Panel OKs charitable incentives

Here the week’s top nonprofit stories reported elsewhere:

* The Senate Finance Committee passed a tax package that includes a charitable deduction for non-itemizing taxpayers, and tax-free distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, for charitable purposes, United Way of America reported Nov. 15.

* The share of giving to groups most directly focused on helping the poor accounted for less then 10 percent of all giving in the U.S. last year, an all-time low, The New York Times reported Nov. 14.

* Private donations to Katrina relief total nearly $2.7 billion in just 11 weeks after the storm, compared to a total of $2.8 billion given to 9/11 charities, USA Today reported Nov. 13, although Katrina and Rita also have spawned fundraising scams, the newspaper reported.

* Katrina’s devastation has spurred fundraising by black philanthropies and changed how the Red Cross deals with the black community, The New York Times reported Nov. 14.

* Catholic Charities has raised $101 million for hurricane disaster relief and allocated more than $36 million to 58 local Catholid Charities agencies and other Catholic groups, Catholic News Service reported Nov. 11.

* A three-month investigation by The Hartford Courant found that some groups raising money to help veterans give only a small share of the proceeds to charity, the Associated Press reported Nov. 9.

* A survey of CEOs at the fastest-growing U.S. companies by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that while three-fourths of those firms gave to charity, most did not see that giving as helping them grow, The New York Times reported Nov. 13.

* The federal government brought charges against Partners in Charity, an Illinois nonprofit, as part of a crackdown on charities that allegedly engage in improper tactics to help homebuyers afford a downpayment, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 9.

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