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Should all charities be created equal?

May 10, 2010

I’ve been working on a paper about a Guatemalan tax case that distinguishes among different kinds of charities – with gifts to universities, and arts and scientific organizations getting special treatment.  All this has gotten me thinking about whether giving to certain types of nonprofits should be privileged above others. Turns out I wasn’t the only one – this symposium, “Philanthropy in the 21st Century: Should All Charities Be Created Equal?”, at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law focused on the same question.

I’m not sure where I come out on this question – on the one hand, the U.S. has such a vibrant nonprofit sector because all giving is treated the same – give to a church, to a museum, to a food bank and you get the same deduction.  Then again, especially in these tough times, maybe giving to benefit the poor should be treated better.   What do you all think?

Also, I’ve been reading Village Vibes, the e-newsletter of Canada’s Charity Village.  Subscribe to get some really useful info about Canada’s nonprofit sector, funding agencies, third sector research, and job postings.  A recent edition had some great links about nonprofit boards.

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