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Sweet Charity

Despite the economy, Americans’ giving is on the rise.

Charitable giving might mean writing a check to support research to fight a debilitating disease, or it might mean bequeathing money to endow a cultural, religious, or educational institution. But the bottom line is that people give when something is important to them, even in times of economic turmoil.

According to Giving USA, a report compiled annually by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel, in 2010 individuals gave $211.77 billion, representing 73 percent of all contributed dollars. Charitable bequests totaled $22.83 billion, representing an increase of nearly 18.8 percent from the previous year.

Such gifts carry practical benefits for the donor as well as the charity. If you have a 401K retirement account, you must pay taxes on withdrawals (which you must make after reaching the age of 70-and-a-half). But if you contribute those dollars to a legally established nonprofit organization, neither you nor the organization pays any taxes on the gift. That means your contribution is larger and can accomplish more than it would if you were making it in “after tax” dollars. Donations to meaningful causes also make wonderful holiday gifts or a touching remembrance of someone you have lost.

Here are some ways to make your charitable contributions count for students and educators in public schools:

The NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship supports NEA Student members with financial assistance to achieve their educational goals and fulfill their dream of becoming a teacher. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, your check or money order MUST be made out to the NEA Foundation* (please write Jack Kinnaman Fund in the memo line). Contributions are accepted year-round, and should be addressed to: NEA-Retired Office, Suite 410, 1201 16th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20036.

* The NEA Foundation is a 501c organization.

The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, is the largest and most effective national political committee working to elect candidates who will fight to safeguard and strengthen public education for American students. Just as the NEA Fund relies on small contributions from thousands of members, the NEA candidate recommendation process is driven by NEA membership. NEA never recommends or endorses a candidate for federal office without the support of State Association leaders. Learn more at (PAC donations are not tax deductible.)

The NEA Foundation partners with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. To date, the NEA Foundation has invested more than $9 million in its signature, district-based Closing the Achievement Gaps Initiative, and has awarded more than 2,400 grants totaling over $7 million to individual and teams of public school educators to support and share ideas to strengthen teaching and learning. You can help us help educators. Get started at

The National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN) provides important health and safety services, programs, and materials to NEA members and the students they serve. NEA HIN depends on support from outside sources and would be very grateful for your consideration. Please see the Donations Page on the NEA HIN website, or call Bette Simpson in the NEA HIN office at 202-822-7783 for more information. 

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