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Subject:  How do I handle a forced "donation"? Date:  8/23/2009  5:52 PM
Author:  KLTolly Number:  106818 of 121333

My husband volunteers to coordinate an annual program for a not-for-profit organization. (To quote a commercial, this is "a name you would know", and the program has existed for over 4 decades). There are several students hired on a weekly basis as counselors. After submitting a list of the expenses to be paid - facility, vendors, counselors, the organization provided checks for all but the counselors, claiming thatthe expenses were higher this year than anticipated. Hubby was told that if he wanted them paid, he could pay them himself, then submit for reimbursement. The organization collected the program payments directly in advance of the program. Soft touch that he is, he did not want the counselors stiffed after a week of 24/7 services, so he paid them, which I am sure the foundation was counting on. He has been provided the form to request reimbursement; unfortunately, it is a grant application that cannot be completed by an individual, as they do not award grants to indivduals, only to organizations. They now feel that we should consider this a "donation" to them, and move on.

He has volunteered for this organization (and this program) for over 20 years; this is the first time that he has been out-of-pocket for anything other than some postage and minimal expenses. We have always made annual contributions to the organization, just not in the neighborhood of $5,000 in one shot.

I looked at the IRS website, and it does not appear that we can deduct this on Schedule A, as all of the checks were made payable to individuals, even though the program was referenced on the memo line.

The real irony (to me) is that the program has historically run at a deficit; this year was the closest to breakeven ever! What they've done amounts to extortion, in my mind.

TIA for any suggestions.

Tina
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