Barack Obama, and his wife, Michelle, have donated $240,370 to charity over the last year, which represents 5.7 percent of their income, according to their tax return for 2007. (My note: If you calculate this out, that puts their 2007 income at over $4.2 million.)
The Obamas donated to 33 churches and charities in 2007, with the United Negro College Fund receiving the largest gift, of $50,000. They also gave $35,000 to CARE, the international relief organization, and $26,270 to Trinity United Church of Christ, whose pastor is Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.
- The Obamas released general information about their income and charitable donations since 2000 last month, which revealed a sharp increase in income and percentage of charitable contributions starting in 2005. From 2000 through 2004, the Obamas' total income did not top $300,000 and their charitable giving represented about 1 percent of their income. (My note: So, under more normal circumstances, when he's not running for President, Obama donated about $3,000 per year to charity ... less than a third of what a family like mine, which makes around $100k per year and is tithing, donates. Hmmm.)
In 2007, John McCain contributed $105,467 of his $405,409 income to charity, according to his tax returns, which represented 26 percent of his total income. In 2006, he donated 18 percent — $64,695 of $358,414 in income — to charitable efforts.
According to Mr. McCain's campaign, most of his charitable contributions were made through the John and Cindy McCain Family Foundation, which supports organizations that work "for the spiritual, educational, and medical needs of the community." Supported organizations include Operation Smile, which repairs facial abnormalities in young people, and the Halo Trust, which removes land mines.
Cindy McCain, an heir to a beer fortune who keeps most of her finances separate from her husband's, did not release her 2007 tax return or disclose how much she donated to charity on her own. But Senator McCain said she donated the same amount he did, $105,467, from their joint assets.
- Senator McCain donates royalties from his books and increases in his Senate salary to charity.
- The National Endowment for the Arts ($35 million increase in 2008)
- U.S. Dept. of Education's "Arts in Education Model"
- Artist/Museum Partnership Act (S 372) giving tax breaks to artists
- "Early learning challenge" grants ($10 billion/year)
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers (would double the federal budget for this after-school program)
- A proposed "step up" plan supporting summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children
- American Opportunity Tax Credit (would ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is free for everyone, would cover 2/3 of the average cost of tuition at public colleges, and make community college tuition free)
- More federal money for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- Would require companies to pay more (to the government) for carbon emissions in order to help low-income people pay heating and cooling bills
- He also "fundamentally wants to encourage bright young people to become civil servants," through methods that some fear would bleed talent from nonprofit organizations (in order to increase or support an increase in federal bureaucracy)
- He would also significantly expand slots in public-service programs such as AmeriCorps and Peace Corps