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'Fiscal Cliff' Endangers Local, National Charities | News

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'Fiscal Cliff' Endangers Local, National Charities
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For several weeks, concerns have been growing about the 'fiscal cliff,' a slew of budget cuts and tax hikes that could happen on January 1 if Congress doesn't reach a deal limiting the nation's debt.

Local charities find themselves caught in the middle, and some worry they could actually suffer most if the 'fiscal cliff' is avoided.

The reason is that one way Congress may try to raise new revenue is by capping or cutting tax deductions made on charitable donations. 

"Nearly 80 percent of people who file their taxes are eligible to claim those charitable deductions. And that's a direct incentive for people to support our community and non-profits," says Julia Wood, director of donor services for the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

That could mean less support for organizations like the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank where donations come by the truckloads. 

"Individuals that are willing to help folks, I feel that that end of it will still be there. Larger donations, maybe not," says Ronald Raleigh, the executive director of the MGCFB. 

Though public and private funding might be slashed, the demand is persistent. 

Dorothy Woodford, who's a part of Volunteer Macon at the Dempsey Apartments, stopped by the food bank for resources Wednesday. Without the help, she says she's on her own.

"We get together, and we pool our monies together and we do what we can. Because every other Wednesday we fix food for them and we still serve them a hot meal after classes are over," she says.

Some non-profit charities are striking first to combat the threat of fewer donations by participating in an online day of giving called "Georgia Gives Day."

The 24-hour fundraiser starts Thursday and proceeds go directly to your choice of the 87 participating Central Georgia charities. 

For nonprofits in Macon and Milledgeville, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has raised the stakes, offering six randomly drawn bonus prizes of $1000 and a top prize of $2500 to the organization in each city with the largest quantity of donations on Georgia Gives Day.

To learn which charities you can support, go to www.GaGivesDay.org and enter in your zip code for the list of participating nonprofit organizations.

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