By editorial board • 

Donations, deductions a great way to begin 2017

There is just a day and some change left to purge your closets and garages for usable items that can transform into goodwill for your fellow human beings (and provide deductions at tax time). 

The most popular place to drop off items is Goodwill. But think how your donations may better affect the local community. Thrift shops operated by St. Vincent de Paul and Habitat for Humanity in McMinnville and Lucky Finds in Newberg (a program of Chehalem Youth and Family Services) as well as the Newberg Thrift Shop will sell your goods and spend the revenue locally. 

MacHub, at 352 N.E. Ford St., offers a unique way for people to maximize their donations for tax purposes. The nonprofit accepts non-cash items and assets and uses its online system to sell them at high values. Elevated prices mean more proceeds for the nonprofit and large tax benefits for donors.

The organization has joined forces with two dozen area nonprofits, including Love INC of the Newberg Area, the Sheridan Japanese School Foundation, Juliette’s House, Yamhill-Carlton Together Cares and so on. Consider donating the funds to MacHub itself, so the service can grow into a bigger resource for the community.

MacHub will extend its hours to be open Saturday until noon to assist people with last-minute donations. 

The Yamhill County Cultural Coalition’s year-end campaign — the local faction of the Oregon Cultural Trust — is another creative means to maximize donations and deductions. By going to the nonprofit’s website, yamhillcountyculture.org, you can donate to multiple arts and culture organizations with one payment. From concert series to educational programs to community centers, these “cultural partners” weave a variety of arts-related assets into the fabric of the county. They make for more creative, more livable and more enlightened communities.

Once you’ve made your local donation, consider a matching gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust, which, “in turn, funds the artists, potters, rappers, acrobats and dreamers who make Oregon, Oregon,” says OCT Executive Director Brian Rogers. “Every year they disperse funds via the state’s 1,400-plus cultural nonprofits, 45 county/tribal coalitions and five statewide partners.”

Under the state’s unique program, your entire donation to the OCT will be returned as a tax credit. Then, you combine the local and state gifts on federal charitable deduction, and you end up with an out-of-pocket cost that is a fraction of what was donated to expand arts and culture in your neighborhood. 

The benefits of end-of-year donations stack on top of one another. Make sure to spend a couple hours before the end of Saturday determining what and how you can donate. There’s no better start to a new year than philanthropy and chipping away at your upcoming tax bill.

Beyond financial donations, volunteers are needed.  People can fight domestic violence with Henderson House, combat child abuse with Juliette’s House, support struggling families with Lutheran Community Services and help the homeless at any number of churches and nonprofits.

The world appears awfully dark at times, but there are countless candles to be lit.

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