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LI charities count down to last-minute donations

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth CEO David

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth CEO David Kilmnick poses at his office in Bay Shore. (April 14, 2009) Credit: Ana P. Gutierrez

Long Island's charities are hoping they'll have a little something extra to celebrate this New Year's Eve.

Thursday is the last day that donors can give a gift to a nonprofit and deduct the amount from their 2009 taxes. The deadline sometimes means nonprofits will get a year-end influx of donations from procrastinating philanthropists seeking to do good while lowering their tax burdens.

David Kilmnick, chief executive of the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth organization in Bay Shore, said the group is planning an end-of-the-year appeal, complete with a video message.

"It's the last minute to get your tax deduction," Kilmnick said. "We're anticipating donations to increase."

Donations to registered nonprofits are tax-deductible, which only helps those who itemize deductions on their tax returns, said Donald Musgnug, a certified public accountant with Fuoco Group LLP in Hauppauge.

Donations have been steadily coming in at the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts in Huntington, said Patrice Frank, director of development.

"The mailboxes are usually chock-full," Frank said. "They're very fun to go to."

The nonprofit Suffolk County SPCA issued a special appeal Wednesday that emphasized the tax benefits of a year-end donation.

"We never sent out anything like this before," said Chief Roy Gross. "We're hoping maybe people at the last second will say, 'Hey, I'll get a write-off.'"

Umberto Mignardi, communications specialist with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre, said his organization often gets several large gifts at the end of the year. But, he said, "we like to think it's because people are generous and it's Christmastime."

Those who don't earn enough money to warrant itemizing their tax returns won't get a tax bonus from giving before the clock strikes midnight Thursday. But they might receive something a little more intangible from their gifts.

"They wouldn't get a tax advantage," Musgnug said. "However, they would get the satisfaction of personal giving."

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