December 6, 2012

Dear Goucher Trustees, Alumnae/i, Parents, and Friends,

            I write today to alert you to a policy issue that is receiving significant attention in the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations as the government seeks to raise revenue and lower spending: The federal income tax deduction for charitable donations could possibly be capped, scaled back, or even eliminated.  As you can imagine, colleges and universities, as well as other nonprofit institutions across the nation, are watching this issue very closely and continue to be very concerned about what this could possibly mean for them. 

            This deduction has served as an effective incentive for charitable giving since it was established in 1917.  According to the Council for Aid to Education, colleges and universities in 2011 received $30.3 billion in charitable gifts.  Private charitable donations, along with federal and state investments, help to ensure access to higher education through student financial aid; to support teaching, research, and innovation; and to fund public service activities which, in turn, deliver enormous economic benefits to our society. 

            Higher education is already facing great challenges at this moment in our history as a result of the recession.  State support for higher education is at a 20-year low, and private and public institutions are experiencing historic declines in the value of their endowments.  At this critical juncture in the economic crisis and higher education crossroads we must implore Congress and the White House to preserve the strong federal tax incentives for charitable giving.

            Please call or e-mail your members of Congress and ask them to protect the federal tax incentives for charitable giving.  We also ask you to contact the members of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and House and Senate leadership (Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, and McConnell).  Letters of support for the preservation of the charitable-giving tax incentive have already been sent to the House and Senate leadership and the White House by the American Council on Education on behalf of more than a dozen higher education associations in the country.

            Please feel free to contact Wendy Belzer Litzke, Goucher's vice president for government and community relations, at wbelzer@goucher.edu if you have any questions.  Thank you in advance for contacting your members of Congress and for your support of the charitable-giving tax deduction - and of Goucher College.

Sincerely,


Sanford J. Ungar
President