Giving in trying times offers an opportunity


Last week we asked our readers to support local merchants during these especially trying economic times by buying locally whenever possible during their holiday shopping.

If we could be so bold, we’d like to ask you to dig a little deeper into that pocketbook.

Numbers indicate charitable organizations are having a tough go of it lately, with some seeing drops in donations by as much as 30 percent. Their assets haven’t performed much better thanks to all those down arrows in the stock market.

It’s obviously a difficult time to be asking prospective donors for contributions, when donors themselves are seeing similar drops in their bottom line. The expression “give ‘til it hurts” is taking on extra meaning this year.

But we live in an area rich in both assets and charitable spirit, especially in the coverage area of this newspaper. Your past generosity has done wondrous things in the lives of numerous adults and children in our community and has kept our top-notch local organizations at the forefront of philanthropy.

It might seem a little crass to include this note, but it’s always a little easier giving knowing your dollars not only go to a worthy cause, but also help when April 15 rolls around.

As an example, as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, Congress passed a two-year extension of Charitable IRA legislation first enacted for 2006 and 2007.

The act permits individuals age 70 1/2 and older to roll over up to $100,000 from an individual retirement account (IRA) directly to a qualifying charity without recognizing the assets as income. Also, donations charged to a credit card by Dec. 31 are deductible for 2008 even if the bill is paid in 2009.

But enough with the nuts and bolts of giving - it’s the holidays, a great time to fill your hearts with the spirit of generosity.

As Christie Wilson, executive director of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation alluded to in an accompanying article in this issue: Givers have perhaps more of an ability to make an impact this year than any year in recent memory.

Sounds like a great opportunity to us.