It Is Now Easier to Donate to FISH in this Time of Acute Need
To encourage more charitable giving in 2020 and 2021, the $2 trillion "CARES Act" and the subsequent additional relief package reduce the after-tax cost of giving. Even if, as most people do, you take the standard deduction on your tax return, you can claim a deduction of up to $300 for an individual and $600 for couples for cash donations to charity you make in 2021. (The maximum deduction is for all charities combined, not for each individual charity.) This means it costs less to donate because the deduction reduces your tax bill. Normally, you have to itemize deductions to get a tax break for charitable donations.
If you give $500 or more to FISH, you may also be eligible for a 65% state tax credit. In that case, your net cost of giving will be quite low. (Click here for details.)
Please consider Herndon Reston FISH for your 2021 charitable giving and help us help our neighbors in need.
The FISH Mission
To help Herndon and Reston residents cope with short-term financial crises by providing Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help.
We help stabilize lives by preventing an eviction, keeping utilities from being turned off, and helping to finance immediate medical needs.
A Year of Change and Success
The FISH fiscal year, which ended on June 30, was a very different one for our organization. We continue to provide Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help to residents in the Herndon and Reston area facing short-term financial crises, but the scope of our activities expanded greatly as a result of our role in helping to distribute funds from the federal CARES Act passed by Congress in mid-2020. The County choose FISH as one of 19 agencies to be a conduit for distributing these funds. When Phase I of this program was completed at the end of the 2020 calendar year, FISH distributed over $1.7 million to 608 households. Because some of the clients we normally serve had needs that did not qualify them for the CARES Act funds, we continued to use our own funds to meet the needs of those people in our service area who were in financial crises. Through the end of the fiscal year, we distributed about $190,000 in funds to 975 people through these efforts. Recently, we started distributing funds under the second phase of the CARES program.
FISH is continuing to take on an expanded role. We were, again, selected by the County as one of 14 entities to distribute funds under the new Emergency Rent Assistance (ERA) program the County established using federal funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to aid with housing and utilities costs for people adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We anticipate distributing a total of $2,803,900 under this program by the end of September 2021.
We are, of course, pleased that the County has confidence in our capacity to administer these very important programs to aid our neighbors in need.
During this last year, we piloted a new program on an experimental basis to aid schoolchildren needing aids to help them with distant learning. Local elementary school social workers identified the children and their needs, and we used FISH assistance funds to meet those needs. Our assistance helped them succeed in their educational endeavors. We initially limited the program to four schools in the Herndon-Reston community, with a budget of $8,000 and a spending limit of $150 per child. Through this program, we provided funds for children who needed eyeglasses, a place to sit with their computers instead of the floor or couch, or headphones for listening to their teachers without interference from siblings listening to their own teachers. Our initial experience indicates this is a program serving a real need and is within our means to expand slightly. Therefore, we are including additional schools in the Herndon-Reston area beginning with the start of school in the autumn.
Even though we are distributing significant funds to aid those selected for the special County financial assistance programs, not all those with financial emergencies whom we serve qualify for the rent and utilities aid programs. This means our neighbors in financial crisis continue to depend upon our vital regular assistance program. As always, we depend upon the generous support of foundations, corporations, religious institutions, and individuals like you to make our support possible. Thank you for your generous contributions.
President, Board of Directors