“It’s really the highlight of the holidays to sit back and watch the generosity of our community revealed,” Nelson Clyde, publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, said on Friday. “It’s been the gift that keeps on giving for my heart every year to watch this unfold.”
Shine Your Light is an annual end-of-year giving campaign where East Texas residents can donate to selected nonprofits through the East Texas Communities Foundation. The campaign ends Dec. 31.
This year, the proceeds will be divided among a record-breaking nine agencies: The East Texas Food Bank, the Bethesda Clinic, The Hospice of East Texas, the Alzheimer’s Alliance, People Attempting to Help (PATH), the East Texas Crisis Center, The Salvation Army, the Samaritan Counseling Center and Meals On Wheels.
Last year, Mayor Bass issued a challenge to the community to raise more than $200,000, far more than the campaign had ever raised. The community surpassed the goal by more than $25,000, an almost 40 percent increase in giving from 2010. Mayor Bass called the effort “phenomenal.”
Since its inception in 2008, Shine Your Light has raised more than $600,000 to meet the most pressing needs in the community.
“I’m really excited about the challenge goal this year, $250,000,” Mayor Barbara Bass said in an interview Friday. “I’m also excited about the selection of nonprofits this year. We have some that haven’t been in the campaign before. Shine Your Light has been a tremendous success and helped to refill the coffers of nonprofits that help so many during the holiday season. They need to be replenished for the New Year.”
“My latest tax updates indicate the current proposals on taxpayers with income over $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married filing joint would limit their tax savings to 28 percent of their itemized deductions, including their contributions,” Mayor Bass, who is also a certified public accountant, explained in an email. “This means if the taxpayer was in the 39.6 percent tax bracket, instead of saving 39.6 percent in taxes on a charitable contribution, they would only save 28 percent of income taxes on the donated amount. The likelihood of losing tax benefits is causing some taxpayers to accelerate paying off contributions they have previously pledged to pay over multiple years, such as a three to five year pledge. It also means some taxpayers are contributing more this year while they can get the full tax savings benefit of their pledge. The consensus is that high income earners will lose some portion of their current tax benefits on charitable contributions.”
This year’s matching funds totaled $95,000, more than has ever been committed. The matching fund partners are the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Mayor Barbara and Billy Bass, the Fourth Partner Foundation, ETCF Harold and Rosemary Beaird Fund, the Niblack Charitable Fund, Terry and Dennis Darryl, Citizens 1st Bank, Drs. SJ Vukeja and Lawrence Anderson, Dermatology Associates of Tyler, American State Bank, and two anonymous donors.
To donate to Shine Your Light, visit www.tylerpaper.com, or ETCF.org, or mail your check payable to Shine Your Light c/o East Texas Communities Foundation, 315 N. Broadway Ave., Tyler, TX, 75702.