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Helpful Tax Information for Planning Year-End Charitable Giving

We all want to ensure that we are considering tax moves that are smart, and help take full advantage of the deductions that are available to us.  The tax codes are ever-changing, and it is important to understand how you get the best bang for your charitable donations.   

Legislation known as the CARES Act, designed to rescue the economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president on March 27, 2020. The Act, officially named the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, not only funds various health care needs but also provides financial relief for businesses, individuals, and institutions hit hard by the pandemic.

In recognition of the fact that charities’ fundraising efforts are impeded at the very time there is a tremendous need for their services, the legislation contains certain provisions beneficial to donors. Other provisions, while not directly applicable to charities, provide some gift-planning opportunities. 

We have included several articles that may be useful and inform your year-end charitable decisions. As always, it is important to consult with your advisors.

How the New CARES Act May Affect Your Gift Planning:

New Charitable Deduction Available for Non-Itemizers

Under the CARES Act, taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions will be able to claim a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash donations made in 2020. This means that you could add an additional $300 to your charity budget this year, recover a portion of it in tax savings, and help charities address extraordinary current needs.

Example: Suppose that you are over the age of 65 and your itemized deductions would total $12,000. You would claim the standard deduction of $13,700 rather than itemizing. If you give at least $300 in cash to qualifying charities this year, you can elect the standard deduction of $13,700 and also deduct $300 – for total deductions of $14,000.

Waiver of Retirement-Plan Penalties for Purposes Related to the Coronavirus

If you are under the age of 59½ and withdraw money from your retirement plan to cover expenses incurred by you or a family member related to treatment of the coronavirus, the 10% tax penalty will not apply, taxation of the distribution can be spread over three years, and you can add the amount you withdraw to the fund later without regard to contribution limits.

This does not affect charities in the near term, but it does allow retirement funds to be used for an immediate need while enabling retirement accounts to recover and be used in the future for family security or charitable purposes.

Charitable Deduction Limits Modified for Individuals

If you made a large cash gift in 2019, you could deduct it only to the extent of 60% of your adjusted gross income. This year, the CARES Act allows you to deduct it to the extent of your entire adjusted gross income.

Example: Suppose you had income of $300,000 in 2019, but from cash investments you made a cash gift of $500,000. Your previous deduction limit would have been $180,000 (60% of $300,000). In 2020, you can deduct $300,000. In both cases, the unused amount of the deduction could be carried forward and used to the extent of the limitation applicable to the carryover year.

Planning Pointer 1: Like the $300 deduction for non-itemizers, the modification of the contribution limit does not apply in the case of gifts for donor-advised funds and supporting organizations. The gifts in most cases must be to public charities like ours.

Planning Pointer 2: In the event you have made a multi-year pledge to a charity, you might want to accelerate payment of the pledge balance in 2020 if you can afford to do so. The charity would have the use of the money sooner – and you could use the deduction more quickly.

Increased Charitable Deduction Limits for Corporations

The contribution limit for corporations has been 10% of taxable income. For 2020, that limit has been raised to 25% for cash contributions. The purpose is to enable companies that are doing well in this economy to give more to their communities.

The Act also increases from 15% to 25% the percentage of taxable income certain corporations claim when they contribute food inventory for the needy. This may help replenish depleted food inventories at food banks.

Continue to stay safe and happy holidays! 

Jim Fralin,  Treasurer – Casa de Kids


Day of the Dead 2019

Memories of last year’s Day of the Dead event in Sarasota, FL. Special thanks to Larry and Denise Monaco for hosting such a successful fundraiser. Thanks to the generous donations made during last year’s event we were able to welcome new students into our program and support the graduation costs of three students.

During these unprecedented times we thank you for your support to continue this life changing work. Your gift of any amount will help our students break cycles of poverty.


Student Ingenuity

Pablo Aragon has graduated from college a year ago. He secured a teaching job last fall here in Oaxaca. Pablo lost his job due to the pandemic and is waiting in his hometown for it to subside. While at home, he’s been busy working in the fields with his father, and creating beautiful embroidery with his grandmother.
He learned to embroider by watching his 74 year-old grandmother embroider beautiful blouses and tablecloths. While waiting for his next teaching position, he is selling his own embroidery work.

Cinco de Mayo Online Event

Casa de Kids celebrated it’s 7th Annual Cinco de Mayo Event online on May 4 & 5th, 2020. Check below what we accomplished as well as news we shared during those days.

7th Annual Cinco de Mayo Event 2020

May 4 & 5


We all did it together–thanks to YOU! For our 7th Annual Cinco de Mayo event (online) we had goal to reach $6,000; and thanks to many, many friends showing their generosity, as of last night, we raised $8,510! (This will cover all our expenses for four months!)

Now we are able to assist our 25 students to complete this academic year with requisites like tuition, school supplies, food, and housing.

Your loving donation IS helping educate youth who are breaking family cycles of poverty!

If you’ve been too busy to see the short videos of our June, 2020, graduates, Jose and Jesus, you can still see them on our website. If you haven’t made a gift yet, or would like to become a monthly donor, please go to our secure website today — and bring hope to a student in need.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

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Success Stories

We are pleased to introduce you to Jose Alberto. He came to Oaxaca city from a small coastal town in the south part of our state. Intelligent and intuitive, he was one of the first students to come into our program in 2016. His working class family had great difficulty putting him through medical school, but thanks to our Casa de Kids’ donors, he is graduating in June to receive his 5 year medical diploma. He will then continue with two years of hospital internship.
We experienced Jose’s superb leadership skills when he assisted Drew Vogt on the earthquake relief trip in 2017, after his region had been decimated. He headed up the caravan of volunteers, a van, and a semi filled with thousands of items of hygiene, food, sleeping mats, and more. His peaceful and sense of calm fuels his passion to return to his people and be the local health educator and medical doctor.
 You and Casa de Kids are making this success possible!

Our story today is about Jesus Aragon. He was abandoned by his young parents as a baby so his grandparents took him in. They’ve done their best for him but do not have the means to provide a quality education. Showing a ton of initiative, he taught himself English fluently by the time he was 14 years old. While he has a solid 6 year history of being a straight A student, he came into our Casa de Kids program in 2016. Having excelled in a local school he overcame shyness and became his high school student President for two years. He has excelled at La Salle Prep school and is hoping to continue at the neighboring LS University campus. Please help us make this possible as he continues with education to independence and to move beyond poverty. We know he will thrive in the world and then give back to his community.

Your donation today will ensure:

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  • 25+ students stay in school through 2020
  • 2 disadvantaged youth can graduate in August
  • 3 new students are admitted into CdK program
  • 2 high school students can continue into university


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Past Cinco de Mayo Events

Memories of other “in person” Cinco de Mayo events in Sarasota, FL. Most people who attended donated generously. Now during this pandemic our student’s costs are the same while they continue to attend classes online. Please donate today!

Tax Benefits of CARES Act

New charitable deduction for taxpayers who do not itemize.
Beginning in 2020, individuals can deduct $300 in charitable contributions even if you do not itemize. Donations must be made in cash (check or credit card). Gifts of appreciated securities and gifts to a donor advised fund do not qualify. These gifts can greatly assist Casa de Kids” growing group of 25 students.
No cap on charitable deductions for taxpayers who do itemize. 
For 2020, the 60% cap on contributions is lifted, and donors may deduct up to 100% of their income. This is a significant tax savings for anyone able to contribute larger amounts. Again, this is only for gifts of cash (checks or credit cards), and only for gifts made directly to charity (not to donor-advised funds).
No required minimum distributions, but qualified charitable distributions still possible.  
The CARES Act eliminates required minimum distributions (RMDs) from many retirement plans in 2020. However, under the CARES Act, it is still possible for donors who are 70½ or over to contribute up to $100,000 directly to a charity without paying tax on the distribution.
The CARES Act is a complex new law. You should always consult with your professional advisers before making a gift.

Long Path to Becoming an MD

We’d like to introduce you to Jose Alberto, one of our four students in medical school here in Oaxaca city. He comes to us from the tropical, southern part of Oaxaca called Istmo. His parents have manual labor jobs, and could not afford to put him through medical school. Jose has been in our Casa de Kids program for three years, and is now completing his fourth year in medical school and is excelling. He has a few more to go. He will be the highest educated person in his family. Jose demonstrates excellent organizational skills, as demonstrated by his recent university HIV awareness marathon attended by hundreds of runners.
Jose also helped Drew organize an earthquake relief trip in Fall 2017, after the devastating earthquake in the Istmo region. A caravan of 12 persons, in a van and semi truck, took much needed food, water and medicine to thousands of people who’d lost their homes. While the trip was very emotional, Jose demonstrated strength under pressure! We are very proud of him.

Christmas Celebration 2019

To close the year, last month we held our bimonthly reunion which included a mini class on how to perform at a job interview. Teresa Diaz, our invited guest, gave our students 10 steps for a successful interview. This mini class was followed by Christmas dinner as well as gifts for all our students and visiting friends.


Meeting Eraclio & Exploring His Village

Last month we shared the first part of our exploration to visit one of our student’s villages. Our two car caravan included Drew, CdK associate Pam, her family and a guest who came from Connecticut, USA.
The student is Eraclio, a young man in our program studying mechanical engineering. He comes from a mountain village of 15 houses and 97 people, that has no roads and no cars. So, there is no auto access! We considered this trip invaluable to help us understand the challenges that our students from remote villages face, such as limited access to education, modern culture, and job opportunities. But we couldn’t have imagined what we would discover.
We drove over mountains that were 9,500 feet in elevation, entered the jungle zone, then descended a steep rocky mountain for 30 minutes. At the bottom we parked along a wild river and loaded up our backpacks to cross the suspension foot bridge. Hiking through the misty jungle’s steep path was like walking into another world! Eraclio explained to us that everything the town needs from the outside world must be brought up that same trail–on their backs.
We hiked passed ancient ruins of the ancestors, and marveled at the view of the town perched on the mountainside. The path was soon lined by fruit trees leading to a magnificent waterfall. Eraclio’s family welcomed us warmly and helped us get settled. School kids gathered around to stare at us fair skinned foreigners that seemed to appear from some distant planet. They laughed as Drew made funny faces and tried to converse in Spanish, just to learn that their first language is a native dialect, and Spanish is their second language. This brief encounter made it clear that when students venture to the outside world, they are faced with many cultural differences.
We enjoyed several walking tours appreciating that the houses were connected by pathways. While some people had homes constructed from their homemade concrete blocks, others had simple wooden structures typical of tropical regions. Some residents had hot houses for growing plants and vegetables, and one man had a small trout fishery. We learned that most cannot earn cash there, as there are few jobs and businesses. Most families live off the land and use a bartering system instead of money.
We also enjoyed two nights of Posadas, a December tradition in recalling the Biblical account of Mary and Joseph searching for a room at the inn. Town’s people gather at night, carrying candles and singing going to a home asking if there’s room. They’re invited in for hot chocolate and bread. Young people miss this tradition when they move to distant cities.
While solar panels provide just enough electricity for the basics, new internet access is causing new societal issues to surface, that have never come up before. While some young people say they never want to leave, they will be faced with the same issues their parents deal with such as lack of cash for supplies such as rice, beans, meats, and other household needs.
In closing; Access to the outside world is shifting their expectations and causing a new dilemma. If they want a more comfortable life and be able to support their elders, they have to leave the village they love.

Run for a cause

On December 1st, Worlds AID Day, CdK staff as well as students supported and participated in a 5K/10K run, benefiting a local HIV awareness campaign for college students. This big event was organized by one of our medical students (Jose Alberto) and hosted by a state of Oaxaca University (URSE). Also, one of our forensic science students, Berenice, WON second place in the 5K run. Thanks to many people our students are becoming leaders and understand about helping their communities.


Students & community involvment

Montserrat Cruz is now in her final year of Veterinarian at the Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca (UABJO), a public/state university in the city of Oaxaca. She is only the second person in her family to receive a higher education. Since she was little her dream was always to “be able to help care for all animals that surrounded her”.
During her busy schedule of classes, Montse interns at a local veterinary to support her studies. Huellitas Home is located in a marginated neighborhood behind the university she attends, in Colonia Cinco Senores. She got her job 1 year ago as school expenses where on the rise and family support was not possible. Here, she helps care for street dogs. Casa de Kids assists her with needed financial assistance so that she can keep up her internship and good grades.
When Drew interviewed her at the vet clinic, she said she wanted to work with animals, because “they reflect back to us what we feel, while sharing compassion and love when we need it; regardless of what we are going through, it seems as though they understand it.” Montse is always smiling specially when talking about her career. She always wanted to pursue higher education and now feels her dream is within reach! She will graduate in September 2020 and hopes to continue helping street dogs and all animals in general. Her hope is to be able to open her own vet clinic here in Oaxaca and help her family.

Learning can be fun!

This summer Casa de Kids hosted many visiting friends from around the globe. Chairperson Loren is great at inviting friends and spoiling them in the best restaurants, while Drew tours them around to local historical sites and architectural treasures. This scenic and sunny Oaxaca is home to CdK’s 22 students.
One of our special guests was Irish born, Estelle Shanley. She is a world renowned journalist, and presented to our group a special class on Etiquette & Business Protocol. Our students loved it and finished out the evening with a pizza buffet!

Celebrating Leticia!

One of our other recent college graduates is Leticia Lopez. A native of Oaxaca, she was able to realize her dream of a college education with the help of Casa de Kids. We attended her family festivities honoring her accomplishment, complete with friends, native foods and kids playing in the rain. Leticia earned her degree in Education from Centro de Bachillerato Tecnologico Industrial y de Servicios (CBTIS), Oaxaca. Congratulations Leticia!


Recent CdK Graduate secures his First Job!

Pablo Aragon was born and raised in Tuxtepec, a village from Oaxaca´s Papaloapan region. He is the first in his family to graduate from college. In August of this year Casa de Kids attended his graduation where he received a degree in Education. Only a few weeks later he scored his first teaching job at a local elementary school, Escuela Primaria Moises Saenz. The school is located in Tlalixtac de Cabrera, a municipality 20 minutes away from Oaxaca. Pablo is now in charge of a 4th grade class of kids ages 9-11. He’s on a path to independence!

Your Support Will Empower Orphans – Meet Sochi!

At Casa de Kids we envision a world where orphaned children experience the safety of a loving home while receiving a quality education. 

We are pleased to introduce you to one of the 5 students that our Giving Tuesday campaign is assisting. Our newest student is Sochi, who is 16 years-old. In her native language, her name is spelled “Xochitl” and pronounced “Sochitl”, but her nickname is Sochi. She is a vibrant and optimist girl living on her own, loves basketball and has almost a perfect Grade Point Average for several years. She is also becoming fluent in English, now her third language!

Sochi attends high school near Oaxaca city, living in a small rented room, because her little country town of 200 people has no high school.  She says, “My goal is to be a responsible person and work for a company so I can help provide for my family’s basic needs”.

CdK, with help from donors like you, is paying for her nominal rent and basic school supplies. We know that with her superior intelligence, stellar  GPA and endless determination, she can do anything! Please join us in helping Sochi with a tax deductible donation today.

$100. USD will pay for school supplies for one year.

$150. USD will pay for her rent for two months.

Consider forwarding this to a friend!



New Year Update, 1/2018

We ended 2017 by accepting three new female college students into our program, 2 new high school students, and hosted a Christmas luncheon for 15 people. All of the students in attendance received motivational books as gifts. Younger kids in the orphanage were given new shower sandals and gift bags of holiday candies. Each month we donate cheese and egg products to them to supplement their diet.

One of our star high school students, Jesus, received an essential computer for school, thanks to everyone who responded generously on GoFundeMe. He is shown here in a photo taken last week in his school music and dance performance in our city centre. We have two college students graduating in June of this year, and another would-be-law student to join us soon! Thank you everyone for helping us break cycles of poverty through education. Education is the key; You and I are making this a reality. In gratitude, –Drew L. Vogt, CdK co-founder & President


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