I had a couple drinks with my friends from high school last night (Go Hounds). It was via Zoom of course, which was efficient as much as anything considering we were as far flung as North Carolina, Seattle, Bolivia, and the Palouse.
The conversation was a rudderless boat floating down a lazy river to nowhere. This is what you want with your long-lost friends after all. But in between the good jokes, the bad jokes, and the general catching up, one unifying theme presented itself: the high value impact of acting locally. There's a wild world out there just begging for help, but a person can have a pretty definite impact by pitching in the community she lives in.
Acting locally means a lot of things, but right now it mostly means $money$. Support your local businesses by buying their goods and services. Support your local non-profit organizations by giving them money. Giving might feel difficult right now. That's fine. Don't break the bank. Just give what you can to something you think is important.
And, luckily, the United States Government wants to make giving easier during this time. As part of the CARES Act, individuals who normally take the standard deduction when filing their federal taxes can write off an additional $300 in qualifying charitable donations. Most individuals don't deduct their donations at tax time because they don't itemize their taxes – the standard deduction is a better deal for them. But now they are incentivized to give away up to $300 to qualifying charities (namely 501(c)(3) organizations). **
In Idaho there is additional reason to donate right now. 2020 Idaho Gives is going on until May 7th. This annual event raises money and awareness for Idaho nonprofits and offers a lot of opportunities for organizations to see their donations matched and maximized. As a donor, this means your money can go farther.
For me here in Moscow, this means giving small amounts to several organizations including the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, Backyard Harvest, Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, and the Palouse Land Trust among others. From wherever you sit, this might mean different dollars to different organizations. Whatever the case, consider something you want to give to and then do it. My friends, the US Government, and your community will thank you.
**There are additional incentives for high earning individuals and corporations. For information on those call your accountant or attorney.