Charitable Giving Pat Puhl

038: Charitable Giving with Pat Puhl – Part 2

Dec 30, 2020

In the first part of this series, Pat Puhl joined the podcast to talk about operating a sustainable nonprofit in 2020, what he did to ensure that their entire calendar’s worth of fundraising didn’t need to be scrapped or canceled, and the many potential tax benefits available to you when you give to charity. If you haven’t yet, click here to listen – we highly recommend you do so before you dig into today’s. 

In this episode, Pat and I continue our conversation. We talk about the impact of the Trump tax code and COVID-19 on nonprofits’ finances and donations, and why charitable giving is so incredibly important at this moment in history.

Here are just a handful of the things that we'll discuss:

  • Why the Trump tax code led to significant decreases in charitable donations from large donors. 
  • What Families For a Cure is doing to ensure that they can keep the promises they made in 2019.
  • The vicious cycles created by poverty.

Interview Resources


LeAnne Siddell: It’s The Retirement Trainer with Ed Siddell, a podcast about finding ways to help you become financially fit for your future no matter what financial shape you’re in now. The question is, why is charitable giving more important now than ever before? This is LeAnne Siddell and here to help us answer our questions and give us some guidance to stay in the best financial shape possible, The Retirement Trainer, Ed Siddell. Hi, ed.


Ed Siddell: Hey, LeAnne, good morning. Hey, just for everyone, this is kind of like part 2. And the reason I say that is, we finished the first podcast and Pat was kind enough to stay on. And we had a conversation, he shared some numbers with us and really, the whole premise of the first podcast was why it’s so important to give. And the impact that the COVID has had on this year.


Last year, when we talked with Pat Puhl, who is one of the cofounders of Families for a Cure, which is a local 501(c)(3) here in Hilliard, Ohio, community-based charity, the impact that the Trump Tax code, the tax law had on charitable giving, the negative impact and why it had that, but now, it’s kind of a combination of these two, it’s been, unfortunately, a perfect or non-perfect storm, if you will.


LeAnne Siddell: And I don’t think that Families for a Cure is on their own when it comes to this, we’ve heard this, but specifically here in the community that we live in, we’re watching those charities be affected in a great way.


Ed Siddell: Yep, charities, churches, I mean, everyone is being affected by this. And so Pat, thank you for kind of doing part 2 here, I appreciate it.


Pat Puhl: Welcome me back. Thank you.


Ed Siddell: So, when we were off the air, if you will, continuing the conversation, you said that, as you were getting ready for this and last time, it was more about numbers, in 2019, and the impact that it was going to have and so, you did some research and due diligence for you guys and Families for a Cure…


LeAnne Siddell: And planning reasons, moving forward.


Ed Siddell: Yeah, planning reasons, like you said for making sure that you can further your mission. So, let’s kind of go through that a little bit. So, the impact that the tax law change, like we had talked about, was going to affect everybody across the board. And it did have an effect on you guys.


Pat Puhl: It did, it absolutely did last year. In 2019, we saw some of our larger donors and businesses to a degree pulled back in some of their support. We didn’t have a whole lot of justification for it. By all intents and purposes, the businesses that didn’t come back, supporters were still in business, and the donors that chose to not continue long time still seem to be relatively in good positions. So, we sitting back and wondering what changed the situation there, it would seem to be that the tax code changes and the ability to not have to give because the same benefits had an impact on our small organization across the board.


Ed Siddell: Yeah, and so you shared with me, like percentage wise, it was down from… obviously, you said that you went all the way back to 2017 and that was kind of a big year from you. And then, 2018, you had a drop, and then, from 2017, when the tax code change kind of kicked in, which was ‘18 and ‘19, you had an 18% drop, right?


Pat Puhl: That is correct. In 2018, 2019, we had an 18% reduction in giving for larger donors. So, the ‘20, some thousand dollars that we didn’t receive that year, we can go back and identify where that money was. And it was from primarily longtime large-dollar givers, $5,000 and above. So, a couple big gifts that we historically had received, we did not receive that year. And that was a big surprise, that’s the first time that had happened.


And so, a lot of changes and people have a lot of choices. So, there’s a lot of things that go on there, but for someone that had been giving seven years in a row at the same level, it was a surprise to not get that that year and that’s the one thing that we attribute to that reason.


Ed Siddell: And so far, year to date, you’ve also had another really big drop and just going through the numbers year to date, is that through the end of November?


Pat Puhl: Yeah, through the end of October, so beginning of November, we’re around $80,000 of revenue for the year. So, we had some donations come in on an aggressive stance forecasting out within the year. I’m hoping we get $200,000 this year. So, if we were to achieve $100,000 in giving in 2020, that would be a 17% reduction from the previous year. So, as you and I talked about, if I go back to 2017, which was a peak year, we had a significant one-time large gift that they sent us over the top for our normal giving.


So, ‘15, ‘16, in those years, we were right around $150,000, roughly on giving. So, in ‘17, we had a big spike from a large one-time gift, it’s $163,000 that year. Since ‘17, we’ve been on a decline. And so, going through 2017 and forecasting $100,000 of donations this year, that will be a 39% decline over the years which is a scary position to be in.


And as I mentioned to you guys, we’ve felt the impact, the first time, I just ran numbers was last night preparing for today because I figured we’d have some sort of conversation there and I would have told you, yeah, we know our giving was down, but when I put the numbers to it there, my stomach dropped because that’s a significant impact, that impacts the ability to sustain and keep giving. As I mentioned before, in January, we committed to $70,000 of gifts and that was just for our community partners, that doesn’t include any individual patient experience grant, which this year has varied because of the COVID situation and people not traveling, but typically, we give out another $10,000 to $20,000, again, depending on the year and what the number of experiences we do. That’s another amount of money we have to account for. So, it’s been a scary year from the actual impact of we made these promises, how do we sustain them without depleting all of our reserves?


Ed Siddell: And so, you guys not only give directly to families in need, but you kept talking about your local partners, which are also 501(c)(3) charitable organizations that need help as well, that they don’t have the structure or ability to raise the kind of funds that you have in the past either. So, they’re also going to be affected by this as well, correct?


Pat Puhl: They are. And it’s a scary cycle because if you go back and you think through the year, people have lost their jobs. So, it has an impact on giving, but think about the typical cancer family, when a child or a family member is diagnosed, depending on situations, one of the spouses typically stops working, but we’ve heard and seen in 2020, it’s in those situations there, one spouse was not working already and the other spouse is either underemployed or not employed at all. And so, the need for organizations to support people in the community, whether it’s cancer families or food pantries, you take your pick, we outreach and the need has increased which has put demands on organizations to then do more.


And when we’re not raising money, it’s hard to do more. We’ve done a couple of special one-time gifts outside of the $70,000 that we plan for some of our partners because they need it. We gave money to the children’s hospital for one of their COVID funds, so basically pay bills. We’ve increased some of our giving to one of our organizations because they pay for travel expenses and people need to come to Columbus to go and get treatment at the James or other hospitals here. We pay for hotel stays and food and gas, like the demands where people needing more money to pay for gas and buy some food and pay for the hotel space is going up. It’s not getting any better. And it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. So, we’re really faced with making tough decisions.


Ed Siddell: And like you said, when families have a health crisis with family members, especially their kids, and they’re either unemployed or underemployed, then you have other family members that then become part of their charitable giving because they’re trying to help sustain them, as they lose their jobs. And so, it becomes a vicious cycle, all the way around the community. And that’s why giving is so very important.


Pat Puhl: Absolutely. I think this is a year where we’re all looking for something to connect to and there are a lot of people that need help. And if you’re able to give them support, an organization that helps others, whether it’s cancer related or just a broad community based there, organizations need your help, people need the help that nonprofits are providing. And the more that we can support them, the better off we’re going to be. And this is going to extend beyond 2020. It’s going to go into next year and beyond. Like, we’re just in an interesting place across all facets of life right now.


Those that can give, I think it’s a true character moment to how you can extend your legacy, where’s the perspective on helping the community grow and now is the time when the community really needs that type of help and support.


LeAnne Siddell: And I think with the isolation that a lot of us are going through right now, what we don’t see right in front of our face and sadly enough, this is not the headline for news right now, this is not something people are hearing through their TV, they’re not hearing it through their community because they’re not connected to their community, really, we’re all kind of little isolated and within our own walls. So, that’s why this is so important that this information gets out there and that people start to understand that you’re still doing what you’ve done for the last 17 years, you’re still out there, and we want to continue to make sure that you can do that. So, how do people get a hold of you, Pat Puhl?


Pat Puhl: Several ways that they can get a hold of us. Our office number is 614-321-3645. We can be reached through our website and that’s at, that’s all one word there. And then, our social media platform, our primary platform is through Facebook and that’s


LeAnne Siddell: And I want to also let everybody know that we have that information also posted on our website. We do have Families for a Cure, the link to your website on ours, which is So, if any of that information doesn’t get transferred over, we can hit at home by just saying EGSI Financial, we’ll connect you directly to Families for a Cure’s website. Thanks very much for the time today, Pat.


Ed Siddell: Thanks, Pat. I appreciate it.


LeAnne Siddell: Have a good day.


Pat Puhl: Great talking to you all.


LeAnne Siddell: Merry Christmas.


Ed Siddell: Merry Christmas, buddy.


Pat Puhl: Merry Christmas. Thanks again for having me and I really appreciate your support. You guys have extended this over the years.


Ed Siddell: Absolutely.


LeAnne Siddell: Thanks, Pat.




Get your complimentary copy of The Roadmap to Retirement Income