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April 16, 2009

Obama Donates .3 Percent of 2008 Income To Faith-Based Charities

The President and his wife gave $172,050 - about 6.5 percent of his gross income - to charities.

President Obama and his wife gave $172,050 - about 6.5 percent of his gross income - to charities in 2008, ABC News' Jake Tapper and Karen Travers report. The Obamas gave $8,050 - or .3 percent of their gross income - to churches and faith-based charities, which represented nine of the 37 charities, according to his tax return.

Here's a breakdown of some of the faith-based charity donations from Dan Gilgoff:

* $500 to Apostolic Church of God
* $200 to Brookland Baptist Church
* $500 to Brown AME Church
* $1,000 to Catholic Relief Services
* $150 to Crusade of Mercy
* $100 to First Lutheran Church
* $5,000 to New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity
* $500 to St. Leo's Residence for Veterans
* $100 to St Luke's United Methodist Church

Vice President Joe Biden reported an income of $269,256 last year -- after taxes that comes to $183,315, according to ABC News. The VP's office says: "The charitable donations claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the sum of their annual contributions to charity. They donate to their church, and they contribute to their favorite causes with their time, as well as their checkbooks."

The list of Obama's donations comes after the jump.

The biggest donations were $25,000 contributions to CARE and the United Negro College Fund, but other charities included AIDS Alliance for Children Youth & Families, American Red Cross, Apostolic Church of God, Book Worm Angels, Boys and Girls Club, Bread for the City, Brookland Baptist, Brown A.M.E. Church, Catholic Relief Services, Central Illinois Food Bank, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, the president's alma mater Columbia University, Crusade of Mercy, Direct Relief International, First Lutheran Church, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Haiti Foundation of Hope, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Illinois Head Start Association, Illinois Reading Council, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Martin Luther King National Memorial Project, Midtown Educational Foundation, Mujeres Latinas En Accion, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, National Congress of Black Women, National MS Society, New Orleans Areas Habitat for Humanity, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Rochelle Lee/Boundless Readers, St. Leo's Residence for Veterans, St. Luke's united Methodist Church, The Christopher House, United Negro College Fund and United Way of Galveston.


A couple of quick comments and a question about the Obamas' giving:

1. 6.5 percent overall giving off a handsome income adds up to $172,000 or so. That's quite a lot. I wonder how it stacks up to other rich Americans' charitable giving?

2. The .7 percent giving to churches and the like is definitely much smaller than the average giving for Christians, which, according to empty tomb inc. is somewhere between 2 and 3 percent. It's obvious the Obamas believe they can do more good with their money through nonreligious charities than with religious ones.

3. I don't see any listing for Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The reverend was our president's spiritual mentor and adviser until they parted ways. Is it possible Barack Obama gave nothing to his former home church?

This is sad. .3 % to religious charities. During campaign time everyone is invoking the name of God. The total charitable contributions of 6.5% is still less than the 10% tithe a church would expect. For someone that wants to spread the wealth, he sure does seem to be hoarding his. The other side of the religious charity donations is that you can't see a clear theological preference in those contributions.

Whoops--the Obamas' religious giving is .3 percent, not .7 percent. The latter figure is the total amount to charity the Bidens gave last year. My mistake.

And this is any of our business why?

Alison is right. It's not our place to ask how Obama spends his money, or how he spends our money, or what his college grades were, or who his associates are, or what his political philosophy is. He's the President, he knows best. It's our duty as patriotic citizens to never, ever question Dear Leader, or attempt to shame or embarrass him.

Which this disclosure certainly does.

Hey Allison, please lay off the Kool Aid. Bgates, I enjoyed the sarcasm. $172,050 is 6.5% of $2,646,923 - "man of the people" - sure. It just goes to show once again how people who attend liberal churches where the social gospel is preached and who constantly talk about social justice, caring for the poor, etc. consistently donate far less money to charities than evangelicals (and there are statistics that back that up). Yet it's the cheapskate, hypocritical liberals, like Obama, who are calling for higher taxes and more government social programs - even though local church-based charities have been overwhelmingly proven to be much more successful than government programs.

All this article proves is what a HYPOCRITE Obama is and how he doesn't put his own money where his "spread the wealth" and "being neighborly" mouth is - but he has no problem wasting the American taxpayers' hard-earned money. Wow. Kind of reminds me of Al Gore's nutty global warming rants against America's supposed damage to the environment when his mansion uses 20x the electricity of an average house and he's flying around the world on his private jet, while ripping on other Americans. Nice.

You misunderstand me, Adam. Almost everything Obama does is our business. How much he gives to God is not. That is between him and God, nobody else. I'm on your side here. I agree with you about Gore and all that hypocrisy. Maybe my math is off, but it looks to me like after taxes he gave 10% to charity. I don't know about you, but nothing I give gets reported on my taxes. I think it's really unchristian for people to be so worked up about how much he gives to the church - especially because all we know is what he reported. Get worked up about abortion and stem cells and all of those other really awful things if you want to, but for crying out loud, get a life and let God be God.

I always feel sad re the judgemental and somewhat mean-spirited comments made about President Obama on this web site. I have been a follower of Jesus Christ since my teens, but increasingly I am downhearted about aspects of evangelical Christianity.....but not Jesus Christ. I believe that it is alright to have different applications of my faith from the more conservative and narrow applications expressed in this magazine and especially by a number of the responders. I walk by faith and so does everyone....let's look to the love and light of Christ and watch our words about fellow believers, including our fellow believer, Prssident Barack Obama.

Many people see a big difference between a religious organization and a true humanitarian aid organization. Members of religious sects donating to their own religious sect where that money is often used merely to peddle and proselytize -- that sort of self-serving support is a far cry from donations that provide real aid (food, shelter, vaccinations, eye exams, medicine) to real people.

Total giving by the Obama family is a fairly decent amount, but the very tiny amount given to faith-based charities and churches says volumes about their lack of any true religious commitment. Biden's comments that claim that they support their favorite charities with their "time as well as their checkbooks" is a obvious dodge.

Beatrice81's comments about the difference between a religious organization and a true humanitarian aid organization reflects a misunderstanding about charitable giving. The whole idea that gifts to charities should be considered TAX DEDUCTIBLE is predicated on the idea that churches, being separate from the sphere of government, are immune from taxation for their religious and charitable (i.e., humanitarian) purposes -- that whole idea of separation of church and state. Later came the proliferation secular (non-religious) humanitarian agencies. The special privilege of tax exemption for churches was extended to include "non-profits" (other non-religious charities) that do a variety of charitable works (arts, social services, animal welfare, etc.). So all those "true" humanitarian aid organizations (and other non-religious charities) enjoy their privileged status on the backs of churches.

Also...VP Biden's tax returns reveal paltry charitable gifts that make Scrooge look like a philanthropist. His spokesman claims that Biden didn't report all his charitable gifts, but as a professional fundraiser, this raises lots of alarms for me. First, Biden is a career politician; second, he knows that his returns are going to be reviewed; and third, why did he report any gifts at all? Tax returns are documentation of an individual's use of their income. Going back 10 years (according to National Review Online), Biden never gave more than $1000 in a single year. Ever. In fact, in only one year (2007) did he report giving more than $500. And this is a joint return with his wife Jill, so as a family, they are perfect examples of what charitable giving research has shown, that seculars and liberals give at a much lower rate than do religious persons and conservatives. (Perhaps, as indicated by some research, because they consider their taxes to be a kind of charitable support, but that's another story.)

6.5% to charities is double the 2 - 3% average tithe of churchgoers. Interesting that there are readers who're comparing President Obama's charitable giving to the 10% tithing rule of the Old Testament. For starters, there are many evangelical churches who don't support the 10% tithe as a modern code of practice. I'd also like to know how many of the readers actually tithe, how much they contribute and how - net of tax, pre-tax, above the line or below the line (AGI). It's easy to throw stones at others when someone does the math for you and there's noone investigating you. Where's the breakdown of President Bush's charitable giving to compare with Obama's? Which leads me to ask another question, how many of you "Christians" are just harassing "Obama" because he's black? Note how people call President Obama "Obama" vs. "President Bush". When are you neo-confederate pond scum going to get out of the "church"?

Here's some comparison since I couldn't find any detail for President G. Bush. Mrs. Sarah Palin's(the darling of the evangelical right) 2007 % Charitable contributions over her AGI is 2.01%. 2.01%!!! She's on the bottom end of average giving for churchgoers!!! What happened to our 10% tithe?!! Ananias! Sapphira!! Most of that, $2,500, being a NON-CASH (read tax reducing) contribution to the salvation army. I would like CT, in the future, to provide some comparisons if you're going to bother reproducing information to stimulate the mob brains of your readership. Thanks! - EE.

And exactly how much did everyone posting here give?

I too feel sad re the judgemental and mean-spirited comments made about President Obama by so many Christians. It doesn't speak well of us. He donated a lot of money to a lot of noteworthy causes - healthcare, education, and many other good works.

He talks about being a Christian but why doesn't he give anywhere close to 10% of his income to CHRISTIAN churches and CHRISTIAN charities? Any of his favorite other causes should come after that, as above and beyond. In essence, he gives no money to his church. This is indeed shameful.

Your list is incomplete. Haiti Foundation of Hope is a Christian organization addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people in the impoverished and underserved rural communities of northern Haiti.

As for knowing what a person is giving, there is a reason why we ask political leaders for their tax return info, and that is to see if what they say is backed up by what they do personally. If they are going to make policy for others, perhaps they should make the same sacrifices themselves. The bible does exhort us to "know them that labor among us", and that is part of knowing who they are.
As for the "attacks" on President Obama, and calling him "Obama", read some blogs and news reports to see that is common to call a president by his last name only and is not necessarily disrespectful.
Again, regarding accusations of attacks on President Obama, it is in my opinion in part a response to the many vitriolic attacks over the years by the "left" on the "right", as well as the constant attacks and disrespect towards President Bush which has a large root in his open claim of faith.

First of all, by my back of the napkin calculation, the Obamas tythed from their after tax income. Their take home income was $1,723,696, and they gave $172,050 to charity. Therefore their giving was approximately equal to 10% (9.98%) of what they took home after taxes (this is what my family does also).

That they appear to be attempting to tythe is encouraging to me.

The way my family allocates our tythe is not so much looking at religious or non religious- some religious organisations are not so effective at tackling the issues that are close to our hearts. For instance the church we attend does not do much to tackle extreme poverty. We therefore try to find the most effective organisations (religious or not) to deal with whatever problem God lays on our hearts. This is good stewardship of the resources that we are entrusted with.

I know that many Christian non profits are well run and effective, but there are also many that are poorly run. Sometimes it seems as if the only entrance qualification for some Christian orgs is a bible school degree and no management experience. If they feel entitled to my charitable giving just because they are Christian, they are mistaken. As it says, by their fruits you will know them.

Every American President, for the past generation, has had an open claim of faith. That has nothing to do with anything, least of all the reason for why President Bush drew ire from not just the left - but the global community. Open claim of faith? If you mean an imperial, neo-colonial ideology with excessive use of the Lord's name in vain and action based on "faith" instead of God-given reason. Sure. As far as asking for tax return information, let me repeat - let's play a fair game. Such disclosures were not requested and not provided (to the extent that President Obama and his administration have done so) by past administrations. Let me repeat - where's the comparison to your would-be, supposedly more virtuous but decidedly unelected leaders? Also, your logic is confounding, you apply a verse meant for those inside the Church, but you imply and other readers agree that President Obama is not in the "Church" and is not Christian. In fact some people still think he's Muslim. Make up your mind! If President Obama is not a Christian why do you hold him up to the Light of Scripture. And if he is, where in blazes is your compassion?? The whole reason for this discussion is this - you don't like President Obama and you believe that being a Christian means being Republican. But if that also means justifying neolithic codes of conduct, count me out. If the Bible told you to love your neighbor and be hospitable to the alien in your midst you'll take the first illegal immigrant out back, put a gun to his head and tell your church you're preventing vice or providing national secruity. Mene mene tekel parsin. The time is coming!

2) Obama's charitable giving...
Again... the hypocrisy of Obama in charity...
Year Obama Income Obama giving % of income
2006 $ 983,826 $60,307 6.1%
2005 $1,655,106 $77,315 4.7%
2004 207,647 2,500 1.2%
2003 238,327 3,400 1.4%
2002 259,394 1,050 .4%

Bush Income Bush giving % of income
2006 $642,905 $ 78,100 12.1%
2005 $618,694 $ 75,560 12.2%
2004 $672,788 $ 77,785 11.6%
2003 $727,083 $ 68,360 9.4%

And when you take away the Habitat for Humanity New Orleans money, it's only .1% to religious groups. That tiny fragment is spread out to many different denominational groups, which is ecumenically strategic.

If you want to know what somebody cares about, money is a teller. 20:1 non-religious to religious giving ... that's a big ratio. Obama gives, but beyond New Orleans housing relief (minus that, it would be 64:1), religion doesn't seem to play a big role in that. From a man whose definition of sin is self-referential, I didn't expect much, but this disappoints my expectations.

Maybe he didn't include money given to his regular church on his income tax! Perhaps his % is in addition to his 10% tithe. BUT as usual everyone picks on EVERYONE in the public eye. I wonder what the old politcians and celebreties kept hidden. In our age, less and less can be hidden.

Did he care how much Reagan or the Bushes tithed?
Tithing is not even a law mandated for Gentiles anyway.
Gentiles were grafted in by grace through faith.
Hebrews talks about Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek but then in Hebrews 8:6 the summation is that the Old Testament Covenant was inferior to the New and Better Covenant which is JESUS and the work and payment He made by fulfilling the law for us on the Cross. Stop lying Pastors telling Gentiles they can be cursed with a Jewish tithing mandate. Galatians 3:13 Christ has saved us from being cursed for not keeping the Law. Go and learn what this means
"IT is Finished as in PAID IN FULL ZERO OWED!

Bible Illiteracy is the reason people don't know that God placed real and Devout men of God like Daniel and Joseph the son of Jacob under pagan rule. This men honored these heathen rulers and Jesus even said render unto Ceasars what is Ceasars. Yet they look under a microscope night and day to slander Obama when God say pray for leaders and those in authority. I hate his race does not play a big part in their hatred of him. I don't believe they are praying or Obama if they are praying at all it is for his harm. God will allow their own wishes to boomerang right back on them is what I believe!
These people are angry self-righteous modern day Pharisees just what did they do kill Jesus, yes the Religious crowd is dangerous, they killed Jesus.
WHy? Because he ate with sinners, ex-prostitutes and tax collectors!

I meant I hope his race is not playing a big part in their hatred but sadly for some it just might!

God will judge this hatred in your hearts just like you think he should judge the abortion doctors, you are no different if you are a hater!

Hello, and be blessed in the name of Jesus Christ we are evangelical pedesyatna tsarvka in Bulgaria Roma and are currently building a biblical school children but we need help us to help with finances and food for the construction of the city to please God if you have sponsors please give them believe dating that God will open your heart we want them to church we do we will pray for you

Fine its pretty good that President of US Barack Obama
is showing the model to other countries of giving charity to the poor people

For someone worth at least 7,300,000 dollars (and I doubt that counts his homes), is 172,050 really all that much? He and his wife are known for their numerous vacations costing taxpayers many millions of dollars every trip (and sometimes they fly separately because one of them couldn't wait 4 hours for the other). It would be MUCH more charitable to donate the money spent on just one of their vacations, rather than the comparatively small amount of 172,050. If you don't know about all of Michelle's vacations with the kids, look it up, it sets a new record, by far. It's like Hawaii to the ski slopes of Vail and goes on and on. How about donating the cost of just one single vacation? Most Americans can't afford one vacation a year any more, and they're lucky if they're employed. Let's just say he is much more charitable with other people's money.