New city ordinance aims to protect donations - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

New city ordinance aims to protect donations

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By: Jenn Schanz

Charity bins, donation boxes, non–profit drop offs. They can be found all over Lincoln. But when city council members were informed that some of the donated goods were being turned into profit, they proposed an ordinance to stop it.

"These boxes ought to be for charitable organizations only," says council member Carl Eskridge.

The ordinance would require all bins accepting donations of household items, clothing or other personal property to go directly to a nonprofit organization.

Not only would the ordinance prevent deception to the public, it would also help ensure accurate tax deductions.

Council member DiAnna Schimek explains, "when you or I make those donations we think we're making a charitable contribution, so then we declare a charitable contribution on our tax returns and, in fact, we are unwittingly violating the law."

Some supporters of the ordinance are local nonprofits like the salvation army, that rely completely on donations to stay in business.

"If somebody is posing as a nonprofit organization and receiving donations based on that and then you know, they're selling the product for a profit, I think that's not a good thing. I think that's very immoral, that's cheating," says local Salvation Army store manager Shellie Rahe

If passed, any violator of the ordinance could be fined up to 500 dollars and spend up to six months in jail.

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