Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB) February 20, 2011
Philanthropy was a hot topic of discussion among the wealthiest Americans in 2010 especially after the Giving Pledge--a project launched by Bill and Melinda Gates together with Warren Buffet--was signed late last year. However, the Pledge, which was a public commitment by 40 of the wealthiest Americans to donate half their fortunes to charity, didn't exactly deliver what it promised. With all the talk about philanthropy by the mega-rich, there wasn't that much giving going on in 2010 or early this year, according Vincent Everett (CEO Works of Life International Ministries). "The sluggish pace of national economic recovery combined with uncertain charity tax laws next year are making potential donors afraid to give," says the Works of Life executive. "The non-profit sector is really trying to figure out creative new ways to get more Americans involved in charity," adds Everett.
Although 50 billionaires announced in the previous year that they would donate at least half their wealth to charity, few followed through with big gifts in 2010, according the the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Of the Chronicle's list of the 50 most-generous donors , only 17 of them can be found in Forbes magazine's list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Even then, the donors who took the title of 'most generous' pledged a total of $3.3- billion, the lowest since the Chronicle started recording the donations made by wealthy Americans in 2000.
Donors as well as experts in the non-profit sector say fears over the economy dipping further back into a recession combined with uncertain tax regulations are mostly to blame: "Donors are not looking to give away much of their capital in assets, cash, or property when the think the state of the economy is likely to worsen," says the Works of Life CEO.
"It's one thing to pledge half your fortune to support a variety of worthy charitable causes," says Everett, "but at the same time if Obama is announcing that he wants to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving to 28%, a thirty percent drop, then wealthy Americans are going to be turned off to the idea of charitable giving in general."
Over a decade ago Everett made the decision to diversify the kinds of items Works of Life accepts in order to boost the number of contributing Americans. "No one has to sit back and watch the drama of charitable giving play out among the richest of the rich. Charity is about everyday people doing what they can to help those less fortunate," says the Works of Life CEO. In light of the slump in charitable giving by the wealthy, Everett pledges to continue to use the wide range of donated items Works of Life receives in order to provide charitable assistance to many worthy causes, and to get more people involved.
"We take pride in running an organization that allows any American to make a donation that will be used to improve low-income communities," mentions Everett. Works of Life partners with the With Causes charitable network which gives potential donors the option to donate collectibles, including antiques and classic cars, to charity. According to Everett, With Causes, especially through its program Collectibles with Causes, is showing a side of charitable giving that is a bit of a stranger to the spot light. Donors all across the US have donated memorabilia, classic automobiles and other antiques to charity in a way that achieves many things at once, states Everett--"Donating a collectible item or classic car helps Works of Life generate revenue to give back to communities in need; donors can liquidate items that they choose to give away; and tax deductions are awarded for any donated property we receive," he adds.
Works of Life is a non-profit, non-denominational, faith-based charitable organization established over decade ago. "We launched the With Causes program, which includes Collectibles with Causes, Boats with Causes, and Real Estate with Causes, to be able to make a significant impact by accepting charitable gifts that people donate out of their own volition, and not because they have been mandated by the government to pay for ineffective social welfare programs ," says the Works of Life executive.
With donations by the super-rich at a ten-year low, Everett says that organizations like Works of Life should strive to not only make up for the slump in giving by wealthy Americans but also to provide avenues through which anyone with the means to help can do so in whatever way they can. "It's all about saving the Donor money and striking a natural balance; we accept many kinds of items as charitable gifts in order to help you make a contribution to communities in need," holds Everett.
Recently Works of Life, along with With Causes, was mentioned in Forbes magazine as well as Huffington Post and USA Today because, contends Everett, "We give people the chance to donate to charity in unconventional ways. Works of Life is garnering national attention in part because literally thousands of Donors across the country have reached out to help someone in need directly through our organization. Donors can give away valuable collectibles or automobiles, cars or boats, or even aircraft they don't even want anymore to help solve many pressing social issues. It's an efficient charitable system with great potential, especially in times of economic uncertainty."
About Collectibles with Causes/ Works of Life Intl. Ministries Inc.:
Operating since 2002 Works of Life is a non-profit, non-denominational faith-based charitable organization that provides charitable works for other like-minded organizations in the form of endowments, grants and much, much more.
Their clients range from social service agencies to private non-profits, hospitals and more importantly individuals with special needs including victims of crime, military families, those with physical challenges and victims of abuse.
Works of Life has enjoyed a successful relationship with many like-minded charitable Organizations, developing residential based programs for those interested in Ministering to others but limited physically in doing so.
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