Reps. Pappas and Walorski Lead Bipartisan Legislation Empowering Charitable Giving

March 9, 2021
Press Release
Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act expands federal tax deductions for charitable giving to support nonprofits and philanthropic Granite Staters

U.S. Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01) and Jackie Walorski (IN-02) introduced the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act, which would expand and extend universal charitable deductions for individuals not itemizing deductions in years 2021 and 2022.
 

“Over the past year we have seen nonprofits in New Hampshire and across the country step up to help those most in need endure the devastating economic impacts of this pandemic,” said Congressman Pappas. “As our nonprofits work tirelessly to support our communities while they face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical we also do our part to support their work. That is why I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that will expand the charitable giving deduction to support the work of our nonprofits while also highlighting and rewarding the charitable spirit of our nation during these difficult times.”

“Throughout the coronavirus crisis, charitable organizations have played a vital role in helping families and communities recover and rebuild. I’ve seen my fellow Hoosiers step up to serve their neighbors in need and selflessly give their money, time, and talents to make a difference. Strengthening the charitable contribution deduction during the pandemic is a commonsense way to ensure fairness for taxpayers and encourage even more generous giving in a time of need. This bipartisan bill would help put our country on the path to restoring our way of life and emerging stronger than ever before,” said Congresswoman Walorski.

"The Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act is an important proposal to strengthen the resiliency of our nonprofit sector," said Kathleen Reardon, CEO of the NH Center for Nonprofits. "Now more than ever, it's important that we incentivize giving because investing in nonprofits will help our communities recover from the pandemic."

“Incentivizing all taxpayers to give to charity – regardless of their income or whether they itemize – ensures that nonprofits doing critical work in our communities will receive the resources necessary to help as many Americans as possible,” said Brian Flahaven, chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition. “The bipartisan and bicameral introduction of the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act signals Congress’ recognition of the importance of expanding the universal charitable deduction and therefore driving more donations to organizations when they need it most. The Charitable Giving Coalition applauds the bipartisan group of lawmakers for their leadership on the issue, and we look forward to working with Congress to enhance charitable giving.” 

“The Faith & Giving Coalition supports the introduction of the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. We are grateful to Representative Pappas for his continued leadership to ensure that the charitable deduction's benefits and incentives are available to all taxpayers – not just the wealthy,” said Brian W. Walsh, Executive Director, Faith & Giving Coalition. “Most important, the Act would stimulate the increased giving that is desperately needed to help hurting individuals and communities across America recover well from the pandemic.”

“United Way appreciates Congressman Pappas’ reintroduction of the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act” said Suzanne McCormick, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide. “A year after the pandemic started to spread in the U.S., our health, economic and social challenges seem far from over. This legislation will accelerate the work of charitable organizations in helping our communities to respond, recover, rebuild and reimagine a better future.”

“We urge Congress and the president to advance the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act without delay because it could boost charitable donations to nonprofit charities,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Our nation is at a critical juncture, and charities are serving on the frontlines of responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Research we’ve released shows that such a proposal could generate over $17 billion in additional charity each year, if made permanent. Charities need urgent help to meet their expanding missions. This bill sends a powerful message about the role of every American in helping those in need.”

“We applaud Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) for their bipartisan leadership on the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. This legislation incentivizes all taxpayers, regardless of income, to make charitable donations, which enables schools, colleges and universities to solve institutional challenges, support research, teaching, student scholarships and their public service missions,” said CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham. “Expanding and extending this important charitable giving incentive will empower our member institutions to better reach their goals, support their students, and serve their communities. Securing philanthropic support is critical to educational institutions and we look forward to continuing to work with the lawmakers to strengthen the universal charitable deduction.”

“The Philanthropy Roundtable supports the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. In a time of national crisis, charitable organizations are facing increased needs and fundraising challenges,” said Elise Westhoff, CEO of The Philanthropy Roundtable. “This bill would encourage all Americans, including those who do not itemize on their tax returns to continue stepping forward to support our vibrant charitable sector at this crucial time.”

This bill would establish, for 2021 and 2022, a temporary universal charitable deduction up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers in 2021). Under the CARES Act, Americans who donate to charities, religious organizations, and other nonprofits were able to claim a $300 charitable deduction on their 2020 returns. The end-of-year relief bill also further extended the universal charitable deduction to 2021 and expanded it so that those filing jointly can claim up to $600.
 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, small-dollar donations have helped fuel the nonprofit sector. According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, the number of small-dollar donors (under $250) rose by 17.1% in the third quarter of 2020 over the same period in 2019. This figure highlights that the charitable giving incentives included in the CARES Act helped catalyze increased charitable giving.  
 

Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Scott (R-SC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a companion bill in the Senate today.
 

You can read the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act in its entirety here.

 

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