It’s the second day of our 12 Days of Charitable Giving! In December, I’ll be focusing on twelve charitable organizations which my readers have nominated as most deserving of your charitable donation. You have a couple more weeks to squeeze in you charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2014 – so why not consider one of our twelve?
Today’s featured charity is The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
AFSP was nominated by a reader who lost her son to suicide. Founded in 1987, AFSP funds research, creates educational programs, advocates for public policy and supports survivors of suicide loss. In 2012, 40,600 suicides were reported. Statistically, that works out to one suicide every 12.9 minutes making it the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death among young people age 15 to 24.
AFSP organizes hundreds of events in communities across the country to raise money and advocate for social change and support policies that contribute to reducing and preventing suicides nationwide. Among the most popular events is the Out of the Darkness walks. Two major overnight walks are held each year: in 2015, walks are planned for Dallas and Boston. To register or get more information, click on over to their webpage.
If an overnight walk isn’t your thing, AFSP also holds community walks (find one near you) and campus walks.
Fundraising efforts have made AFSP the leading private supporter of suicide research. AFSP has funded almost $20 million in scientific investigations on the causes and prevention of suicide, and the treatment of those at risk for suicide. Funded studies include the genetic, neurobiological and behavioral factors that contribute to suicide, and testing interventions aimed at reducing suicidal behavior and suicide deaths.
So how can you help? In addition to participating in the walks, donations are appreciated. You can make a donation online or donate by mail or phone. To donate by mail, send your contribution to:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
120 Wall Street, 29th Floor
New York, NY 10005
To make your donation by phone, call: (212) 363-3500 Ext. 2013
Be sure to get a receipt if you plan to claim a charitable donation for your donation.
You can also support AFSP by shopping at linked portals like Amazon Smile and iGive.com. It’s easy – and there’s no additional cost to you. However, while you might get warm fuzzies from shopping through these portals, you won’t get the benefit of a tax deduction. You can only claim a tax deduction for donations when the value of what you’re giving exceeds the value of what you receive. When you shop through a portal, you’re not spending more money for the same items: the portal merely gifts a portion of your shopping total to the charitable. organization. Usually, as with Amazon Smile, it’s a percentage: for example, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to AFSP whenever you shop on AmazonSmile. That’s not money out of your pocket, it’s money out of the portal’s pocket. The bottom line is the same to you. As a result, you don’t get the benefit of the tax deduction – but it’s still a free and easy way to benefit the organization.
As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is on the list. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or check out their YouTube page.
Why support AFSP? My reader says, “No one should have to live with the loss of a child, especially in such a devastating manner. More importantly, no one should have to hurt the way my little boy did before he finally just couldn’t take it anymore. Supporting organizations such as AFSP may not wipe out mental illness and suicide, but it can certainly make a great contribution towards helping those who suffer on both sides.”
Remember, submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart. Do your homework.
For more on making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:

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Author

Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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