complexities that Africano members face with their finances.
This is just one way to give back to the community, but once you start looking, you’ll find that there are many ways to get involved: volunteer your time or resources (such as food or supplies), participate in fundraisers, plant a tree, or recycle. Volunteer Match is a website that helps you find opportunities to volunteer depending on your location and interests.
From a tax perspective, this year we can deduct $300 for making charitable donations without having to itemize. For those who are married and file jointly, you can take a $300 deduction each, for a total of $600. In addition, expenses related to volunteering, such as gas for your car, can be deducted. Just make sure you are donating to a 501(c)(3) organization, and that you keep track and document those contributions. Read more about tax deductions for charitable donations or volunteering here.
At Africano, they believe that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world and financial literacy is obviously important to me! That is why they are a nonprofit I support. To choose the right charity for you, research who the charity serves and connect it back with what you care about. Search for up-to-date nonprofit data on websites like Guide Star and learn about their financial health and commitment to transparency and accountability. Keep reading for tips on choosing a charity.
Katerina Logrono is a Paraplanner at Willow Planning Group, LLC. She is primarily responsible for supporting you in reaching your personal financial goals. Katerina loves exploring new places while helping you live your adventure too!