Posted April 1st, 1998

In The News…

Giving to medical causes sees healthy increase

Wealthy donors who have had a personal brush with serious illness are reportedly rethinking how to best use their fortunes. Many wealthy donors are now making large gifts to health causes as a result of their own life-threatening illnesses. Some donors “quietly admit that they hope to buy a little more time for themselves and their kin by underwriting scientists whose advances might translate into greater personal longevity.”

Regardless of the reasons behind the gifts, private donations to health-related causes have increased 40% since 1991, making this the fastest-growing sector of giving. Donations to healthcare totaled $13.9 billion in 1996.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 1998

“High-profile” donor makes unusual request

When millionaire Evelyn Davis made a $100,000 gift to Duke University, there were strings attached–not only did she want a plaque bearing her name placed on campus, but the plaque must be kept polished and in a prominent spot. The unusual stipulation associated with Ms. Davis’s gift is one to which Duke, as well as other recipients such as Northwestern and Penn State, has agreed.

Owner of stock in more than 110 companies and editor and publisher of a corporate business newsletter since 1965, Ms. Davis said, “I’m a high-profile person, and I want high-profile plaques.” To make sure her plaque at Duke measures up to her standards, Ms. Davis plans to drop in for unannounced visits. And after her death, Ms. Davis has arranged for her executor to check up annually on all of her plaques to assure that they are shiny and visible.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 23, 1998

Charitable deductions increased in 1995

According to Internal Revenue Service statistics, the total amount claimed on tax returns for charitable deductions rose 6.3% to $75 billion in 1995, up from $70.5 billion in 1994.

The average charitable deduction contribution claimed per return rose from $2,363 in 1994 to $2,455 in 1995. Ten years before in 1985, the average charitable contribution deduction per return was $1,326.

The number of persons who itemized their charitable contributions increased 2.3% from 29.8 million to 30.5 million. This increase, combined with a 4% increase in the average amount deducted, resulted in the total increase of 6% in itemized contributions. This information underscores the importance of reminding donors to make gifts before year-end in order to qualify for full tax benefits this year.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 29, 1998

The publisher of Give & Take is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Give & Take may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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