Accountants across the nation are rejoicing that tax season is over, but those of us that sent checks to Uncle Sam may not be sharing the same joy. While I always view taxes as a bit of good/bad news (it means I made money), my favorite way to avoid the tax man is charitable giving. If you share the same opinion, please consider the following charities for your 2012 giving: The NephCure Foundation: If effort equaled results, my cousin Michael Levine could move mountains and cure any disease. When his son Matthew was diagnosed with FSGS, he made it his personal mission to raise enough money and awareness to find a cure. His efforts have reaped millions of dollars in donations and thanks to Teresa Giudice and The Trump Family, Matthew was presented with a check for $60,000 on The Celebrity Apprentice this past Sunday (starts at the 3:34 mark). NephCure is the only organization dedicated to finding a cure and improving treatment for FSGS and Nephrotic Syndrome, two debilitating kidney diseases. The annual Texas Hold 'Em event, All In For A Cure, is coming up in May and is one of the best nights of the year.
Jeremy's Heroes: Named for Jeremy Glick, one of the heroes of United Flight 93 on 9/11, Jeremy's Heroes provides at-risk children with programs centered around sports, teamwork, and community service. As a member of the board, I have seen firsthand the results of their great work as the children that are involved in the program thrive in school and in their communities.
The Challah Fund: My friend Ken lost his mother last week after a long battle with cancer. I asked him if I could send food to the house, make a donation...anything. I have known his family for almost twenty years and felt the need to do something. He asked that I make a donation to The Challah Fund which delivers Challah bread weekly to cancer patients of all faiths at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Saint Peter’s University Hospital. This organization has brought comfort and hope to many, including his mom.
March of Dimes: About three years ago, I read a story on Facebook about Paulina Levine, someone I went to high school with, but hadn't seen or spoke to in over 15 years. Her story about her two premature babies brought me to tears. At the time, she was raising money for a walkathon for March of Dimes. I immediately donated to support her efforts to and continue to donate annually. Last year, their team raised over $45,000 bringing their total raised to over $125,000!
Susan G. Komen Foundation: Every year, my Aunt Peggy participates in one of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure events. One of her dear friends was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago and she has focused her efforts on raising money to find a cure ever since. She does such a great job sending emails, that one year, I donated twice. At the start of each campaign, I tell her the same thing...raise your goal.
Tent City: Having a roof over our heads is something that we may take for granted. The residents of Tent City have no roofs. They are homeless and have formed a community in Lakewood. My Uncle Steven is there just about every week with a meal for the entire community.
Special Olympics: As long as I can remember, the Special Olympics has been important to my family. My late aunt was a special education teacher and the Special Olympics was one of her favorite days of the year. Every kid deserves to feel like a champion. While he was in college, my brother Zak and his fraternity participated in a Polar Plunge that benefited the Special Olympics. It's not a coincidence that he raised the most money every year.
I would like to publicly salute all of the people that work tirelessly, fighting the fights, raising the money, and doing great things for others. There are thousands of other charities out there that need our support. Use the comments section to highlight your favorite charity and I promise to make a small donation to any charity mentioned (please include a link).