#GivingFeelsGood: Tips for Holiday Giving

#GivingFeelsGood: Tips for Holiday Giving

Holiday giving feels good! With so many ways to give this holiday season, we at the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) are excited to share some of our best tips and tricks to make the most out of your giving. We’ve included shareable graphics and links to more information with each holiday giving tip — so that when you’re ready to donate, giving feels good for you too.

1. The CARES Act

The CARES Act, passed earlier this year in response to COVID-19, allows individual taxpayers to deduct $300 of charitable giving from their taxes without itemizing. This includes donations made by cash, check, credit card or debit card, but does not include securities, household items, or other property.  Read more from the IRS here.

Tips for Holiday Giving - #GivingFeelsGood - staging.nepalyouthfoundation-old.flywheelsites.com

2. Gifts of Stock

Donating long-term and appreciated assets — like gifts of stock, bonds, or mutual funds — is perhaps the most effective way to increase your gift and tax deduction. This is because when you donate these appreciated assets, you’ll receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value of the gift, while avoiding any capital gains taxes. We’ve seen donors increase their tax deduction up to 20%!

3. Workplace Matching Gifts

Many workplaces have corporate giving programs through which they will “match” the charitable contributions made by their employees. Through these programs, you can easily double or triple the impact of your support.

78% of match-eligible donors are unaware that their company offers a matching gift program. If this sounds like you, we recommend asking your employer — most times, all you have to do is submit a request after you’ve made your gift. Check out this list of the Top 20 Matching Gift Companies!

4. IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions

If you are over the age of 70.5, you can make a tax-free charitable gift of up to $100,000 per year from your individual retirement account (IRA) —without paying income tax on the transaction!

The CARES Act also relaxed the income-based deduction limit on charitable gifts. Previously, the deduction was limited to 60% of AGI (adjustable gross income). This year, however, the deduction limit is 100% of AGI, which may be particularly beneficial if use your IRA to make larger charitable donations.

5. Year-End Gift

And lastly, one of the most important tips of this holiday season: To qualify for 2020 tax deductions, gifts have to be made on or before December 31, 2020. Check gifts can arrive after the 31st and still be counted for 2020 deductions as long as they are dated on or before Dec. 31st.

All of us at NYF wish you a happy holidays and joyful giving!

If you have any questions about any of these, we’ll be happy to help you. Please e-mail info@nepalyouthfoundation.org or call us at 415-331-8585.

Nepali Tea Traders is Partnering with NYF for the 2020 Holidays!

Nepali Tea Traders is Partnering with NYF for the 2020 Holidays!

Namasté, NYF Friends!

By Nepali Tea Traders (NTT), co-owners Sunita and Rabin Joshi

Nepali Tea Traders, a Boston Massachusetts based and woman-led business was the first company in the United States to offer premium teas exclusively from small farms Nepal’s Ilam region. Our natural, organic teas grow at ideal altitudes between 4,000 and 8,000 feet—and it shows. Four of our teas have earned North American Tea Championship honors. In 2015, our Himalayan Golden was named the world’s best black tea.

At Nepali Tea Traders, our mission is to help build a sustainable tea economy in Nepal, providing Nepal’s tea farmers fair prices and their fair share of the profit. You can learn more about our story and Nepal’s fascinating tea industry in this spotlight from the New York Times.

Our company focuses on addressing the root cause of Nepal’s need for aid. In the meantime, we’re proud to also support intentional, loving nonprofits like NYF.

That’s why this December, Nepali Tea Traders is donating funds to Nepal Youth Foundation to provide children with better access to shelter, healthcare, and education.

Nepali Tea Traders partner with Nepal Youth Foundation Dec 2020

Nepali Tea Traders tea

NTT has supported NYF for years. Now, we’re renewing our commitment, knowing that support can be particularly meaningful given the challenges of COVID-19. Along with offering a $1 donation for each purchase of tea made this month, NTT is offering a gift of tea that also includes a $25 donation to NYF (A Gift of Tea Plus Donation to Nepal Youth Foundation). What a great way to give a generous gift to Nepal while providing a unique and healthy present to a family member, friend, or work colleague.

NTT Operates on a Principle of “Trade, Not Aid”

Companies and nonprofits work hard—and with great intentions—to alleviate the challenges Nepal faces.  For the longer term, NTT works to ensure sustainable income for the farmers producing the world’s finest teas. Building a sustainable tea economy improves lives in Nepal.

After the 2015 earthquakes, we wanted to help build long-term solutions for the thousands of Nepalis impacted. Both of us are originally from Nepal, so we wanted to do something for our beloved country as it reeled from the devastation. But Nepal needed more than charity to rebuild and make long-lasting change to systemic problems.

It became clear that we needed to use our business experience to give back to our homeland.

We found the perfect way to do just that when we discovered Nepali Tea Traders.

By sourcing premium teas directly from small farms in the mountains of Nepal, we ensure that all farmers receive a fair price for their teas and get their fair share of the profits, which they can reinvest back into their farms. 

NTT also helps educate farmers about sustainable farming practices. This ensures that their farms and crops continue to thrive, providing a livable income for years to come. (Fun fact: tea bushes can live up to 2,000 years, making it a perfect sustainable crop!)

We knew that NTT was the perfect place to blend our entrepreneurial spirit and our vision of giving back to Nepal—so, in 2017, we became the first Nepali co-owners of Nepali Tea Traders.

Steeped in a Shared Mission

NTT’s focus on “trade, not aid” and the associated benefits complements NYF’s mission of providing healthcare, education, and shelter to the country’s youth. 

Like NYF, Nepali Tea Traders believes in family compensation that enables children to attend school rather than work in the fields. This is especially relevant to women, since only 15% of Nepali girls complete secondary education.

We believe in the power of economic empowerment for families and communities. The best solutions are those that allow individuals to build their own futures and chase their own dreams.

It’s no wonder that our organizations have partnered, working to empower girls and provide opportunities for lifelong betterment. In fact, NTT just recently invested a portion of its profits to send Nepali girls to school.

Support both NYF and NTT – 2 Gifts in One

For the month of December 2020, Nepali Tea Traders is donating $1 to NYF from each purchase.  If you’d like to give a gift of tea, while directly supporting NYF, you can click here: A Gift of Tea Plus Donation to Nepal Youth Foundation

Nepali Tea Traders partner with Nepal Youth Foundation Dec 2020

Tihar Celebration with Olgapuri, A Children’s Shelter in Nepal

Tihar Celebration with Olgapuri, A Children’s Shelter in Nepal

Tihar with Olgapuri House Parents Hem Prasad Shrestha & Binu Shrestha

Tihar, a Nepal celebration comes just one month after the festival of Dashain. Nepalese children love Tihar, especially because it offers special opportunities for siblings to honor one another!

Almost as soon as Olgapuri’s Dashain feasting ended, our four sets of loving house parents set to work planning a beautiful Tihar for the 80 children currently living on the locked-down campus. Tihar festivities began on November 13th and concluded on the 16th—to the enjoyment of all.

So far this year, we’ve spotlighted Dipak & Samana in the junior boys’ house, Bhim & Shreemaya in the senior girls’ house, and Bishnu & Pushpa in the junior girls’ house. As we share Olgapuri’s special Tihar celebration with you, we’re so pleased to introduce you to the fourth set of house parents: Hem & Binu Shrestha!

Tihar Celebration with Olgapuri, A Children's Shelter in Nepal

Hem and Binu are parenting the 20 senior boys living at Olgapuri Children’s Village. These boys range in age from about 13 to 18—a time of incredible growth, both physical and emotional, when long-term patterns are developed and critical lessons are learned in preparation for adulthood.

The married couple joined the Olgapuri Children’s Village team in March 2020, just as the campus was entering lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, they are the newest team members, but they bring many years of valuable experience to the work they’re doing.

Hem-Uncle and Binu-Aunty have experienced incredible changes in Nepal during their lifetimes, including multiple dramatic shifts in government, the long Nepali Civil War, cultural shifts regarding caste and other minority rights, economic changes, and growth in areas like healthcare, education, and technology. Through it all, they have always prioritized the children around them. New generations will continue building their country towards the future. Love and opportunity ripple outward as children become adults.

They’ve already seen it happen. Hem has worked with NYF since 1996, both directly and indirectly. He even spent many years in leadership positions overseeing NYF’s growth on the ground. The two have worked in several children’s homes over the course of their careers, but they have always especially admired NYF’s loving, long-term, family-style approach.

Even as a very young man, Hem observed practices that made him wary of the way power can feed into corruption. Time and time again, he returned to NYF, because he knew that the resources went directly to the children being served. He recognized NYF’s deep, sincere commitment to each individual child’s wellbeing and long-term success. NYF staff members are truly focused on the children first, and it makes all the difference.

Hem and Binu are thrilled to bring their history in children’s homes to Olgapuri Children’s Village, where staff and children alike live together and cooperate like a large family. They have already earned the trust of the children in the senior boys’ house. Like the other house parents, Hem-Uncle and Binu-Aunty have spent the lockdown managing online classes for 20 students, organizing outdoor activities, and leading meal preparations. They also value the quieter moments, when the children come to them with concerns, troubles—and happiness as well.

Olgapuri’s youngest resident applies the special multicolored Tihar tika to a senior boy’s forehead. This ritual, performed between brothers and sisters on the last day of Tihar, follows a legend in which a goddess protects her brother from the god of death through an elaborate, loving ceremony. Performing this ceremony at Olgapuri has special significance in underscoring the bonds between the children.

As these 20 boys quickly approach the beginning of adulthood, Hem and Binu are happy to share wisdom and guidance from their own lives. Each child at Olgapuri has a unique story, personality, and set of skills and struggles—like children everywhere. At NYF, we are so grateful to have wise and loving house parents like Hem and Binu to help each of these boys along their journeys of becoming.

And we are grateful for the ways all four sets of house parents ensure moments of celebration, even during lockdown conditions!

The dogs living on Olgapuri campus enjoy Kukar Puja, the second day of Tihar. The Olgapuri senior boys made sure to give each dog all the pats and affection they could ask for, as well as special treats!

There are seven dogs at Olgapuri, including two puppies. On Kukar Puja, dogs receive a tika on their foreheads and marigold garlands around their necks as thanks and celebration for their loyalty, companionship, and service to mankind.

During the Tihar Festival, the children worked together with the house parents to prepare delicious Tihar treats, like selroti (a rice flour-based deep-fried sweet bread), anarasa (a deep-fried sweet pastry puff), arsa (a simple syrupy donut-like treat), and fini roti (a colorful, buttery, flaky sweet pastry).

They decorated each house with beautiful lights and flowers, representing wealth, happiness, and prosperity.

And throughout the holiday, the children played special Tihar games like tass (a card game) and langurburja (a dice game).

Tihar Celebration with Olgapuri, A Children's Shelter in Nepal
On the final day of Tihar, senior girls perfect a colorful sand mandala in the courtyard before Bhai Tika begins. They are looking forward to the exchanges of love, respect—and presents!—the ceremony includes between brothers and sisters.

The fourth day of Tihar usually includes a celebration called Deusi-Bhailo, after traditional songs children and teenagers perform in their communities on this day. Similar to the trick-or-treating and caroling familiar to Americans, Deusi-Bhailo performers go door-to-door to people’s homes, singing and dancing and giving blessings for prosperity. In return, they collect money, sweets, and snacks.

To everyone’s disappointment, this tradition is not pandemic-proof. But at Olgapuri, the children and house parents created a virtual version of the event, streaming their performances to neighbors and friends in the Kathmandu Valley!

Tihar Celebration with Olgapuri, A Children's Shelter in Nepal
The tika ceremony is a special time between brothers and sisters. Although it is a reverential ritual, there is plenty of room for playfulness between siblings. As sisters walk around the circle of brothers, they occasionally ruffle the hair of a boy known to be a prankster, or jokingly put extra holy water in someone’s vicinity—just in case!

On the final day of Tihar, brothers and sisters show their appreciation for one another, placing special colorful tika on each other’s foreheads and exchanging small gifts and blessings.

Love and devotion between siblings is an important part of life at Olgapuri, where the family-style approach has always been the foundation of the work. In the 1990s, when Olga first started her work sheltering children at J House and K House, she recognized that the children she was serving needed stable family relationships as much as they needed housing security, healthcare, and educational opportunities.

All children need a sense of belonging. All children need to know that they are loved.

Hem-Uncle and Binu-Aunty believe in Olga’s vision of a children’s home that meets the emotional and cultural needs of its residents. So do the rest of the house parents at Olgapuri Children’s Village. Our house parents’ devotion to the children in NYF’s care is an incredible gift. Their loving attention—especially during the lockdown conditions they’ve been living under for the past nine months!—ensures that each child receives the healthiest, most nurturing personalized care NYF can offer.

Hem and Binu know that their #LoveWorks—and so does yours.

As households throughout the world prepare for a nontraditional, socially distanced holiday season in 2020, we’re all working hard to find ways to make meaning and build connection from the safety of home. If you believe in the work Hem and Binu are doing at Olgapuri, please help them by sharing their story on social media with the hashtag #LoveWorks!