Butler County
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Miscellaneous Thoughts...

I opened the email just before noon on Sunday. It didn't come as a total surprise - we all knew that our friend and colleague, Scott O'Donohoe, and his bride Kelly were due to deliver their second child anytime, and Murphy's Law assured it would happen sometime prior to our Tuesday Campaign Celebration.

But I wasn't quite prepared for what Scott reported in his email to us all, in his typically matter-of-fact way:  

"It's a crazy story of how he got here; the short of it is that Kelly's labor progressed incredibly quickly (a little over an hour from start to finish), and we weren't able to get out the door before labor was too intense to travel and she had to start pushing. I delivered Holden at home a couple of minutes before EMTs arrived. There were no complications, and everyone is happy, healthy, and at home.

And so, Holden Christopher O'Donohoe made his dramatic entry into the world last Friday morning, and broadcast his intentions to keep his parents on their toes and to draw as much attention as possible away from his big sister, Mabel."


I am sure you all will join us in wishing Scott and Kelly all the best as they get used to the idea of a family of four. My only caution, passed on by my own father: Think twice before deciding on number three, because it's a game-changer. You have to go from a man-to-man to a zone defense. And when they become teenagers, you may prefer not to be outnumbered.


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With this December issue, we are launching a new feature by Finance Chair, Mike Bain, about our planned giving opportunities. Year-end is also the perfect time to consider a supplemental gift to Butler County United Way. With fiscal cliff negotiations starting in Washington, one never knows what the future will be for charitable gift deductions. It's never too early to give and beat the rush!



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The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always my favorite time of year - not because of Mannheim Steamroller or the shopping or the Christmas specials on television. No, what makes this my favorite time of year is that people just tend to be nicer to one another than they are the rest of the year. I don't know why that is, but it is an unmistakable fact, and one I don't care to over-analyze. I think I'll just enjoy it.


* * * *


My eight-year-old grandson, Austin, asked me yesterday why we don't have our Christmas tree up yet. "Because it's not Christmas yet," I said. To hear him talk, we must be the only ones who have not yet unpacked all of our Christmas gear and set it up.

That exchange reminded me of when I was a child, before artificial trees became the norm. Most families would wait until a week or two before Christmas to set up and decorate their cut trees - to avoid all of the needles falling off before the Day itself arrived. Even then, we were laggards. Every year, we would wait until Christmas Eve and set up the plain green tree in the corner. When we woke up on Christmas morning, not only did we have gifts to open, but Santa had decorated our tree and the whole house!


What was even more remarkable was that he apparently had to wait until my parent's annual Christmas Eve party broke up to start - at least that was what my parents told me.


Did you have (or do you still have) unusual holiday traditions? If you would like to share, please email me at [email protected] and tell me. I'll share your traditions next month.


In the meantime, let me be among the first to say I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season!




YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS                                         CHANGING TOMORROW    

Individual Development Account (IDA) Program at SELF


SELF's Individual Development Account (IDA) program teaches financial literacy classes and goal-specific education matched savings accounts for low- to moderate-income clients so that they can acquire a home, start a business or access higher education. Thirty-nine people have purchased assets totaling $1.2 million (including 16 homes, 14 businesses, 7 educations and 2 vehicles)!


Meet Melissa: Individual Development Account Program


Melissa Beckett started saving with the IDA program so she could complete her BSN in nursing and increase her family income. Both Melissa's husband and mother are disabled and she has two young children, so she is the master caretaker at home and work. Melissa was an LPN but when her husband could no longer work, she needed to earn more to improve her family's financial standing. IDA classes helped Melissa learn financial literacy skills like budgeting, couponing, and saving. Melissa has developed better saving habits, utilized SELF's matching funds to pay for courses at Sinclair College, and will receive her bachelor's degree in nursing by the end of the year.




Significant tax savings can be achieved through a properly planned program of gifts to charity. Although a contribution may be motivated by humanitarian reasons, it is nevertheless wise to take the tax considerations into account when making a contribution. Charitable giving can be divided into two general categories. First, there are donations that are made on a regular basis and involve relatively small amounts. Second, there is the large extraordinary donation often associated with estate planning. Different planning concepts govern each type of donation.


Individuals, such as you, who make charitable contributions should take into consideration a number of factors when making the decision as to when and how much to contribute, including the deduction-limitation rules. Generally, the amount that you may deduct in a tax year cannot exceed 50% of your adjusted gross income. (Fortunately, the amount in excess of the limitation can be carried forward five years). However, lower percentages apply when donations are made to certain donees, when the contribution consists of capital gain property, and when contributions are made "for the use of" a donee rather than "to" a donee.


The IRS requires that contributions of $250 or more must be substantiated in order to be deductible. The burden is placed on you, as the donor, to request written substantiation because a canceled check may not be sufficient to support a deduction. The amount of the contribution is fully deductible whether it is paid by cash, check or credit card. However, a charitable deduction cannot be based on a mere pledge to pay. The pledge must actually be paid before the end of the year in which the deduction is claimed.


A charitable deduction is not allowed to the extent that you receive a benefit for the contribution, such as admission to a charity ball, banquet, show or sporting event.  In such cases, payments qualify for the deduction only to the extent they exceed the fair market value of the privileges or other benefits received. In addition, no charitable deduction may be claimed for travel expenses, including meals and lodging, if there is a significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation present in the travel.


A deduction is not allowed for the value of services contributed to the charitable organization. However, if you are active in such organizations, you should be aware that out-of-pocket expenses incurred while performing volunteer services are deductible as a charitable contribution. If you use your auto, you may also be able to deduct the standard mileage allowance of 14 cents per mile.


Noncash contributions present a unique set of planning opportunities. There are special rules for the donation of cars, boats, and planes if the claimed value exceeds $500. If you have appreciated assets, you may want to consider donating the asset rather than selling and donating the proceeds. Using this approach allows you to avoid the capital gains tax that results from selling the asset. In addition, the deduction amount is for the fair market value of the asset at the time of the donation, regardless of your basis. There are additional limitations and elections that must be considered when donating assets instead of cash, including the need for an appraisal.


Large contributions require special tax-planning considerations. First, you must determine whether or not it is advisable to make a contribution during your lifetime or at death. Thus, your income and prospective estate tax brackets must be considered. You should take into consideration the income tax deduction limitations mentioned  above, and the fact that there are no limitations for estate tax charitable contribution deductions. Second, you should consider whether you can afford the gift, not only in the current year, but in future years as well. This requires an analysis of the financial needs of you and your family, which may indicate that some form of deferred charitable giving is appropriate.


We can assist you with your short-term and long-term charitable giving plans and answer any questions you may have regarding your overall tax plan. Please call our office at your earliest convenience to arrange an appointment (513) 863-0800.






For many people, philanthropic giving is a lifelong commitment that provides both personal satisfaction and financial benefits.


Through the Butler County United Way Planned Giving Program, you can give a general endowment gift that benefits you and your family, while ensuring vital health and human service programs are available for generations to come.


To learn more, contact Mitchell Willis, Director of Resource Development at  [email protected]  or 513-863-0800.


Visit Our New Website...
Take a few minutes and browse our brand new website. Learn more about who we are, what we do, and what you can do to help. Visit www.bc-unitedway.org to get started!

...And Watch Our Video!
Watch Our Video

While you're combing through our new site, take a few minutes to watch our new campaign video on the home page. Be sure to share it with everyone you know!

Ginger United 






WI Women's Leadership

Volunteer & Networking Opportunities

We would love for you to join us for a time of serving our local youth while also networking with other women in our community.

Volunteer with us on the following dates, times, and locations to make a difference and make connections:



*Boys & Girls Club: Wednesday, November 14th | 5:30pm-7:15pm


*Boys & Girls Club: Wednesday, December 12th | 5:30pm-7:15pm


*Shared Harvest: Wednesday, January 9th | 12:00pm-3:00pm


*Living Water: Tuesday, February 5th


*Boys & Girls Club: Wednesday, April 17th | 5:30pm-7:15pm


*Shared Harvest: Wednesday, May 15th | 12:00pm-3:00pm


*Living Water: Wednesday, July 10th



Celebration of Progress 
During our Celebration of Progress Reception, held in the beautiful Vista Room at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts on Tuesday evening, Dr. Kevin Joseph, President and CEO of West Chester Hospital and the 2012 Campaign Cabinet Chair announced that Butler County has surpassed our $1.9 Million dollar goal by almost $1,700 dollars.
Dr. Joseph is shown above with Board Chair Karen Mueller.

Mother Teresa School joins the Annual Campaign
MTCES Students
Sister Anne and her staff and students ran their first campaign in support of community programs.
Pictured below, the student body and faculty present Resource Development Director Mitchell Willis over $1,000 of raised money.

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