Holiday giving tips during this pandemic year of need

December 16, 2020 | 5:00 am


The holidays are a time for giving, and it’s needed now more than ever.

Traditionally, about one-third of all charitable giving is done in the last three months of the year, and of those donations, nearly 20 percent are given in December alone. But the end of this long, difficult year has seen millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to get food on the table. For those who are able, you may feel moved to be extra generous this holiday season.

For the Bakersfield-based injury and accident law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the law firm, its attorneys and staff supported dozens of worthy causes, nonprofits and charitable organizations throughout Kern County during the year.

“Kern County is the home of our law firm, but it is also the home of our clients, friends, and families,” said managing partner David Cohn. “It’s important we all come together to help our neighbors, especially during this pandemic year.”

As we enter the holidays and near the New Year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles would like to recommend local causes and nonprofits you may consider supporting, as well as provide some giving tips, courtesy of Charity Navigator, at the bottom of this article. For a full list of causes supported by the law firm, visit our “Community” page at chainlaw.com.

  • The Hub of Bakersfield: The local nonprofit is committed to redefining and revitalizing Bakersfield’s urban core through various programs, events, and projects. As part of the nonprofit, the new Bakersfield Innovation Lab is a 10-month program where a select group of participants, who are passionate about the place they call home, come together to develop an impactful project to make the greater downtown Bakersfield area a more desirable place to live, work and be for all. Why is this relevant for Chain | Cohn | Stiles? Well, associate attorney Tanya Alsheikh was part of the inaugural Innovation Lab class, and marketing director Jorge Barrientos is a program facilitator and a member of the board of directors for The Hub! Not to mention, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has called downtown Bakersfield home for 85 years, so this is an important program. Learn more about Hub of Bakersfield and the Innovation Lab at thehubofbakersfield.org.
  • Bakersfield Museum of Art: Year-round, Chain | Cohn | Stiles supports the local art museum and its educational programs.
  • Bike Bakersfield: This nonprofit is a local bicycle advocacy coalition providing family friendly bike rides, bicycle safety education, and bike repair. In particular, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has partnered with Bike Bakersfield as part of its mission to reduce the number of accidents in our community, giving away hundreds of free bicycle lights and safety helmets throughout Kern County through “Project Light Up The Night”.
  • Bakersfield Homeless Center: Efforts by City of Bakersfield and Kern County to tackle the issue homelessness are underway. To help, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has donated $10,000 to the Bakersfield Homeless Center’s job skills training program and street cleaning team. The program helps homeless center residents move forward with their lives while making a difference in our community. The program is designed to be a transitional program, where participants gain real-world skills, build confidence, and develop experience to find long-term employment.
  • MADD Kern County: Since 2009, our community has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year, with nearly 4,400 DUI arrests in 2018, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. That’s 12 DUI arrests per day. For the rate of DUI-related fatal collisions per 100,000 people, Kern County ranks highest in the state and second highest in the nation. Each year in Kern County, dozens of innocent lives are lost – plus hundreds more injured and thousands of friends and families affected – from this 100 percent preventable crime. We can all play a part to help make sure our streets are safe. Chain | Cohn | Stiles for many years has partnered with MADD Kern County to combat DUI crashes. Attorney Matt Clark sits on the MADD Kern County Advisory Board, regularly speaks to DUI offenders during the MADD Victim Impact Panels, and is the recent recipient of the “Pursuit of Justice” Award by MADD Southern California. Law firm marketing director Jorge Barrientos is the planning committee chairman for the annual “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash“, in which the firm is presenting sponsor.
  • Valley Fever: California experiences more than 2,000 new cases of Valley Fever each year, and most were reported in the southern Central Valley regions of Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties. Chain | Cohn | Stiles along with California health officials warn people about Valley Fever year-round.
  • Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: The law firm sponsors several Hispanic chamber events throughout the year, which support local businesses, bring cultural awareness, and raise funds for scholarships, among other things.
  • California Highway Patrol CHiPs for Tips: The fundraiser supports the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows and Orphans Trust Fund, which goes toward to families when a loved one is killed in or off the line of duty.
  • CSU Bakersfield Alumni Association: The association’s annual event raises funds for alumni scholarships, membership outreach, and mentoring opportunities for current CSUB students. Attorneys Beatriz Trejo and Chad Boyles are alumni of CSUB, and Boyles is a member of the alumni association’s board of directors.

 

Giving Tips

  • Before you give to any charity, examine the charity’s finances. Make sure the group is a financially healthy organization, sustainable, accountable and transparent. Look for signs of effectiveness. The charity’s ability to bring about meaningful change is the key reason for their existence and for your donation. These websites will help you check on your charity:
  • Give to an organization that matches your beliefs and goals. There is a charity out there that matches your intentions. Take the time to find it and confirm it offers the programs and services that match your charitable interests.
  • Take the time to research your charity so that you can trust them, and then give an unrestricted gift so the charity has the flexibility to respond to changing demands for its services and to spend the money where it is most needed to continue their day-to-day good work. Don’t put strings on your gift.
  • If you gave earlier in the year to an organization helping in a disaster, go back to that organization and give more. Much of the need from any disaster comes later, during the recovery period.
  • Giving before the year’s end can get you a tax break. Check with your tax planner to see if you’ll benefit. This year, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, taxpayers who take the standard deduction are allowed an additional deduction of up to $300 for charitable donations made in cash.

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