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At Year's End, Giving The Gift of Local Charity

A run-down of reputable charities in the area.

At a time when folks are struggling to get by financially, coping with the crippled economy and lack of jobs, there has somehow been room for charity.

After all, it can be as easy as a shopping stroll up Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore (details below).

Across the country, people are still donating, giving cash or stock gifts, food or dry goods, volunteering their time, or even anonymously paying off layaway balances for strangers at big box stores like Kmart. Although it may be too late to shop for friends and family, it is never too late to donate to local charities.
 

Charities in the Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Area: 

While we cannot endorse specific charities, here are some examples of reputable charities in our area:

(Pediatric cancer research; Wynnewood)
Started by a four-year-old girl with a rare form of pediatric cancer, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) funds childhood cancer research, awareness, and travel support for families of cancer victims. Donations are accepted through the charity’s website, through stock donations, and estate donations. Volunteering options are also available. ALSF’s administrative costs and expenses are around 15 percent. Click here for more information.

A Better Chance in Lower Merion (Social services; Ardmore)
This college preparatory program is linked with the Lower Merion School District, housing up to nine male students in its Ardmore house. The house provides live-in tutors as well. A Better Chance accepts many forms of donations, either through its main web site or through the local chapter in Ardmore. Click here  or check their Facebook page for ways to donate and for more information about the program.
Visit their site site here for more information. 

of Philadelphia ... (Thrift shops, second-hand stores; Ardmore)
Three local thrift shops in Ardmore are located within a mile of one another on or near Lancaster Avenue.

These shops take donations of goods and use money from purchases to fund their respective programs.

(Cancer Research; Wynnewood)
The Center for Advancement in Cancer Education (CACE) provides integrative lifestyle counseling (ILC) for cancer patients and their families. CACE gives patients resources to help organize their treatment plans, lifestyle changes, dietary needs, and other individual needs. Visit their website for donation information.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer ( research and education; Haverford)
LBBC aims to improve the quality of life for victims of breast cancer and their families. The organization uses about 17 percent of funds for administrative costs, donating the remainder to its educational programs and resources for breast cancer victims, their families and health care professionals. 

 ...  (Local Food Banks; Ardmore and Narberth)
The Narberth Community Food Bank (h of Narberth) and the Ardmore Food Pantry () both operate out of local churches, accepting food, paper/cleaning products, stock, and cash donations. Check Ardmore's site or Narberth's site for hours of operation and upcoming events.

(Senior citizen and disabled advocacy: Lower Merion and Narberth)
ElderNet serves local senior citizens, either frail or disabled, enabling them to live independently. ElderNet also provides resources for finding assisted living facilities. Donations are accepted via personal check or PayPal on their website. Visit ElderNet online for more details.

Philadelphia Animal Awareness Society (PAWS) (Animal shelters and adoptions; Philadelphia)
PAWS is Philadelphia’s only no-kill shelter, serving more than 12,000 pets annually. Foster pets from PAWS can be adopted through many homes in the Ardmore area using PetFinder or through their adoption center in Old City (2nd and Arch streets). Donations are accepted through the PAWS website

How You Benefit: Taxes

Tax Implications of Charitable Giving

Giving to charities and non-profits is often simply an act of good will, but there's an added benefit: it may also lower your tax bills. Tthere are some specific rules, however. Here are a few to keep in mind. 

  • You may take a charitable contribution deduction and reduce your taxable income only if you itemize your deductions.
  • Charities and non-profits must be legitimate. See Table 1 of Publication 526 (link below) from the IRS for more information. 
  • Always document your contributions, either with receipts, a credit card statement or written confirmation from the charity. 
  • A charitable contribution is deductable for the year in which it is paid (even if the payment has not been processed yet). 
  • When considering whether to donate stocks or bonds, consult a financial advisor or your accountant.
  • When donating non-cash contributions (i.e. used clothing, furniture, food), you must determine the fair market value of your donation (see Publication 561, “Determining the Value of Donated Property”, below).

Consult with your tax advisor about the benefits of donating to charity, and read these publications from the IRS regarding donations:

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