BBB Offers Tips For Charitable Giving Ahead of #GivingTuesdayNow

As the economy slowly reopens and COVID-19 relief efforts continue, it can be difficult to keep track of all the information you need to know. Here are the bullet points you need to know today:

  • BBB Offers Tips For Charitable Giving Ahead of #GivingTuesdayNow
  • Dallas Provides Information About COVID-19 Relief Package
  • IRS: May 5 Deadline For VA, SSI Recipients Who Don’t File A Tax Return And Have Dependents To Act To Receive Full Economic Impact Payments
  • Bank of Texas to Donate $100,000 to COVID-19 Relief Efforts

BBB Offers Tips For Charitable Giving Ahead of #GivingTuesdayNow

#GivingTuesdayNow this Tuesday is calling communities to action and encouraging donations to COVID-19 relief efforts, including donating supplies to healthcare workers, buying gift cards from local small businesses, and more.

Before you get ready to support your favorite cause, though, it’s important to be careful when making donations. Nearly 200 charity scams were reported across the U.S. in 2019, with some consumers losing tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Some tips the BBB offered to donate securely include:

  • Choose the charity wisely – For example, more experienced relief organizations may have the resources and existing connections needed to deliver aid.
  • Verify trustworthiness – People can visit give.org to view charities accredited by BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance. Accredited charities meet WGA’s 20 standards of trust).
  • Cut out the middleman – Some charities may be collecting money to pass along to a larger organization. Consider donating to that organization directly or choose a charity with a local presence.
  •  Confirm the charity’s intentions – Look on the charity’s website, social media, or other materials to see exactly how it intends to use the funds. Avoid donating if the organization offers vague language without offering specific details as to how donations will be used.
  • Understand crowdfunding – It can be difficult to vet individuals using crowdfunding sites to collect donations. Only donate to crowdfunds created by someone you personally know or avoid crowdfunding sites altogether.

Visit now.givingtuesday.org for more information on #GivingTuesdayNow, and BBB.org/coronavirus for a list of WGA accredited charities donating to COVID-19 relief.

Dallas Provides Information About COVID-19 Relief Package

The city of Dallas’ relief programs launch today. 

Requirements for pre-screening for eligibility for rental or mortgage assistance include:

  • Providing documentation of the impact of COVID-19 on their circumstances, such as proof of job or income loss, either temporary or permanent.
  • Proof of reduction in work hours or income.
  • Proof of increased healthcare and household expenses that contributed to lack of funds for rent or mortgage payments, such as increased childcare expenses during school closures.
  • Copies of valid passports, state ID cards, or driver’s licenses for each adult in the household.
  • A birth certificate for at least each minor.
  • Proof of income, if any, such as check stubs, unemployment benefits, TANF, etc.
  • Proof of occupancy for all household members.
  • Those applying for rental assistance may also need a copy of their current lease, late or eviction notice(s) for monthly rent, or paperwork that shows how the household was adversely impacted by COVID-19.
  • Those applying for mortgage assistance will also need a copy of their most recent mortgage statement.

People can get pre-screened at dallascityhall.com or calling 469-749-6500 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The city also provided a list of documents to have on hand to apply for assistance through the small business continuity fund, including: 

  • IRS form W-9.
  • Documents that show the number of employees and payroll, such as IRS form 941.
  • Documents that show a 25% loss or greater in income since March.
  • Registration with the secretary of state or county,
  • Profit and loss statement from the previous year.
  • Tax statements from the previous year, including sales and use tax.

The financial statements and information will be presented directly to the program administrator. People can get pre-screened at dallascityhall.com and call 469-749-6500 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday with questions.

IRS: May 5 Deadline For VA, SSI Recipients Who Don’t File A Tax Return And Have Dependents To Act To Receive Full Economic Impact Payments

The Internal Revenue Service May 1 reminded Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries to act by Tuesday if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have dependents so they can quickly receive the full amount of their economic impact payment.

The IRS says their $1,200 payments will be issued soon and, in order to add the $500 per eligible child amount to these payments, they need the dependent information before the payments are issued. Otherwise, their payment will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount will be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

“The deadline is quickly approaching for these groups so they can get their maximum Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 and $500 for each eligible child as quickly as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “These groups will get $1,200 automatically, but they need to act quickly and use the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov to get the extra $500 per child added to their payment. Everyone should share this information widely and help others with the Plus $500 Push, so that more Americans get more money as fast as possible.”

The $1,200 automatic payments will be starting soon for those receiving Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return in the last two years. No action is needed by these groups to automatically receive their $1,200 payment.

For VA and SSI recipients who have a qualifying child and didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, they have a limited window to register to have $500 per eligible child added automatically to their soon-to-be-received economic impact payment. These groups can use the non-filers tool on IRS.gov by Tuesday to help put all of their eligible economic income payment into a single payment. The non-filers tool is available in English and Spanish.

Bank of Texas to Donate $100,000 to COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Money raised for the Get Shift Done for North Texas Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas helps hourly workers, who prepare and deliver meals to ‘at-risk’ populations for nonprofits such as OurCalling. Photo: Klekamp Group

Lastly, as usual, we end today’s digest with a story about how people and organizations are stepping up to help with COVID-19 relief efforts.

BOK Financial Corporation, parent company of Bank of Texas, announced last week that it will contribute $1 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts. Specifically, the company will direct donations to programs addressing food insecurity and re-employment of laid off and furloughed restaurant and hospitality workers.

Of those funds, Bank of Texas will be contributing $100,000 to Communities Foundation of Texas to directly support Get Shift Done for North Texas.

Get Shift Done for North Texas is an initiative that connects hospitality workers with local nonprofits to serve and provide meals to communities in need. They coordinate employing shifts of 1,000 workers to prepare 1.5–2 million meals per week. The meals are then distributed within more than 40 local cities and suburbs throughout north Texas. Hospitality workers sign up online for shifts at non-profit organizations to prepare, assemble, and deliver meals at a wage rate of $10 per hour.

“We all know we are in unchartered territory and the amount of need is extraordinary,” said Norm Bagwell, chairman and CEO of Bank of Texas and EVP of BOK Financial Corporation. “Get Shift Done for North Texas is assisting three critical needs in our communities by stabilizing income, providing hunger relief, and assisting our nonprofit organizations. We’re proud to be in a position to provide the needed support for North Texas.”

Communities Foundation of Texas CEO Dave Scullin thanked Bank of Texas for their support of the initiative.

“Bank of Texas has been a long-time partner in North Texas, and we commend them on their commitment to helping our community during this unprecedented time of immediate need. Their $100,000 donation to the Get Shift Done for North Texas Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas will go far in helping displaced shift workers and nonprofits on the frontlines,” said Scullin.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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