The Not-So-Obvious Side Effects of Charity
Like many of the Christmas movies we all know and love, charitable giving is a way to help those less fortunate and bring loved ones closer together. Many companies also see this move as a positive move in the public arena, and are susceptible to tax breaks from generous contributions.
There is more than meets the eye when you give your time and/or money to an Arizona charity. Your mental health can be impacted greatly by your contributions to society. As long as your giving does not lend itself to be taken advantage of by others, or giving away enough to put you in the poor house.
It’s easy to become cynical and complacent in your current routine, especially if you live in an area like metro-Phoenix. Some of your anguish may be relieved by selfless acts of kindness for others. Giving for the sole purpose of giving is a healthy practice in mental health, not because you are looking to feel better about yourself.
According to studies, even just thinking about doing something generous for others can boost your immune system as protective antibodies surge. Another study involved chronic pain patients and those suffering from depression, which concluded that pain levels went down 13% whilst reaching out to others, suffering. The thought behind the latter study is said to do with an endorphin rush, a euphoric feeling from your neurotransmitters.
If you have considered charitable giving or volunteering, check out some of the resources on Arizona Charities, where we try to bring you coverage about local events and opportunities. Just a little bit of time or money could make a difference to a person, place, or animal in need. Wanting to help others can even help you help yourself through, through selfless acts of kindness.
Make-a-Wish Foundation Arizona
The Make-a-Wish Foundation in Arizona is an organization that is dedicated to granting the wishes of children suffering from life threatening medical conditions to “enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy”
Phoenix Arizona houses the national headquarters and the founding chapter which was brought into inception in 1980. In 1980 7-year-old Christopher James Greicius was undergoing treatment for leukemia. He expressed to his family that he had always wanted to be a police officer. Chistopher befriended U.S. customs officer Tommy Austin who worked with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to give Christopher a “day as a police officer.” Christopher donned a police uniform, rode in a police helicopter and became the first honorary DPS patrolman in Arizona history. Sadly, Greicius passed away shortly after but Tommy Austin’s act of kindness became inspiration to create the largest wish-granting organization in the world.
Today Make-A-Wish serves children in 47 countries on five continents through its 36 affiliates. Children who may be eligible to receive if they are referred by one of the following three sources, medical professionals treating the child, a parent or legal guardian, or the potential wish child. The child must be between the ages of 2 and under 18 at the time of the referral. After the child is referred his or her treating physician must determine whether the child is medically eligible to accept the wish.
As Make-a-Wish foundation is Arizona’s website states, “A ‘wish’ is a critically ill child’s answer to the question, “If you could have anything in the world, go anywhere, be or do anything…what would you choose? What would you do?’”
How To Start Your Own Charity
Have you ever thought of starting your own charity in Arizona? We might be able to assist you in your charity endeavor by providing a few simple tips.
Deciding what type of charity to upstart is the most important step you’ll make. Generally, people create a charity based off something that specifically impacts their own lives. These categories typically apply to various community benefits relating to religious, scientific and educational causes. Is there a need for your specific charity locally? Decide what sets your cause apart from other major charities in the area.
Finalizing your charity occurs through legislation. When you have readied the bylaws of your personal charity, file the necessary application to the Arizona Secretary of State. It’s important to note that non-profit charities are considered corporations, requiring the necessary paperwork to operate.
On a similar note, registering your charity is important on the federal level as well. You’ll need to file with the Internal Revenue Service to gain recognition as a charitable organization. You are open to registration at any time.
With all the legislation behind you, you’re now free to start actively engaging your charitable cause. Check out more tips on how to start your own charity.
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works within Arizona to alleviate the widespread issue of hunger. Currently, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance operates within 15 of Arizona’s major counties, existing as the world’s first food bank and sustaining itself through intense volunteerism efforts.
St. Mary’s belongs to Feeding America, a network of nearly 200 similar organizations operating as food banks. St. Mary’s distributes roughly the equivalent of 60 million pounds of food annually, with that number growing all the time. It’s a welcome reprieve for needy families and communities looking for a break from the hardships of financial instability.
Charity Navigator, an independent company built upon grading different charities, has issued St. Mary’s Food Bank its highest honors for the previous decade – the award demonstrates St. Mary’s determination to provide a model charity effort within Arizona’s community of nonprofits. There’s a variety of ways to become involved.
Interested persons can become with involved with volunteering efforts, providing hot meals and food boxes to individuals in need. Alternatively, those individuals in need of provided meals can contact St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance to learn how they can receive assistance from the charity.
For more information on St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, call (602) 242-FOOD (3663).
Avoid Holidays Scams This Season
With the holidays soon approaching, many families in need are scrambling to finance a memorable day for their children. Many jump at the opportunity to help lower income families have a brighter season, but the desire to give should not cloud personal judgment.
For as many people as there is in need this holiday season, there’s an equal if not greater amount of people looking to capitalize upon such overwhelmingly generosity. It can be difficult to discern whether the charity donation you make is legitimate, do the research ahead of time to avoid being scammed.
Make sure you ask questions regarding your donation. If you’re donating to a company you’re not totally familiar with or donated to before, be certain to verify their information online. Any company you’re unable to find information for online is generally best to avoid, as a rule of thumb. Be especially leery toward charities that insist you make a donation immediately.
The easiest way to get swindled is by placing blind trust in a company or person, something those who donate are more susceptible to during the holiday season. The bottom line is if you cannot confirm a person’s identity or situation online, you run a serious risk of being taken for a ride.
Are you thinking about donating to a local charity? Follow these tips and you’ll help keep donations in the hands of those who need them most.
Toys for Tots Charity Spotlight
Our latest focus on a select AZ Charity is the annual Toys for Tots, held every year by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in an effort to provide a better Christmas for families in need. Participants are able to donate a new and unwrapped toy throughout the months of October – December. The campaign is designed to bring communities closer together and foster children at a young age to become productive citizens much further into the future.
Are you considering a donation? There’s a multitude of locations to drop off your new toys in person, including
US Navy Reserve Center
1201 N 35th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(Cross roads - 35th AVE & I-10
Call Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm
East Valley T4T satellite location:
Fulton Ranch Promenade
4985 S. Alma School Road, Ste B103
Chandler, AZ 85248
(cross roads – Alma School & Chandler Heights)
Call Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm
West Valley T4T satellite warehouse location:
Palm Valley Marketplace
14175 West Indian School Road Ste D4
Goodyear, AZ 85338
(cross roads – Litchfield & Indian School
Call Monday thru Friday 10am to 3pm
*Supporting children ages 0 thru 12
There’s also an option to donate to Toys for Tots online.
Toys for Tots is a top-rated charity in the Maricopa community and can provide a great foundation to many families in need during the holiday season. It’s a simple way to give back to your community and spread the holiday cheer, year after year.
Charitable Giving Does Not Have to be “Taxing”
Besides the obvious social and economic pluses to donating to a local worthy cause, there may also be something in it for you!
With some gifts you give, you may be eligible for a tax break, depending on your tax bracket. The higher your tax break, the more money you are allowed to get back, don’t let that deter you if you’re in the lower brackets though, you can still receive a break!
If you are donating property, you must have owned it for at least a year and it must be in good or acceptable condition. The value will be based on the fair market price, which can be extremely good news if your property is appreciated. If you donate to Goodwill, or another thrift store, make sure to get a receipt when you drop off your donations, it could save you up to a few hundred dollars depending on your donations. So before you decide to leave old furniture, appliances, and clothing in the street, think about the many benefits of donating to a local thrift store. Just make sure that you receive a receipt upon donating, and remember the IRS requires an appraisal if your item is not in “good” condition and deducted over $500.
Just in case you hadn’t heard: document, document, document!
Do research into your charity, and remember to be smart with your hard earned money.
Beer for Brains
The Arizona Science Center, located in downtown Phoenix, is hosting an event to benefit the fight against brain cancer. Come down and enjoy a craft beer on Saturday, November 10th, from 7:30 to 11:00 pm. The event will also include live music, multiple tastings and a great resource for those looking to get more information on the battle against cancer. The event promises to provide a wide array of unique brews and local chefs serving up some truly excellent cuisine to dining patrons. Your General Admission ticket allows you to participate in food/beverage sampling.
This is a great opportunity for you to enjoy your weekend and help a great cause in the same stone. If you’re looking to make reservations personally or with a partner, call Call (866) 961-3775.
Want more info?
For more information, please visit the Beer for Brains site.
Charity Spotlight: HALO Animal Rescue
Who They Are
These Arizona angels have been saving animal lives since 1994 as a private 501(c)(3) non-profit. HALO (Helping Animals Live On) is one of the largest no-kill shelters for dogs and cats in the Phoenix area. In 2011, HALO saved the lives of 3,520 animals, sparing them from becoming part of the nearly 50,000 euthanized by other shelters.
What They Do
HALO takes in Arizona animals, then nurses them back to health while giving them tremendous love and attention until they are placed into a home. Many adoptions centers are located around the Valley, including within some Phoenix area pet stores; you can also visit their website to view available pets. The organization will be relocating in 2013 and are in dire need of new pet parents or charitable gifts so they may continue to provide the adequate care needed to house the thousands of animals rescued each year. Visit their website here.
14th Annual Phoenix Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament
One of the premier charities in Arizona is the Annual Phoenix Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament, a dynamic and hugely entertaining outing perfect for the serious golf enthusiast. Proceeds benefit children in need of medical care, offering the best healthcare possible and perhaps most importantly instilling hope where it’s needed most. The tournament itself includes contests such as Closest to the Pin, Longest Putt & Hole-in-One. The format for the tournament is set as a four person scramble. Participants will receive a boxed lunch, tee gift and entrance to the 19th Hole Awards Celebration featuring Honey Bear’s BBQ and assorted beverages.
Golf Tournament Details
The 14th Annual Phoenix Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament will take place at Troon North Golf Club on 10320 East Dynamite Blvd. in Scottsdale, AZ on Friday, November 16th, 2012. Registration is available online and also onsite the day of the tournament beginning at 9:00 am. The shotgun start will begin promptly at 11:00 am with the 19th Hole Cocktail Party & Awards Celebration taking place at 4:30 pm that evening.
For more information, visit the 14th Annual Phoenix Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament website.