Supporting Community Philanthropy Today and for the Future

Charitable Tax Credit Blog

West Michigan has a longstanding tradition of giving. Kent County is home to generous donor partners who support nonprofits working to overcome inequities across a spectrum of issues, including expanding equitable access to food, education and housing opportunities and ensuring we have a thriving community with green spaces, the arts and much more.

As Michigan’s oldest Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation has connected people, passion and resources in our community for more than one hundred years, working closely with our nonprofit and community partners to address key issues facing Kent County residents. The Community Foundation is able to do this through the support of our vibrant network of donor partners.

The Michigan Charitable Tax Credit was a powerful charitable giving incentive that helped encourage donor partners to fund and support nonprofits until it was repealed in 2011. The recently introduced Senate Bill 127 and House Bill 4531, would restore the Michigan Charitable Tax Credit to apply to donations for endowed funds that nonprofits set up through their local community foundation. Endowment funds create long-term charitable capital that allows community foundations and their nonprofit partners to be strategic in their response to community needs, particularly in times of crisis.

The Community Foundation partners with more than 135 nonprofit organizations to build their permanent endowments. Examples include Arbor Circle, Baxter Community Center, Cherry Health, Dwelling Place, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Safe Haven Ministries, Inc., Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation, Women’s Resource Center and more.

The Community Foundation joins our peers across the state in urging state policymakers to restore this tax credit to empower families of all income levels to help local nonprofits build sustainable resources through gifts to permanently endowed funds. 

Research from Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center for Philanthropy found that $400 donations dropped by 50% statewide and $200 donations decreased by nearly 30% from 2011 to 2013 following the tax credit’s elimination. Today, the number of households giving charitable donations continues to shrink. These trends are concerning for the long-term health of nonprofits and communities.

Senate Bill 127 and House Bill 4531 would provide a 50% tax credit for donations to endowed funds at local community foundations, with a maximum credit of $100 for an individual or $200 for a family. This is an opportunity to increase support for our nonprofit partners while also encouraging a new generation of philanthropists, which are critical to sustaining the longstanding tradition of giving in our community.

Restoring the Charitable Giving Tax Credit will benefit the nonprofit community and its work to strengthen our communities, generous donors who support its programming, and state taxpayers. We invite you to join us in urging lawmakers to pass this legislation today and account for them in this year’s state budget. You can learn more about how to connect with your lawmaker at the Council of Michigan Foundation's webpage for policy and advocacy engagement


Marilyn Zack, vice president, Development, is responsible for the leadership, management and strategic direction of the Community Foundation's Development Department. She serves as a primary contact for donors and professional advisors, using her 23 years of experience at the Community Foundation to provide support and information on charitable, planned giving options. Marilyn holds the CAP (Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy) designation from the American College of Financial Services, which she earned in 2015.