Capping charitable tax deductions will hurt nonprofits

Very disturbing news was released by the White House last week. President Obama has put into motion a bill that would cap the tax deduction on individual donations to nonprofits.  Really? This is how he proposes to keep us from falling off the fiscal cliff?  A little short-sighted, I should say.

Presently, philanthropists are entitled to a 35 percent tax deduction on charitable donations. Obama wants to cap donations from wealthy individuals to 28 percent -- and this is at a time when the government has frozen money for cancer research.  

Individual donors account for the vast majority of all charitable giving -- corporations only contribute a small percentage. The private sector is our lifeline! One blogger shared an interesting opinion: Previous Presidents viewed the nonprofit world as partners. This administration sees them as competition! And this issue is being supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

When you suck the blood out of nonprofits, who gets hurt? Real people. Sick people. Communities. Children. Those who need services that the government does not provide. My foundation is small but mighty. How would we be affected? We would have a lot less money to put into groundbreaking research for women's cancers.

Being smaller gives us the opportunity to really target our grants to research that has the ability to provide a quick turn-around. For instance, we found a research project at UCLA that was developing a new drug which would be less toxic than chemo -- and would directly target tumors. Pfizer then agreed to take over the development of this drug and committed $190 million to get it through clinical trials and fast-track it for approval by the FDA.

This drug is performing beyond expectations. It is targeting breast cancer tumors, and because the side effects are minimal, quality of life is greatly improved. The hope is that this drug will be available to the public within a year.

There are 200 nonprofits in Washington right now, meeting with lawmakers to make their case for defeating this bill. I will be in Washington this week doing the same.

So, what can you do? Call and write to your representatives in the House and Senate and tell them that you do not approve of the capping of the tax break for individuals donating to charitable causes. Be forceful and determined.

Why should we be punished for the government's budget debacle? Maybe the smartest thing would be to dock the pay of the men and women who are doing such a lousy job representing us.