Be smart about your taxes. Donate to The Maine Monitor by Dec. 31.

The best reason to support us may not be financial. It’s because our brand of in-depth reporting makes Maine a better place.
a $20 bill and a $10 bill
There are a few special reasons this year to consider giving to qualified nonprofits such as ours, and save yourself a little cash at tax time. Photo by George Harvey.

You can beat the tax collector by donating to The Maine Monitor before Dec. 31.

Numerous places ask for donations at year’s end. Even some for-profit Maine media companies have done it lately. (Tip: Donating to them is not tax deductible.)

This year, there are special reasons to consider giving to qualified nonprofits such as ours. Renee Johansson, the Monitor’s new development director — who you will hear more about soon — put together this “tip sheet” showing why December 2021 is an especially strategic time to give:

Special tax savings for cash gifts are set to expire. In 2021, cash gifts made to qualified charities can be used to offset up to 100% of your adjusted gross income. In 2022, the deductibility of cash gifts will be limited to 60% of your adjusted gross income. That means you save more in taxes if you make a cash gift before Dec. 31, 2021.

Timing your gifts: If you mail a check, it must be dated and postmarked on or before Dec. 31, 2021 to qualify for a tax deduction this year. If you use a credit card, the gift is considered made on the date of the charge, regardless of when you pay your credit card bill.

IRA-required minimum distributions are back. After being waived for 2020, required minimum withdrawals (or RMDs) from your IRA are again in force for 2021 for individuals age 72 and older. If you wish to support The Maine Monitor or another qualified nonprofit with this RMD income, you can donate it as a qualified charitable distribution. This way, your IRA will not generate taxable income for 2021. Note that the funds must leave your account by Dec. 31.

What does a donation to the Monitor achieve? Impact journalism, the kind of reporting that makes Mainers more aware — and makes Maine better.

One recent example is Rose Lundy’s reporting on nursing home closures and the troubling, rising trend of health-care facilities using more temporary, “contracted” workers to try and stay open, rather than regular staff.

Another was last week’s article by Samantha Hogan about the Maine attorney general suing a Lyman lawyer, who represented indigent criminal defendants, for “negligent misrepresentation of billing.” Since 2016, the firm Fairfield & Associates received $6.8 million in public money by doing this kind of work. The Monitor, working with national media partner ProPublica, broke the story in 2020, showing that Maine’s one-of-its-kind program for representing indigent criminal defendants badly needs reform.

Hogan’s latest article was picked up by numerous newspapers and news websites across the state. Which raises another point: The Monitor believes in impact journalism so strongly that we send our articles, for free, to 140 media contacts throughout northern New England within 24 hours of our own publication. No other Maine media outlet does this.

Also remember, through Dec. 31 every donation the Monitor receives is matched dollar for dollar by News Match, a national program run by the Institute for Nonprofit News. You can double your financial impact by giving now.

The Washington Post’s slogan in recent years is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” At The Maine Monitor, we also believe that Maine withers in darkness.

Your donation can help us, and the New England media partners that regularly republish our work, make sure that doesn’t happen.


Eric Conrad

Eric Conrad worked as an editor and reporter, at news organizations from Florida to Maine, for 30 years, and joined The Maine Monitor in July 2021 as its Executive Director and Editor. He served as executive editor of daily newspapers and websites in Augusta and Waterville, and in Danbury, Conn. He previously was the managing editor, sports editor and city editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Eric and the teams he’s led have won many national, regional and state awards. He is a founding member of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition and a past president of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors.
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