The end of the year is the time when many APA members take the opportunity to look back on the year, look back on their careers and look forward to what they can do to give back to psychology. In this article, we ask Dr. Joseph D. Matarazzo, past president of the American Psychological Foundation (APF), about his interest in APF and his advice on giving.
You have given many years to leading APF. What has APF meant for you?
APF is the only national organization of which I am aware that allows psychologists to give back to the discipline that has nourished their professional lives. We can give to support scholarships for young psychologists or even talented high school students to encourage their pursuit of psychology. We also support cutting-edge research that will affect all of us: research on serious mental illness, violence prevention, the relationship between mental and physical health, and eliminating prejudice such as homophobia. All of these are ways psychology can help change society, and APF can lead the way in many of these endeavors.
What are the benefits of giving to APF?
I have learned the ways in which we benefit financially from making a charitable gift. For example, my wife, Ruth, and I gave appreciated stock to APF and saved a large amount of money on capital gains taxes, in addition to receiving an IRS deduction for making a charitable gift. Another thing I learned is that by leaving a bequest to APF, we will help to eliminate estate taxes that our children would have to pay.
Many people are worried about the economy and are afraid to give major gifts at this time. What would you say to them?
Certainly, we have seen wide fluctuations in the market, and the new president will bring still other changes. We really don't know what to expect in 2001. We do know at this time of year our approximate income for the year and what we can afford to give. We can also look at our tax situation and see what would benefit us in terms of charitable gifts. Most of us would rather choose where our money goes rather than have it taxed, and the tax laws now are clear on what we and/or our children can save if we give now. You can give cash, you can give appreciated stock, you can even set up a trust that will provide you with income for life at the same time you make a gift. This time of year is one of the best for making a charitable gift.
Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share with Monitor readers?
I would like to say that I have done many rewarding things in my professional life. Giving back has been one of the most fulfilling of these. I would encourage all my colleagues to consider a gift to psychology through APF.