Issues affecting charities and donors
The March of Dimes Foundation is a tax-exempt charity with 1,400 employees and millions of volunteers and donors. At both the federal and state levels, staff and volunteers advocate for public policies that support a healthy independent sector and encourage charitable giving. Current examples of our work include:
Our government affairs office is advocating for reauthorization of the "IRA Rollover," a federal tax provision enacted in 2006 which expired at the end of 2009. Reinstating the provision would allow individuals aged 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to charity without having to count the donation as taxable income.
March of Dimes chapters often advocate in support of proposals to encourage charitable donations and to strengthen the environment for non-profit organizations. The following list of advocacy initiatives includes topics on which March of Dimes chapters have supported in recent years.
- Creating tax incentives to promote charitable contributions.
- Creating a check-off box on the state income tax return form to direct funds toward March of Dimes projects--this was achieved by the California Chapter with donations directed towards birth defects research.
- Creating an exemption for nonprofit organizations from restrictions on the use of raffles or lotteries.
- Exempting nonprofit organizations from sales tax and 800-number excise taxes.
- Exempting nonprofit organizations in states that adopt a "do not call" list.
- Earmarking revenue for the March of Dimes from specialty license plates--this was achieved by the Florida Chapter.
See also: Advocacy and Government Affairs Issues and advocacy priorities
Most common questions
Are charities allowed to lobby?
The March of Dimes is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3), which defines us a charity, meaning that we are exempt from federal income tax and donations to us are tax-deductible for the donors.
This designation stipulates that as a tax-exempt organization, we must be nonpartisan, so we cannot ever endorse a particular politician or political party. And it means our lobbying must be "minimal" - meaning that resources devoted to it are constrained. As long as we stay within that framework, the law and regulations provide that we may lobby at all levels of government.
If the price of stamps goes up, does this affect the March of Dimes?
Yes, the March of Dimes takes advantage of the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates and other incentives offered by the U.S. Postal Service. So we are closely following the currently proposed 4 to 6 percent increase in these rates. If allowed to go into effect, this would substantially increase mailing costs for the March of Dimes as well as other nonprofit organizations.
When was FDR’s profile put on the dime?
In 1945, U.S. Representative Ralph H. Daughton of Virginia introduced H.R. 4790 to create a dime "bearing the likeness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt." The dime was chosen due to the significance of President Roosevelt asking the public to send a dime for research to stop the incidence of polio and to aid victims of the disease. Following passage in both the House and the Senate, President Truman signed the legislation into law. The first Roosevelt dime was minted in 1946.