Editorial: Charities see funding shortfall, look for help from Holiday Fund


Fifteen local nonprofits will benefit from this year's Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund -- up three from a year ago. Yet contributions are falling behind. As of Dec. 12, donations total $38,446, lagging behind the more than $50,000 given by this time in 2017.

That's in step with a trend we see nationally as charities find it's a tough time to attract donors because of the sweeping tax code changes Congress passed last year.

That tax reform law doubled the standard deduction that taxpayers could take on their taxes, raising it to $12,000 for individuals, $18,000 for heads of household and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly and surviving spouses.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the law will slash the number of people who itemize their charitable contributions by more than half to 16 million. These are expected to include many in the income groups found in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley who formerly found tax relief by itemizing their charitable contributions.

A report by Michael Nilsen of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, broadcast on the CBS network program "Moneywatch," stated that research shows giving this year dropping anywhere from $13 billion to $20 billion.

"That's a very significant impact," Nilsen said, "and a lot of charities are redoubling their efforts on ensuring that their current donors continue their traditional levels of giving, reaching out and keeping those relationships strong."

So are we.

Community campaigns such as the Holiday Fund are expected to play a major role in the contributions that these nonprofits need in the year ahead. In talks before the Pleasanton City Council, on TV30 public television, at local service organizations, in the media and in letters to former donors, we are urging everyone to help the 15 charitable organizations recognized for the service in our community.

The ValleyCare Charitable Foundation is one of those 15. It provides ongoing funding of our local hospital and its innovative medical programs. In 2015, the hospital affiliated with Stanford to become Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare, adding globally renowned expertise to its local offerings. The hospital's foundation remains an independent nonprofit, reliant on donations, including the $9,899 from last year's Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.

"Our goal is to foster and protect the lifeline between the people of the Tri-Valley and the compassionate, personalized, and quality medical services that enhance the greater community," said the foundation's executive director, Shaké Sulikyan. "Donations make a significant and life-changing difference in the lives of our patients."

Patients like "Dave," a 30-year-old who was rushed to Stanford-ValleyCare with an infection inside his heart. Using a new, state-of-the-art 3D ultrasound machine used for echocardiology (echo) that was funded through donations, doctors determined that there was no heart damage. The patient was treated medically with no need for invasive open-heart surgery.

Other nonprofits that will benefit from 2018 Holiday Fund donations are: Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Axis Community Health, CityServe of the Tri-Valley, Hope Hospice, Museum on Main, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, Pleasanton Military Families, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, Sunflower Hill, Tri-Valley REACH and Valley Humane Society.

For information on how to contribute, check out our donation form online here. All donations will be acknowledged in print shortly after being received.

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