Monday we celebrated the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Dr. King was a civil rights leader, servant leader and phenomenal speaker; he continues to inspire our nation and the world to dream new dreams. Let’s not just take this day, but this week, month and year to remember and reflect on the freedoms we have as Americans, while we give back to our fellow men in Haiti. There is little doubt in my mind if Dr. King were living today, he would be leading the efforts to reach out and lead our nation once more to share sacrificially and compassionately with this devastated nation.
The American Institute of CPAs announced Tuesday a CPA mobilization plan to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti, while urging all Americans who are financially able to contribute to organizations providing relief to Haiti.
“This earthquake struck the poorest nation in our hemisphere with devastating ferocity,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, AICPA president and CEO. “The scope of this tragedy is unimaginable and heartbreaking and the AICPA and the accounting profession will be part of the relief effort.”
The AICPA is also accepting donations from member CPAs to its disaster relief fund — CPAs in Support of America Fund, Inc. — a 501(c)(3) that was formed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and was later used to collect contributions for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.. All of the contributions made now to the fund will be used to help victims of the Haitian earthquake on behalf of the U.S. accounting profession.
CPAs advise that Americans wishing to participate in the Haitian relief effort should give to reputable organizations and research their options. Charitable gifts are tax deductible and CPAs are able to advise taxpayers about what the requirements are for claiming a deduction on their taxes. Information about charities recognized by the IRS may be searched online at Guidestar.org. Information about groups working in Haiti is available through the U.S. State Department and the United Nations.
In the near-term, the scope of the disaster in Haiti is so huge the focus must be on immediate relief and assistance to help stem the unfolding human tragedy. Millions of Americans are stepping forward to contribute funds and more will be needed.
“The AICPA and its member CPAs stand ready to help facilitate and enable the transactions necessary to bring Haitians the help and resources they so desperately need now,” Melancon said.
CPAs have a strong record of providing pro bono financial advice to Americans seeking to put their lives back together after disasters, including the publication of a “Disaster Recovery Guide” aimed at helping Americans who lose their homes or are displaced by storms, floods, and earthquakes. While this guide is focused on Americans, many of the same basic principles will apply to Haitians as they recover from this earthquake.
The AICPA’s Web site www.360financialliteracy.org provides free tools, articles, resources and a list of where donations can be made.
AICPA members interested in contributing to the Haitian relief efforts may call (877) CPA-4ALL.
To connect with CPAs in South Carolina, please contact the South Carolina Association of CPAs at (888) 557-4814 or www.scacpa.org.
Blogger: Charles ‘Eddie’ Brown, CPA