By Mark Buescher, C.P.A.
This week I thought I would shift away from the recent writings of year-end tax and financial planning and discuss another important topic: The Madison County United Way.
You may ask, what does Madison’s United Way campaign have to do with business within our community, or income tax for that matter. Of course, the latter is self-explanatory. Your contributions to the United Way are fully tax deductible. Someone who makes a $125 contribution and is in the 31% tax bracket, for example, gets a $39 tax deduction. The United Way and its many community charities benefit by the additional $125 revenue, but your net out of pocket is only $86. Not a bad deal.
But much more importantly than the tax benefits, is the “good” the United Way does for our Madison Community. What’s good for our overall community is good for the business community as well. As our community prospers and our citizens are elevated to higher standards, everyone prospers.
As Madison’s quality of life is enhanced, we all benefit, particularly those in need. The way I see it, supporting the United Way, whether it is through your gifts of money or time, is like supporting motherhood and apple pie. It’s a win-win situation.
The United Way makes a real impact here in Madison County. The non-profit organization combines your gift with hundreds of others and then focuses these donations to have a measurable impact on key concerns within our community. Last year, over twenty three local charities benefited, helping children, youth and adults achieve their full potential, improving people’s health, or promoting financial stability and independence.
For example, Consolidated Christian Ministries provided over 125,000 pounds of food and meals to an average of 572 families per month right here in Madison County. The Boys and Girls Club at Tabula Rosa, Greenville, last year served 400 youth in Madison County through its Project Literacy (one of its many programs) at school sites in Lee, Pinetta, Greenville and Madison.
The Senior Citizens Council of Madison served nearly 420 persons, sixty and older, who may be frail, socially isolated, medically inclined, low income, or even homebound. Their support through meals on site, medical transportation, companionship, health support, and many other services greatly enhanced the quality of life of the elderly in our community. All three of these organizations, to name just a few, would not be able to provide the current level of support and care without the United Way.
Last year, our United Way exceeded their goal of $115,000 by raising over $121,000 in local funds. In fact, the Madison United Way raised more money per capita than any other county in the eight county Big Bend United Way area. But better yet, since the Madison County United Way is a member of the Big Bend United Way regional area and receives the benefit of some combined corporate gifts. We actually received nearly $125,000 in funds which were allocated to local charities. Through this combined effort, the Madison County United Way was actually able to allocate over 100% of funds raised to local charities.
Another interesting point that is worthwhile mentioning is that many of these charities received matching donations from other charities, foundations, grant programs or even through Federal and State programs. In other words, for every dollar contributed, some of the charities benefited by receiving two or three times the amount from other outside sources. Again, not a bad deal.
This past summer, I had the honor and the privilege to serve on Madison’s United Way allocation committee. After reviewing financial data and listening to formal presentations from twenty-three local charities, we were able to make wise and prudent decisions on how to best allocate the funds to these very worthwhile charities. The process was a humbling experience and definitely an eye opener. After the experience of serving on the committee, I can definitely say that every dollar contributed is well spent.
The United Way is local, is accountable, and efficient. Funds raised here in the Madison area stay right here to address local issues. Local stakeholders decide which programs receive funds and ensure that funded programs have measurable outcomes. And of course, its definitely efficient. Local volunteers help conduct the campaign, making administrative costs practically non-existent. The campaign benefits greatly from the efforts of dedicated volunteers such as Willy Gamalero, Cathy Bass, Howard Phillips, Vicki Howerton, Jackie Johnson, and many, many other dedicated individuals.
When you contribute to the United Way of Madison County, you invest in the future of our community. You are helping more than just one person or charity – you are changing community conditions that create lasting results. The 23 charities of the United Way need your help. Live United. Give to the United Way.
Mark Buescher, CPA is owner and principal of Buescher and Ruff, LLC, a local full service accounting firm in Madison, specializing in tax preparation, business consulting and tax planning.
SUPPORTING MADISON’S UNITED WAY IS GOOD BUSINESS
By Mark Buescher, C.P.A.