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Lankford Shares Support from Nonprofit Community for His Non-Itemized Charitable Deduction

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) shared numerous statements of support from prominent nonprofit groups across the country, who are calling for the extension of his non-itemized charitable tax deduction, previously allowed under the CARES Act, in the bicameral tax agreement announced earlier this week, known as the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act. The bill is being marked up today in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Yesterday, Lankford and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) released their statements of support for the inclusion of the non-itemized charitable deduction’s inclusion in the tax package.

Here’s What They Are Saying…

The Charitable Giving Coalition
“The Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC) is disappointed to learn that the bipartisan tax framework agreed upon by lead tax writers yesterday did not include a restoration of the charitable deduction for generous lower- and middle-income Americans who do not itemize on their taxes, “ said Brian Flahaven, Chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition, in a press release. “Amid a climate of declining charitable giving—which reverberates in food banks, houses of worship, and innumerable other charitable organizations across the nation – it is more important than ever that we advance policies that encourage Americans to give more.

“The CGC has worked for years to protect and strengthen the charitable deduction and to expand access to the deduction to all taxpayers. Most recently, more than 1,000 charitable and nonprofit organizations from every state in the Union joined the CGC letter to Congress calling for the restoration and expansion of the deduction.

“Although a universal charitable deduction was not included in the initial draft of this tax bill, we remain fully engaged and hopeful lawmakers will acknowledge the importance of this provision to nonprofits and the communities they serve – that is, by ensuring a generous charitable deduction for non-itemizers is included in the final package.”

National Council of Nonprofits

“It is heartening that tax writers have come together with a bipartisan package of tax provisions to help support families, businesses, and individuals, “ said Tim Delaney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “Yet the vital tax incentive for charitable giving – that was allowed to expire at the end of 2021 – so far is absent from this important legislation. The charitable nonprofit sector is constantly called on by families, businesses, and communities to improve the wellbeing of others, but donations to do so are down; tax relief is urgently needed.  We join with our colleagues from across the country in calling on Representatives and Senators to insist on restoration of the non-itemizer (universal) charitable deduction as a component of tax legislation that is enacted by Congress.”

YMCA

“The YMCA, like all community-based nonprofits, would benefit greatly from the renewal of the Universal Charitable Deduction for non-itemizers,” said Suzanne McCormick, YMCA of the USA President and CEO. “This deduction helps to create a culture of charitable giving, which is especially important at a time when giving and the number of donors are declining. YMCAs and other nonprofits need the financial resources that would be generated by the non-itemizer deduction proposed in the Charitable Act to meet growing and changing community needs.”

Independent Sector
“It is encouraging to see progress on key priorities for families, but any tax legislation must not leave behind the people and communities who rely on charitable services. Donations continue to lag and there is deep bipartisan support for restoring the charitable deduction for every American. Our communities are counting on Congress to act on this critical need,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and CEO of Independent Sector.

The Nonprofit Alliance

“The Nonprofit Alliance strongly recommends that Congress include the bipartisan legislation of Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE) in any new tax package,” said Shannon McCracken, CEO of The Nonprofit Alliance. “Today, only the wealthiest 9% of Americans itemize and claim a tax deduction for their charitable giving. Meanwhile, nonprofit organizations continue to see a decline in middle-income donors, accelerating their dependency on fewer, higher-income households. A charitable giving tax incentive that is available to all Americans, regardless of income level, will support and sustain a more equitable social good sector.

Faith & Giving

“Faith & Giving is disappointed that the vital charitable deduction for lower- and middle-income Americans who do not itemize was not included in the initial bipartisan proposal tax writers released yesterday,” said Brian Walsh, Faith & Giving Executive Director. “Congress enacted a non-itemizer deduction for 2020 and 2021, and research organizations including the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) have documented the deduction’s effectiveness in incentivizing giving.

“Charitable gifts by individuals are the financial lifeblood of innumerable congregations and faith-based charities in every community in every state. Unfortunately, in recent years only approximately one in ten taxpaying Americans—in general, those in the highest income brackets—has received the charitable deduction’s giving incentive.

“A generous charitable deduction for non-itemizers must be restored to counter the broad and destructive headwinds undermining charitable giving and to ensure that federal law and policy again communicate that generous giving by all taxpayers—regardless of their income level—is a core American value.”

Goodwill Industries International
“Goodwill Industries International supports the extension of the charitable giving expansion included in the CARES Act,“ said Steven C. Preston, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “At a time when the nonprofit sector is seeing an increased need for programs while funds are tightening, Congress should do everything in its power to incentivize giving. Donors are vital to our ability to fulfill our mission of providing workforce development and job training services.”

Association of Fundraising Professionals

“On behalf of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and our more than 27,000 fundraising professional members that raise more than $100 billion annually for charities, we strongly urge Congress to renew and extend the charitable deduction for non-itemizers that has expired as reflected in the bipartisan Charitable Act (S. 566/H.R. 3435),” said Mike Geiger, President and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “According to data compiled by AFP’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project, the number of small donations went up in 2020 and 2021 after Congress enacted a universal charitable deduction but then small-gift donors collapsed in 2022 after the temporary universal charitable deduction was not renewed. Our latest data collected through the third quarter of 2023 found that fundraising dollars continued to decrease and those considered “micro donors” ($1-$100) decreased the most. We join with the more than 1,000 local charities that have expressed support for the Charitable Act in asking Congress to include the non-itemizer (universal) charitable deduction as a component of any tax legislation being enacted by Congress.”

Council on Foundations


“Charitable giving incentives encourage philanthropic activity for all Americans,” said Kathleen Enright, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “As nonprofits are increasingly called to address more of our country’s issues with fewer resources, we can support them and reward generosity at the same time. The non-itemizer (universal) charitable deduction makes this possible. We urge lawmakers to restore the deduction as part of the bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act.”

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

“It’s time to bring back the universal charitable deduction, which data shows was clearly a success,” said Michael Martin, President & CEO of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). “The government should honor and encourage the generosity of all charitable givers regardless of whether they itemize on their tax forms or not.”

National Association of Evangelicals


“Thank you for your support for the agreement, announced yesterday, to strengthen the child tax credit and reinstate expired business tax credits,” said Walter Kim, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, in a letter leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives. “This will strengthen American families, reduce child poverty and spur business innovation leading to greater prosperity.

“As you work to incorporate these provisions into an appropriate legislative vehicle, please also include the provisions of a related bill that would complement and enhance the effectiveness of this agreement. The bipartisan Charitable Act (S 566/HR 3435) would strengthen charitable giving and the nonprofit organizations and houses of worship that play a vital role in upholding the health of our communities, by providing an above-the-line deduction for non-itemizing taxpayers who make charitable contributions. In a time of flat or declining charitable giving, and continued inflation, this reform is critical to the continued success and effectiveness of our nation’s charities. If it is not possible to provide the full deduction proposed in the Charitable Act (one-third of the standard deduction), please include at least a down payment toward that goal.”

Association of Art Museum Directors


“With art museums relying on charitable gifts for about one-third of their operating budgets, we thank Senators Lankford and Coons and their colleagues for introducing the Charitable Act. Inclusion of a universal charitable deduction in the forthcoming tax package will help us continue to serve children and families, caregivers, and educators in Oklahoma, Delaware, and across the nation,” said Christine Anagnos, Executive Director of the Association of Art Museum Directors.

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