San Antonio nonprofits need beyond seasonal giving

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The holidays are the biggest season in nonprofit fundraising. Almost half of charities receive 30% to 60% of their annual contributions between October and December, according to last year's AFP Holiday Giving Survey. Most nonprofits are mailing out that end-of-year giving appeal envelope disguised in a holiday card or letter. Corporations and businesses dutifully take on charitable projects and make their tax-deductible donations to their designated charity of choice. But, as the economy continues to falter and everyone's portion of the giving pie is shrinking, it could mean less donation dollars. In addition, there's a possibility Congress will reduce the income tax deduction for charitable donations for individuals with annual incomes of more than $200,000 and couples with more than $250,000. My question is--does this flurry of seasonal giving actually make a difference or just assuage our conscience for another year? I say it takes more than a once-a-year effort to address the problems that plague us. It takes consistent support of nonprofits all year long, especially those which are working on solutions to San Antonio's major problems--high school incompletion, teen pregnancy, poverty, and hunger. Individuals and businesses need to advocate, as well as volunteer and donate to programs that try to solve our problems at the root. Below are a few examples of organizations in our city who are offering solutions, some of which I'll highlight over the next year. Excel Beyond the Bell is a collaboration of 10 organizations, including Communities in Schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs, that provide out-of-school time educational activities all over the city. These programs are an essential component in any strategy to improve the chances youth, particularly disadvantaged youth, will stay in school and graduate.

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We all know teen pregnancy affects the whole community by adding to poverty, drop-out rates and more. Healthy Futures combats teen pregnancy in San Antonio, by trying to prevent it. Some of what Health Futures provides is effective educational programming and access to contraception.

ACCION works to break the poverty cycle at the root through micro-lending. ACCION started right here in San Antonio and is now a multi-state nonprofit which provides micro and small business loans and financial education. President and CEO Janie Barrera told the audience at the TEDX San Antonio event last fall, “Credit comes for the Latin word ‘to believe,’ and at ACCION, we believe supporting social entrepreneurship and economic development helps break the cycle of poverty.” Lastly people, VOTE! Vote OUT any local, state or federal elected official who would give education and social programs a lump of coal in their stocking funds. Have a holiday worth remembering and a happy new year. Laura Carter @lauracarter A Small Blog

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