Fiscal Cliff Could Hurt Local Charities

By: Lauren Squires Email
By: Lauren Squires Email

On the eve of the Christmas holiday, many people are getting last minute prep done for Tuesday. Many local charities are anxiously awaiting a decision in Washington on the fiscal cliff because it could have an impact on charitable donations.

It didn't take much to smile Monday at Open Door Mission. Santa stopped by to visit and give residents like Jason Knapp a Christmas present.

“Having somebody that gives you a present makes you forget about where you're at for awhile. It makes you feel human again,” said Knapp.

It's a small gift that goes a long way.

“If I wasn't here I’d be out on the streets probably under a bridge,” said Knapp.

He says thanks to the resources and services he received here, he is turning his life around.

“I’ve been working myself into being better than I was, getting back on my feet. Being here it's nice. It's a nice facility. It's warm, you get three meals, hot shower, hot meals, beds to sleep in,” said Knapp.

And it all runs thanks to generous donations from the community.

“The generosity of the community is phenomenal. I've been here 18 years we've never gone without,” said CEO Candace Gregory.

But all of that could change, as the fiscal cliff is threatening tax deductible gifts.

“This could change rapidly. I rely heavily on the generosity of individuals in the community. And if that changes on January 1st I’m hoping that people will still be donating without the motivation for a tax deductible gift,” said Gregory.

Across the country, non-profits are threatened, fearing that people will donate less if the deduction is taken away.

But Monday at the Open Door Mission, everything stopped for a moment.

“It feels good getting a gift from somebody that doesn't know me,” said Knapp. “Although I would kind of like to know them so I could give them a thank you.”

Some donors are trying to beat the possible tax changes by donating more this year. Cutting charitable deductions could save $50-billion a year in tax breaks.

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