It’s the eleventh 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 days to squeeze in you charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2014 – so why not consider one of our twelve?
Today’s featured charity is Phantom Projects Theatre Group.
Phantom Projects isn’t children’s theatre, it’s powerful theatre aimed at one of the hardest audiences to reach.
Phantom Projects began in 1996 when 17 year old Steve Cisneros, then a high school senior, directed No Way to Treat a Lady, a play penned by Bruce Gevirtzman, that dealt with teen pregnancy prevention. By the time Cisneros was 19, he had a hand in creating two other shows, one about drug/alcohol prevention and the other about prejudice and racism. Those three shows toured to middle schools and high schools in southern California and featured real teens and a post-show discussion. It was, as Cisneros says, “the ultimate peer education program, as young people got to learn and hear from other young people.”
Today, Phantom Projects still uses theatre as a teaching tool – but now uses incorporates literature, as well. In addition to those touring shows, the organization now does shows based on popular books, such as The Outsiders, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Giver. Those shows are made available for only $7-$8 per seat: those prices have only been raised three times in 18 years.
Each year, Phantom Projects works with nearly 100 performers who give their heart and soul to the shows, donating their time, so that the shows can inspire, educate and motivate young audiences.
So how can you help?
Phantom Projects hopes to raise $25,000 this season to keep performers on stage and youth in the audience. You can help them reach their goal by making an online donation.
You can also volunteer your time.
Since 40% of the organization’s financial support comes from the sale of tickets, why not see a show? You can buy individual tickets here or season tickets here for shows at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, California. Remember that you don’t get a charitable deduction for tax purposes when you receive something of value that’s equal to the check you’re writing. That means that buying tickets at face value yields no charitable deduction. However, if you round up (say, giving $50 for the $35 season tickets), the amount that you donate to the organization in excess of what you receive would be deductible.
Additionally, if you buy tickets not for personal use but for another charitable organization (say, the Girl Scouts or a local school), that amount would be deductible. Be sure to ask about details from not only Phantom Projects (Call 714.690.2900 for information about group sales) but also the charitable organization you intend to support. You would get the charitable donation and support Phantom Projects with tickets sales – a win-win!
If you donate cash or tickets, be sure to get a receipt if you intend to claim a charitable deduction.
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 Phantom Projects is on the list. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
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:
- Making Your Gifts Count: 10 Smart Tips For Charitable Giving
- 12 Tips for Year End Charitable Giving
- Ask the taxgirl: Charitable Contributions and Receipts
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