Special to CONTRACTOR
MAJOR INDUSTRY associations are urging their contractor members to aid the victims of the tsunami that devastated southern Asia. The Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake and tsunami killed more than 150,000 people and left thousands homeless and in need of fresh water, food, medical supplies and other essentials.
The Mechanical Contractors Association of America has donated $5,000 to the Save the Children Asian Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Fund. MCAA’s Website, www.mcca.org, contains information for its members who wish to aid victims of this tragedy. The Website also has posted a link to www.usafreedomcorps.gov,which describes various ways in which Americans can help.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association in January sent its PHCC Online electronic newsletter to members with a news item under the headline, “Let’s Help the Tsunami Victims.”
“PHCC encourages its members, chapters and associate members to help those affected by the tsunami disaster in South Asia,” the newsletter states. “As announced by President Bush, former Presidents Bush and Clinton have been asked to lead a nationwide effort to help those affected by the tsunami. Please consider supporting the former presidents’ fundraising effort by visiting the USA Freedom Corps Website at http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov and donating to one of the many worthy charities listed.”
Quality Service Contractors, a subgroup of PHCC, sent an identical but separate plea to its members in an e-mail message to QSC’s electronic discussion list. QSC followed up that e-mail with another that carries an article from USA Today, which tells Americans how to make their monetary donation to the relief effort tax deductible on their 2004 tax returns.
In early January, President Bush signed a bill that allows taxpayers to deduct contributions to tsunami relief efforts on their 2004 tax returns, as long as the money is donated by Jan. 31 and the donation benefits victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami, according to the article by Sandra Block. Donors can choose to deduct their contributions on their 2005 tax returns but not on returns for both years.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has a Website, www.usaid.gov to help people find legitimate tax-exempt charities aiding the tsunami relief effort. More information about charitable contributions is offered in IRS Publication 526, which is posted at www.irs.gov.
Penton Media, the publishing company for CONTRACTOR, Contracting Business and HPAC Engineering magazines, organized a drive Jan. 4 to forward employee donations to the American Red Cross. All contributions will be made to the Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund, Penton CEO David Nussbaum said.
More information on the American Red Cross’ response to the southern Asia disaster can be found at www.redcross.org.