Legion Post 248

West Tampa Memorial American Legion Post 248

The Importance of Charity

Charity is the action of giving something helpful to someone in need, often money or goods. The word derives from the Latin verb “caritare,” which means to care for, or have a feeling of concern or compassion for another person.

The act of charity is a fundamental part of most religions, including Christianity and Islam. It is also a central concept of Judaism, where it is known as tzedakah, and in Hinduism.

In the United States, charitable donations are tax-deductible. In 2019, individuals donated more than $450 billion to charities. Some of these charities are large, like the Red Cross or Salvation Army, while others are smaller, localized efforts that support particular communities or issues. Whether you donate your time or your money, it is important to think about what motivates you and the causes you support.

When choosing a we charity to support, consider what is most meaningful to you and your family. Some people may find it more valuable to help families in their neighborhood or people who share a common background or experience, such as racial or ethnic minorities, veterans, the disabled, the poor or animals. Other people might prefer to support groups that provide education about a particular issue or advocate for policies that address it, such as climate change, homelessness or gun control.

You should also keep in mind that some problems aren’t easy to solve at the local level. For example, reducing poverty might require policies that address income inequality or changing attitudes and values. Similarly, addressing environmental problems such as deforestation might require international strategies.

If you decide to donate your money, look for a reputable organization that is registered with the federal government and that lists its charitable objectives. It should also include how it meets those objectives in its annual reports, which are public records. It’s especially important to pay attention to how much a charity spends on fundraising and administration, compared to how much it does its actual charitable work.

Traditionally, charity has been thought of as an activity that benefits the donor as well as the recipient. In fact, the Bible references this principle in several places, including Proverbs 19:17: “If thou givest to the poor, it shall be repaid unto thee.”

Spiritual science emphasizes that the intention behind charity is more important than the amount of money given. Those who give with the unity of their mind, speech and conduct receive tremendous benefits, even beyond what they might imagine.

The IRS defines charitable activities as “relief of the poor and distressed, advancement of religion, education or science, erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments or works, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and protection of human rights and civil liberties.” Be wary of charities that make vague, sentimental claims that they will help a lot of families in need or have an unusually high impact. They might be trying to manipulate you for their own financial gain.