April 1, 2018
The Philanthropic Trends Digest
A Publication of Lawson Associates, Inc.
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Douglas M. Lawson, Ph.D.
Dallas, TX

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Pam Carpenter

Chief Operating Officer

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Roanoke, VA and
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 Rod Brown

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Lake Wylie, SC 

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Lincoln, NM 

 Jane Jordan

Jacksonville, FL 
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Dear Friend:

Does philanthropy only involve donations of cash or property?

Jeff and Julie Williams of Ft. Worth, Texas answer with a resounding NO.  They did so by opening a new restaurant last year, Taste Community Restaurant.  The husband and wife team created Taste Project, a 501c3 nonprofit, which is the foundation upon which their new restaurant is built.  In short, the restaurant is a modern, casual restaurant with one specific goal - make sure people who cannot afford food can get something good to eat whether they can pay for it or not.  Some of the best food in Ft. Worth is served at the restaurant, but some people don't pay for their meals and that is fine with the owners.

No prices are listed on the menu, and none are shown on the check.  Jeff and Julie's idea is that guests at the restaurant pay what they can afford or what they would pay for a similar meal at another restaurant.  The two of them are following the model set by One World Everybody Eats, an Idaho-based nonprofit that created the model for community cafes and currently supports 60 pay-what-you-can community cafes in the United States.

What a great idea!  What a wonderful way to make philanthropy what it can be beyond the usual ways to give.


Douglas M. Lawson, Ph.D.

The Dallas Morning News, March 21, 2018, p. E1
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"We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated." - - May Angelou
NEW TAX LAW COULD CUT GIVING TO COLLEGES - - Colleges brought in record breaking donations in 2017, but the new tax law could affect alumni's future commitments to donations to their alma mater.  Several changes in the new tax law will affect nonprofits like never before.  The last time lawmakers made major revisions in the tax code, in the 1980s, colleges and other nonprofits saw an immediate decline in giving, though donations later were regained.  Now they're readying for a repeat of that decline due to the new tax laws.  Colleges are concerned about the effect of the jump in the standard deduction for the 2018 tax year-to $24,000 per married couple (up from $13,000) and $12,000 for single filers (up from $6,500). The Tax Policy Center estimates about 19 million taxpayers will itemize under the new law, compared with more than 46 million previously.  For those taxpayers using the standard deduction instead of itemizing, there's no tax incentive to donate to their college or their child's school, because they won't be deducting the donation from their taxable income. - - Jillian Berman, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2018.  Read more. 
IN DONATING MONEY, WHOM DO YOU COUNT ON? - - Deborah Sills Iarussi, a trustee of the Sills Family Foundation, remembers being effected by an environmental justice leader who was so persuasive that the family quickly agreed to support his philanthropic organization.  The family's professional advisers were no as impressed, believing his financials didn't make any sense. While the foundation continued to fund his endeavors, over time his behavior became troubling.  Proposals arrived months late, or not at all, and eventually the family heeded the adviser and backed away.  Charitable donors are often altruistic by nature, but their preferences may blind them to potential faults in the groups they support.  The challenge is finding upstanding groups, while avoiding the unreliable ones.  The Wounded Warrior Project, for example, formed to support veterans, was criticized in 2016 for excessive spending.  This year, the international relief group Oxfam came under scrutiny for sexual misconduct by some aid workers in Haiti.  Advisers may objectively see things that idealistic funders may miss.  To help ensure their philanthropy is being used effectively, donors are increasingly seeking the help of professionals. - - Ann Carrns, The New York Times, March 23, 2018.  Read more. 
PLANNED PARENTHOOD RECEIVES $9 MILLION GIFT TO OPEN NEW CLINICS - - An anonymous Texas donor has promised $9 million to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas to help construct two new health centers in West Texas within the next year.  The group has not said whether the new clinics would be abortion providers.  Planned Parenthood has said to have had no clinics to offer abortion or other services in the region since 2013, shortly after Texas passed a law placing tough restrictions on groups that perform abortions.  The laws were eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, but advocates say the damage had already been done as many clinics did not reopen.  The group, which provides health services such as preventive care, contraception, sexually transmitted disease testing and abortions, has struggled over the past few years.  Texas became key in a national debate over whether public money should go to abortion providers.  There are currently 35 Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas, and six offer abortions.  The majority of its locations are located near major metro areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin. - - Sabriya Rice, The Dallas Morning News, March 29, 2018.  Read more. 
- - Colorado philanthropists Richard and Susan Rogel havecpledged $110 million to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.  The gift will support efforts designed at furthering cancer research and treatment.  The university plans to name the center for the donors, and funding will assist research teams working to develop new approaches and technologies to advance early cancer detection, monitoring, and treatment.   It will also begin a new program to bring international cancer experts to the university for six to 12 months to develop new projects and support cancer-research scientists whose work is successfully ongoing.  Part of the gift will also endow professorships, scholarships, and other programs.  Richard Rogel had experience which motivated him to give to cancer efforts, as 
he lost his father to pancreatic cancer.  Susan Rogel lost both parents and her adult daughter, Ilene, to cancer.  The needs being so great, the couple hopes their gift will encourage others to support the cause. - - Maria Di Mento, Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 29, 2018.  Read more. 

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