It’s the eleventh day of our 12 Days of Charitable Giving! In December, I’ll be focusing on twelve charitable organizations which my readers have nominated as most deserving of your charitable donation. You have just two more days to squeeze in your charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2013 – so why not consider one of our twelve?
Today’s featured charity is the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) was founded in 1981 by a group of U.S. correspondents to promote press freedom worldwide and to defend the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ feels that by protecting journalists, they are also protecting freedom of expression and democracy.
Legendary newsman Walter Cronkite was CPJ’s first honorary chairman. After Cronkite signed on, CPJ successfully wooed other big names: Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Lewis, The Nation‘s Victor Navasky, and The New Yorker‘s Jane Kramer. As word of the organization grew, journalists like Dan Rather contacted CPJ to find out how to become involved.
In 1982, CPJ had its first big win. The military government in Argentina arrested three British journalists covering the Falklands War. Those journalists, Simon Winchester of The Sunday Times and Ian Mather and Tony Prime of The Observer, were held on espionage charges. CPJ organized a letter writing appeal, which contributed to the journalists’ release from prison.
Today, CPJ is dedicated to protecting journalists across the globe. Threats have not diminished: in fact, they have increased. A record high 232 journalists were put in prison in 2012. That represented an increase of more than 25% since 2011. Journalists are generally held on anti-state charges like terrorism, treason, and subversion.
You can see more about the risks journalists faced in 2012 in this short video:
As 2013 draws to a close, seventy journalists have been killed while reporting the news; 1,040 journalists have been killed since 1992. The deadliest countries for journalists over the past year include Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and Somalia.
So how can you help?
You can make a donation online in any amount. If you prefer to write a check, send your contribution to:
Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
You can make a general donation or earmark funds for a particular fund (but not a specific individual). For example, the CPJ’s distress fund for journalists provides emergency grants to journalists facing persecution for their work. You can also help sponsor the family of an imprisoned journalist.
CPJ also encourages planned giving. In addition to leaving a bequest via your will, CPJ reminds donors that they accept retirement funds and life insurance. Normally, at your death, your pension, 401(k), or IRA are reportable for federal estate tax purposes and generally subject to income taxes. By making a gift of those funds to CPJ, those funds escape both income and estate taxes.
You can also gift your life insurance to CPJ. If you name CPJ as both owner and irrevocable beneficiary of the policy, you would be entitled to an income tax deduction based on either the total value of the premiums paid, or the cash surrender value, whichever is less. The proceeds would also not be subject to estate tax.
As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that CPJ is on the IRS list of qualified charitable organizations. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook. You can also engage regionally – find those links here.
As we go along this month, I encourage you to check out the charities that made our list this year:
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Sepsis Alliance
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Ride For Reading
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Electronic Frontier Foundation
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Esophageal Cancer Action Network
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Feeding America
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Helping Hands Center For Special Needs
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Sow Much Good
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Children Of Fallen Patriots
- 12 Days of Charitable Giving 2013: Kids Making It
- 12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Flashes Of Hope
Remember, submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart. Do your homework.
For more on the tax considerations in making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:
- Making Your Gifts Count: 10 Smart Tips For Charitable Giving
- 12 Tips for Year End Charitable Giving
- Ask the taxgirl: Charitable Contributions and Receipts
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