It’s the ninth day of my 12 Days of Charitable Giving for 2020. Readers have suggested deserving charities over the past few weeks, and I’ll be posting the results here. Today’s charity is the Women’s Initiatives that Strengthen and Empower (WISE).

WISE is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing educational and vocational opportunities to families, displaced women, and children in developing countries. They work through local women’s centers, providing high school and college scholarships, support to displaced women, and vocational training. They currently work primarily in the sub-Saharan country of Zambia.

Our nominator says she is “a firm believer in education as an equalizer, which is why I am impressed by the work that WISE is doing in Zambia.” She notes that “They work mostly in rural areas and provide opportunities for otherwise vulnerable and marginalized populations and she “especially like their focus on women and girls who are particularly vulnerable in the context of a developing country.”

Why does this matter? Our nominator stresses that “[e]ducation has a multiplier effect in the sense that when you educate a girl you pull a whole family out of poverty. Studies have shown that educating women and girls is particularly beneficial to the families and future children of these women and girls. In developing countries, the majority of the poor are women and girls and so empowering them is one of the most effective ways of meaningfully reducing poverty.”

So how can you help? You can make a donation by credit card by clicking over to the website.

For federal income tax purposes, if you plan to claim a deduction for a cash contribution, you’ll want to keep a record of the donation. Ideally, the organization will provide a written record with the name of the charity, date, and amount of the contribution.

And this year, don’t forget that taxpayers who make cash donations of up to $300 before December 31, 2020, are now eligible for a charitable deduction when they file in 2021 – even if they don’t itemize. As part of the CARES Act, the special $300 deduction is available to taxpayers who choose to take the standard deduction rather than itemizing their deductions.

Do your homework. As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ new Tax Exempt Organization Search (formerly Select Check) reveals that WISE 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 or Instagram.

Remember: Readers nominate their favorite charities to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving, and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the organizations. So be generous but be smart: Do your homework.

For more on making charitable donations, click here.

For other charities in the series, see:

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.

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