The IRS, charitable organizations, and investing in America's youth

When all else is lost, the future still remains — Bovee

Is the United States jeopardizing the future of its most populous group — young people under the age of 30 — by squandering resources rather than investing in young people? In my opinion, yes.

The Census Bureau projects a U.S. population of 439 million in 2050, which is a 46 percent increase from 2007 (301.3 million). Currently, population growth is fastest among
minorities as a whole, and according to the Census Bureau’s estimation for 2005, 45 percent of American children under the age of five belonged to minority groups.

In 2011, the United States had a total resident population of 312,833,000, making it the third most populous country in the world. People under 20 years of age make up over a quarter of the United States population (27.3 percent), and people age 65 and over make up one-eighth (12.8 percent) in 2009. The national median age was 36.8 years.

SFPOA’s Community Services Committee
The San Francisco Police Officers Association and its members invest their time, money and they volunteer many man hours working with local youth organizations. The SPFPOA’s Community Services Committee donates money to many of the youth groups and organizations.

In January, I interviewed Chairman Martin “Marty” Halloran of the San Francisco Police Officers Association’s Community Services Committee. Chairman Halloran is also a board member and Treasurer of the San Francisco Police Officers Association. Sergeant Halloran is a 22-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department.

Halloran told me that the San Francisco Police Officers Association Community Services Committee was created in 1994 as a Federal Tax Exempt 501(c)3 organization. The Community Services Committee has twelve board members from district stations and from investigative units. Gary Delagnes, President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association and Kevin Martin, Vice President of the SFPOA in addition to Chairman Martin Halloran are the only members of the Community Services Committee who also serve on the San Francisco Police Officers Association board of directors.

The purpose of the Community Services Committee is to provide funding to youth and social service organizations that its officer members are actively participating. Community programs such as the Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Wilderness Program receive regular and substantial financial support from the Community Services Committee Fund. For many years, the Police Athletic League (PAL) has funded many youth programs from football, baseball, basketball, softball and an array of other youth sports and recreational activities throughout San Francisco.

In the early 1970’s, this writer was a youth participant in the PAL Raiders football team at Portola Park Playground in the Inner Silver District neighborhood. The recreation center and sports field have since been renamed Palega Playground. It is the money from the Community Services Committee fund that has made it possible for San Francisco youths to engage in extra-curricular activities that teach responsibility, cooperation, build team work, and develop character by learning fair play and a sense of community.

Chairman Halloran told me that the Community Services Committee receives its funding from approximately three sources. First, people make charitable donations to the CSC fund. Second, police members contribute by choosing automatic payroll deductions for the Community Services Committee fund. And, finally TBS Productions is an independent contractor that raises money for the Community Services Committee fund. Marty Halloran said that TBS Productions is a commercial fundraiser that is located in the East Bay and it gives 20 percent of the money that it raises to the Community Services Committee fund.

In December 1999, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer produced a report entitled, “Attorney General’s Summary of Results of Charitable Solicitation by Commercial Fundraisers.” In that report it was noted the term “commercial fundraiser” refers generally to a person or corporation that is a for-profit business who contracts with charities for compensation, to raise money in the charity’s name. The commercial fundraiser usually makes a profit by charging a flat fee or a percentage of the contributions collected in the charity’s name. However, it is important that in 1998 most of the 80,000 charities registered with the Attorney General in California do not use commercial fundraisers to raise funds.

I asked Chairman Halloran how do you go about to distribute money to youth groups from the Community Services Committee fund. Does a youth or service organization have to be a 501(c)3 charitable organization to receive funding? The short answer is no. Marty told me that the twelve member Community Services Committee board prefers that a party requesting funds be an existing 501(c)3 organization. And, that the organization is providing outreach services to San Francisco youths. The Community Services Committee looks very favorably on donating money to youth organizations where its police members are involved in and working with kids.

The Community Services Committee will accept a letter, e-mails or other methods of communication to its board for smaller funding requests. If a larger amount is requested, say $1,000 or more, the person and/or the organization must make a presentation before the full San Francisco Police Officers Association and Community Services Committee board of directors.

This writer did make a presentation on behalf of his 501(c)3 Girls 2000/Hunters Point Family non-profit foundation to the SFPOA and CSC board on December 14, 2011 for our Children’s Christmas Party fundraiser. The board was very generous and donated $2,500 to our organization. We were able to purchase fifty $50.00 gift certificates for our children to give as Christmas gifts. Please see our web site

The IRS and Charitable Organizations
Publication 526 Charitable Contributions is the Department of the Treasury or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information bulletin that explains how to claim a tax deduction for your charitable contributions.

The writer of this article is not a tax-expert or a tax preparer. So, any information provided on charitable contributions should be corroborated and reviewed by your professional CPA or tax preparer. The Internal Revenue Service noted that “To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. The amount of your deduction may be limited if certain rules and limits explained in Publication 526 apply to you.” I am providing lists for a quick check of contributions that you can or cannot deduct.

Deductible as Charitable Contributions
Money or property you give to:

Churches, synagogues, temples mosques, and other religious organizations
Federal, state, and local Governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce public debt)
Nonprofit schools and hospitals
Public parks and recreation facilities
Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc.
• War veterans’ groups
Charitable organizations listed in Publication 78
• Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization
Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer

Not Deductible As Charitable Contributions
Money or property you give to:

Civic leagues, social and sports clubs, labor unions, and chamber of commerce
Foreign organizations (except certain Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican charities)
Groups that run for personal profit
Groups whose purpose is to lobby for law changes
Homeowners’ associations
Political groups or candidates for public office
Cost of raffle, bingo, or lottery tickets
Dues, fees, or bills paid to country clubs, lodges, fraternal orders, or similar groups
Value of your time of services
Value of blood given to a blood bank

Police Officers and Charitable Non-Profits
Law enforcement officers have a long history of working with various charitable non-profits and community organizations which share the mission of improving the lives of individuals, families, communities, and society.

In 2011, the San Francisco Police and San Francisco Firefighter’s “Toys for Tots” program gave over 10,000 toys to children in need for Christmas. It is this writer’s hope that the police and law enforcement personnel will continue to work with charitable non-profits and other community organizations to forge a better working relationship with these groups for the betterment of society. And, conversely, these charitable non-profits will also be more cooperative in working with the local police.

I salute our dedicated police and firefighters for their personal commitment to serve the public and act in a benevolent capacity beyond their prescribed job duties. It is clear that Police Officers whose motto is to “serve and protect” its citizens also extends to investing in America’s future, our youth.

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