What is the difference between donating to City Pulse and the City Pulse Fund?


A reader asks: What is the difference between donating to City Pulse and the City Pulse Fund?

Let’s start with what the City Pulse Fund is, which is an educational nonprofit. It was organized in 2019 in accordance with section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service code. Its officers are me as president, Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Eric Freedman as vice president and longtime City Pulse contributor Bill Castanier as secretary.

The Fund has been used primarily to pay for editorial content by non-staff writers — the folks we call contributors on page 4.  Thanks to the Fund, we have been able to increase the amount of local freelance content and also pay our contributors more.

The Fund is also used for special projects. For example, in 2020, it paid for a series on the political views of Michiganders on the presidential race. Last year, it paid for the local League of Women Voters’ Voting Guide as an insert in City Pulse — which greatly increased distribution of the guide over that of previous years.

The Fund’s funds mostly come from readers, and those who give to the Fund may declare their gifts as deductions. That’s a great reason to give to the Fund — but keep in mind that the IRS has in recent years established a high total threshold for such deductions. As the website Vox put it, “Charitable deductions are mostly for the rich.”

Therefore, unless you’re rich and want the deduction, we hope that if you give, you will give directly to City Pulse. Why? Gifts to City Pulse, which is a for-profit business, can be used for anything. Your gifts to City Pulse can pay the rent, salaries, utilities, paper and everything else it takes to keep the weekly miracle in business. Money from the Fund is limited by the IRS code to educational purposes, and so when the Fund gives money to City Pulse, we make sure it is used for stories and other educational projects, not for the routine expenses associated with running a business.

The bottom line: Give to the City Pulse Fund if you think it will be tax deductible. Otherwise, give to City Pulse. Please.

If you wish to give by credit card, you may use the QR code on Page 3 to make an online donation, or you may call (517) 999-6704. If you prefer to pay by check, make your donation to either City Pulse or the City Pulse Fund and mail it to City Pulse, 1905 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48912.


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