“For 100 years, the Charitable Tax Deduction has been a landmark institution that exemplifies the charitable spirit of Americans. Protecting this deduction and expanding it to the greatest number of people possible encourages charitable giving by all socioeconomic levels. We are greatly disappointed that the final tax reform bill failed to protect and expand this deduction to recognize the impact of charitable gifts, regardless of size, to support those most vulnerable in American society and worldwide,” said Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, OSF, President/CEO of NCDC.
The House and Senate have released their final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is expected to go to final vote this week. A number of provisions in the bill are expected to prove detrimental to the charitable sector, including:
The National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) released the following statement upon the passage of the Senate tax reform bill.
Tax reform has been the top issue for charities this week. We have now reached a critical point where the future of charitable giving is at risk and we need your help in protecting the future of our missions.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) released the following statement upon the release of the House Republican tax reform bill, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has invited the public to submit recommendations on "providing much-needed tax relief to middle-class individuals . . . and reforms to the individuals income-tax system."
St. Mary’s School, Anytown USA
St. Mary’s Catholic School was formed in 1955 as the baby boom in Anytown was just hitting its stride. In the last decade, St. Mary’s has seen year over year declining enrollment, school closings in nearby dioceses, vastly changed demographics with an aging and increasingly diverse population, competitive public schools funded by a community willing to invest tax dollars in education.. The School’s Board, and Parish leadership have never commissioned a market study nor inventoried the School’s strengths and weaknesses within its competitive environment. Faced with a 10% enrollment decline for the upcoming school year, the Board commissions an internal needs assessment and an external competitive assessment, funded by a loyal donor and devout parishioner.
St. Mary’s Part 2
The school has not conducted a parent survey in the last decade and has never surveyed their philanthropic supporters, whose numbers are in decline. St. Mary’s has no information on how it is viewed in Anytown as a member of the educational community, nor how parishioners feel about Catholic education. The needs assessment shows deteriorating infrastructure, below-par teacher pay, and technological obsolescence both absolutely and relative to public schools. The Board chair, principal and pastor approach Anytown’s Acme Communications for pro bono survey assistance. The Board chair and principal jointly convene a series of “listening evenings” for current parents, parents of students who have withdrawn, alumni and supporters past and current.
St. Mary’s Part 3
Facilitated by both a communications and a fundraising counsel, the Board and the Parish Council of the parish, together with hand-selected parents and donors, hold a half-day retreat to consider the results of the research and surveys. The objective of the retreat is to develop a concrete and honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses and to develop a realistic and concrete approach to re-articulating the value of the school in the eyes of prospective parents, Catholics in the community, and potential funders. Based on that analysis, the Board chair and principal then extend the meeting for two hours with the facilitators to equally examine the strengths and weaknesses of potential communications and funding prospects within the school’s existing or potential leadership community. Knowing what to do, whether in terms of communications or fundraising, will not suffice unless the “who” of leadership is sufficiently strong.
St. Mary’s Part 4
The leadership analysis reveals extreme weakness in voices who could speak to the new demographic in the parish and the community. The Board has no term limits, and the average age of Board members is 58. The average age of the Parish Council is 66. The Pastor is 68 and will submit his resignation as required by the diocese in 2 years. None of the leaders speaks a language other than English, although several Parish Council members declare they have visited Central America, and one points out that he was in the Peace Corps in Africa in 1975. The principal begins combing through parent and former parent lists. The Board chair forms a communications and fundraising advisory group of three Board members and five outsiders.
St. Mary’s Part 5
The school identifies 6 individuals of diverse backgrounds who provide credibility to the case for Catholic education in general and St. Mary’s specifically. Three are Hispanic, one is Asian, all are under the age of 55. Two are corporate executives. Three are existing donors; one of the others has giving capacity but has never made a gift. Of the remaining two, one is a stay-at-home Mom, and the other is an alumna now in the PhD program at Notre Dame on a full scholarship. The Board chair and principal convene the advisory group and the spokes persons to get messaging clear and develop a communications plan. Donors are a critical target audience.
St. Mary’s Part 6
Just as these meetings are taking place, the Anytown Unified School District announces that 3 of its 4 elementary schools have been declared Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, and that 98.4% of its graduating high school class will be attending college. 20% of seniors have been accepted into the top 50 colleges in the nation. The principal turns again to Anytown’s Acme Communications for help. The Pastor announces a Novena for education beginning this Sunday after the noon Mass. But the fundraising counsel throws down a challenge to Catholic wealth: this is about winning a Blue Ribbon for Catholic community as well as a Blue Ribbon for educational excellence.
St. Mary’s Part 7
O’Malley sets up a calendar of media interviews for the spokespersons. The graphics arts department of St. Joseph’s College, where many St. Mary’s alum are admitted, volunteers to make the school’s collateral material a two-week project, and the principal begins to organize a series of visible outreach meetings with companies and nonprofits in the area. The school organizes its firms Alumni Association, building on the Catholic Alumni Partnership model, and three Catholic high net worth graduates step forward to chair the first-ever St. Mary’s Wings of Angels Gala. The Admissions office fields ten calls of inquiry, 6 of them in Spanish.