United Way of St. Joseph County welcomed three new board members for the 2012-2013 year. Board members play an integral role in United Way’s infrastructure by helping the organization make decisions, overcome challenges and achieve goals. Without their efforts, it would not be possible for the United Way of St. Joseph County to make such a significant, measurable impact within the community.

New board members include the following individuals: Leslie Yates, Audit Engagement Senior Manager of Crowe Horwath LLP; Stephen Ponzillo III, Director of TRIO Programs at the University of Notre Dame; and Robert King, Senior Vice President of South Bend Medical Foundation, Inc. Mr. King is also serving as United Way Campaign Vice Chair for the 2012-2013 Campaign and will be Campaign Chair for the 2013-2014 Campaign.

United Way of St. Joseph County welcomes these new board members to their new positions and looks forward to the exciting and prosperous year ahead.

To view a complete list of the volunteer United Way of St. Joseph County Board of Directors, please visit www.uwsjc.org/about/board/board-members.html.

United Way would like to thank all of its past and present board members, officers, committee chairs, and campaign co-chairs for the dedication of their time and support of the United Way of St. Joseph County. United Way would not be where it is today without the dedicated individuals who LIVE UNITED.

United Way of St. Joseph County is a nonprofit organization working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. It works closely with 23 local agency programs to meet the community needs of St. Joseph County.

Kay Ball

When the business, government and charitable sectors are all equally strong, communities thrive.

In this time of pending government budget cuts, it is especially critical that the charitable sector remains strong. The fiscal situation is dire. However, if Congress attempts to solve the dilemma by further shifting the burden to those at the bottom of the economic scale, the vitality of communities -- including ours -- will be placed at risk.

As Congress continues "fiscal cliff" negotiations, one of the deductions under review is the charitable deduction. The charitable deduction allows individuals to deduct a portion of their charitable contributions on their individual tax returns, if they itemize.

The following are key facts about the importance and role of charitable giving in the United States and, specifically, in Indiana and in St. Joseph County:

About three-fourths, or 73 percent, of all giving in the U.S. is from individuals (Source: Giving USA).

More than 80 percent of the 46 million Americans who itemized their tax returns in 2009 claimed the charitable deduction. These individuals were responsible for more than 76 percent of individual contributions to charitable organizations.

In St. Joseph County, $96.6 million was contributed in 2008, with average giving of more than $2,400 per individual or 4.3 percent of income (Source: How America Gives).

Indiana nonprofits employ 1 in 11 workers in Indiana, or nearly 250,000 employees. In St. Joseph County, nonprofit organizations employ 1 in 5 workers, with strong employment in educational and health care organizations (Source: IU Center on Philanthropy, School of Public and Environmental Affairs and IN Business Research Center). 

Unlike deductions that subsidize personal spending with benefits for the individual taxpayer, the charitable deduction encourages taxpayers to strengthen our communities by donating a portion of their income. Nonprofit organizations depend on the charitable spirit of Hoosiers. With today's economic realities, protecting the charitable deduction is essential for the well-being of our community.

The charitable deduction helps fuel hundreds of organizations providing programs and services that enhance our community. We understand that Congress must make difficult choices about investments and cuts. Therefore, we ask for careful consideration of the critical role that large and small nonprofit organizations play as service providers and employers. We encourage everyone to contribute, advocate and volunteer with and on behalf of their favorite not-for-profit organizations.

Kay Ball is the president and CEO of United Way of St. Joseph County, a nonprofit organization that raises and invests $3 million and leverages $8 million annually in St. Joseph County.

To see original article from The South Bend Tribune, click here.

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