If It Feels Good, Keep Doing It
Paraphrasing an anthem from the ’60s, if it feels good, do it. The “it” I’m referring to is charitable giving. Specifically, giving to the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). It feels good to give.
Read more about that later, but first, consider the U.S. tax code changes enacted in January and their impact on charitable giving.
As you probably know, the new standard deductions for personal tax bills will increase dramatically this year—to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly and to $12,500 for single tax payers. These are both almost double what they were in 2017.
Previously, mortgage interest, medical costs, charitable contributions (cash and goods) and other deductible items that totaled more than $13,000 as a couple could be itemized as deductions. Therefore, theoretically, the more you donated to your house of worship, college, charities and, yes, PPEF, the smaller your tax burden became. In essence, there was a financial incentive to make charitable contributions. However, with the new deduction at $24,000, many analysts believe that charitable deductions will decrease because there’s no longer an incentive to give.
Those analysts miss the point—at least with respect to the promotional products industry.
The Promotional Products Education Foundation was founded in 1989 to provide college scholarships to industry employees and their children. So, regardless of your job, if you work in the industry, you and your children can apply.
In 1999, we awarded $27,000 in scholarships to 38 students. This year we are in the process of awarding $200,000 to more than 130 students.
How has the scholarship fund grown so large? We have a unique industry. It’s one in which we still rely on relationships. It’s one where we care for each other. It’s an industry in which the largest gathering of promotional products professionals, The PPAI Expo, is at times more of a giant family reunion than a trade show. And this family takes care of each other.
As a result, it is my belief that the average donor doesn’t give to PPEF because there’s a financial incentive. They do it because it feels good to give and to be in a position of helping contribute to the growth of our industry by investing in our future—the education of our children.
Human beings are generous creatures. Every one of us wants to make a difference in some way. Whether it’s to mentor a new salesperson, create a new fad or guide our companies in a professional direction, we all want to do something special with our lives. Some donors give to PPEF because helping a child realize his or her full potential through a college education is not only a wonderful way to make a difference, but one of the most satisfying as well. Over the years, many of our scholarship recipients tell us they are the first in their family to go to college, thanks in part to their PPEF scholarship.
Some donors give to PPEF because of their personal experience receiving a college scholarship and how it made them feel.
Other donors give for the recognition. And PPEF and PPAI are happy to recognize our donors. When you look at the list of donors, particularly at the Tomorrow Fund level, you’ll see industry-leading companies with a heart. These are companies that give because it’s in their culture to give back, to support the industry, to care about the future. Some give more than they normally would because we give them recognition for doing so. In this way they show their customers and employees a different side of the company—a side that brings respect and honor to their company name.
The final reason to give to PPEF is because it’s medically sound to do so. That’s right—it’s good for the heart. When we do something that’s satisfying, that makes us smile, our body knows it and we are healthier for it.
So, the tax analysts are wrong. Charitable contributions won’t drop because of the new tax code. At least not in the promotional products industry.
Visit www.ppef.us to view all current and cumulative donors, and for more information and opportunities to feel good.
You Shop, PPEF Benefits
If you shop on Amazon, you can donate to PPEF and it won’t cost you a dime. PPEF is now one of the more than one million charitable organizations that’s eligible for donations from purchases on the online shopping site. Choose your charity and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of your price on eligible purchases. Instead of going to the usual Amazon site, go to http://smile.amazon.com and select PPEF or use this shortcut to go directly to the PPEF page on AmazonSmiles: https://smile. amazon.com/ch/75-1714221.
Wayne Greenberg, MAS, is president of distributor JB of Florida/A Division of Geiger in Tampa, Florida, and chair of PPEF.