Here’s your year-end giving guide

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The end of the year is a time when people often assess their charitable giving and make final donations. 

Regardless if it is for tax reasons or the spirit of the season those choosing to make a year end gift often feel overwhelmed choosing where their gift might make the most impact.  Many resources exist that document the impact of nonprofits and the services they provide. 

The State of Mississippi Secretary of State’s office has a listing of charities registered within Mississippi who file annual reports to document their work. Included in this filing is a breakdown of administrative, program and fundraising expenses.

Nationally there are guides such as Charity Navigator and GiveWell which either rank the impact of organizations or provide data on the financials of the charities.

The New York Times became innovative with their Holiday Giving Guide this year. Instead of focusing on the best holiday gifts the guide encouraged mindfulness and giving to charity as a way to spread joy. Noting that many charitable organizations can recognize your donation in honor of a friend, family member and send a notice of the gift. 

The guide touched on how giving locally creates a connection to your community. That sharing, hearing and spreading the stories of charities doing work that you value can build a network of support.  

Examples of the impact of sharing were highlighted through partnerships with the local media. Communities leveraged their local news to create awareness. The Neediest cases fund was established in 1911 following a reporter covering how social welfare organizations assisted those facing hardship.

The fund has now raised over $320 million by highlighting stories of charities in need who are making an impact.  The Detroit News turned local giving into a competition listing several charities and inviting readers to donate. The charity that raised the most received an additional $20,000 donation.

In our State, the Mississippi Presenters Network, has been hosting an online challenge for residents to nominate their favorite arts and cultural event.

The online call concept was created by a member of the University of Mississippi VISTA team who recognized that many smaller communities did not have the reach to share how COVID has impacted community festivals and events which are major economic and cultural drivers for communities.

The Arts and Culture Challenge invites residents to nominate their favorite event.  The winning event will receive a $250 award from MSPN but all the events will be included in a yearlong promotion to highlight arts and cultural events in Mississippi.

Locally. The Oxford Eagle, Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow and Saint Leo partnered to organize a year end matching gift drive for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.  The Arts Council secured a $750,000 challenge grant to enhance the Powerhouse Community Arts Center providing additional community and education space. 

Each year the Arts Council has to raise dedicated funds to match the gift.  Through a business and community match campaign the Eagle, LOFT and Saint Leo worked to ensure YAC makes their 2021 match.

Community members who donated by Dec 31st would be entered into a drawing for either ads for the business in the Oxford Eagle and Oxford Magazine or a Saint Leo gift card. Donations can be made online at www.oxfordarts.com.

 

Wayne Andrews is chairman of YAC and he writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle.