Column: CARES Act provides more ways to help

Column: CARES Act provides more ways to help

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In just over a month, COVID-19 has turned life in the Quad Cities upside down. Despite all that has changed, I am heartened and filled with hope as I continue to hear the same question asked by Quad Citizens: "How can I help?"

The eagerness to lend a hand during this evolving health and economic crisis gives us a glimpse into a brighter future for our community, one we all must work together toward. As we think about how we can best support our students, families and neighbors who have been hit hardest by this pandemic, now is an important time to consider the critical role nonprofits serve in stabilizing lives and our Quad Cities.

Many local nonprofits, including the 36 community impact partners that receive funding from our United Way and the dozens we collaborate with, are on the frontlines of the coronavirus response. As these organizations stretch their resources to meet urgent and essential needs of Quad Citizens, they need our help.

Fortunately, the CARES Act has made it easier for Americans to give generously to qualifying charities, including the United Way of the Quad Cities and our community partners. The COVID-19 stimulus package, signed into law March 27, has created a new financial incentive which will take effect in the 2020 tax year.

The law grants taxpayers an "above-the-line" deduction for up to $300 in charitable donations. This means, come Tax Day 2021, if you take the standard deduction and give $300 to charity, you will get a $300 tax break in addition to the standard deduction.

The new policy also created an incentive for those who file for itemized deductions. Taxpayers will be able to deduct up to 100% of their Adjusted Gross Income for contributions to qualifying charities in 2020.

Corporate donors will be rewarded for their charitable gifts, too. The CARES Act temporarily lifts the limit entities can deduct from their taxes from 10% to 25% of their Adjusted Tax Income for contributions to qualifying charities starting in 2020.

We don’t yet know how the effects of closed schools, shuttered workplaces and overwhelmed essential workers will play out in our neighbors’ longer-term education, health and incomes – particularly for those less fortunate – and a monumental challenge lies ahead for the human service community.

The thing we do know for sure: support for the nonprofit recovery work is critical now and will be even more crucial in the coming months as we turn to rebuilding lives and our economy.

Now is a perfect time to help. Take advantage of this new tax advantage. Give to our local charities who provide support and important services to our neighbors and families.

We are a proud, optimistic and resilient community. Donate, volunteer and advocate to put opportunity in the hands of all Quad Citizens. Together, we’ll get through this.

Rene Gellerman is the president & CEO of the United Way of the Quad Cities. To learn more about financial incentives for gifts to Quad-Cities organizations on the frontlines of COVID-19 relief, visit


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