July 23, 2013

Do We Really Want the Feds Taking Over U.S. Charity?

James Piereson turns history on its head by asserting that charitable organizations have been the primary initiators of the financial relationship with the government.

By John Ashmen, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions & Larry Probus, World Vision

Wall Street Journal 

By necessity and smart planning, charities have diversified their sources of income. Yet individual contributions remain the largest, reflecting America's centuries-old tradition of giving back to the community. Not all charities aggressively pursue government funds. Nearly all Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM), for example, rely solely on private contributions to provide food, shelter, clothing and addiction recovery services.

Charities like AGRM and our members provide vital, privately funded services with greater efficiency than government. As one member of Congress recently confided: "We can't do what you do—and we shouldn't try. We would totally mess it up. In no time it would be twice as expensive and half as effective."

Approximately 80% of World Vision's donations are from the private sector, which helps the government be more effective in its service projects. It is critical that the private and public sectors work together to most effectively address the needs of the most vulnerable.

Let's be clear. The charitable tax deduction works. For every $1 a donor deducts, $3 are returned to communities in the form of services and support. Tampering with it would set off a host of cascading economic and social consequences with an unacceptable human cost.