As everyone is aware, many of us will be receiving a tax rebate check in the mail as a part of President Bush's tax cut plan that was passed and signed into law. Whether we agree with the tax cuts or not, I would like to make a suggestion for how to best use these funds.
In 2001, many of us received similar checks in the mail. As the executive director of the Utah Nonprofits Association, I encouraged people then to donate their rebates as a means of helping nonprofit organizations who provide essential services in the community and make Utah a better place to live for all of us. I would argue that it is even more important now for us to support these organizations. With the significant cuts in the Utah State budget, many services that are provided by the state have been scaled back or eliminated, and charitable organizations have been expected to fill in for these cutbacks. Many charitable organizations in all areas of the nonprofit sector are experiencing declines in private funding as well at a time when demand for services is significantly increasing. Some organizations are closing down programs, laying off staff and taking other drastic measures just so they can keep their doors open. Other less fortunate organizations have had to close down due to loss of funding.
Therefore, if you are someone who is getting a tax rebate check, consider that you are lucky enough to not have been impacted by the tightening of the economy. Although investments are down, you probably still have your job and a steady income. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to one of the many Utah organizations that are working so hard to help keep Utah's community strong, especially during these difficult times.
By making such a donation, you will be helping the economy by providing much-needed services to those who have found themselves in bad shape due to job losses, cuts in services, or other situations that may have impacted them. This would be in the true spirit of economic stimulation: People who have a roof over their heads, enough to eat and a means of finding a job will then be able to stimulate the economy. If there are other types of organizations that you would like to help, consider that your donation may mean that a program can stay active, that a nonprofit employee can keep his or her job, and that you have helped an organization continue to work to meet its mission. It is also a gesture that will continue to make Utah a great place to live for all of us.
Diane Hartz Warsoff is the executive director of the Utah Nonprofits Association.