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Frequently asked questions

About Community Giving at MIT

What is Community Giving at MIT?
Community Giving at MIT is a workplace giving program that focuses on local 501(c)(3) health and human service agencies. This Institute-wide program provides MIT faculty, staff, and retirees with an opportunity to make their charitable donations via payroll deductions, check, credit card, or securities.

The campaign runs from November 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. However, we gratefully accept donations year round and can pro-rate payroll deductions during the year.

Where is Community Giving at MIT located?
The program is administered by and located in the Community Services Office, E38-234.

What are the benefits of making my charitable donations through Community Giving at MIT?

  • Convenient payroll deductions — spread your donation over 2016
  • Your selected agency will receive 100% of your donation — MIT doesn't deduct any administrative or credit card fees
  • Donations made collectively by MIT faculty, staff, and retirees make a greater impact for non-profits
  • Streamline paperwork and donate online.

How much is raised by Community Giving at MIT?
As of February 13, the 2014-15 campaign raised a total of $291,405. The MIT Community Service Fund received $77,070 in donations; the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley $98,520; and Your favorite local charity program $116,836.

An additional $5,870 was raised through used book fairs on campus, department collection drives, and even department sponsored matching gifts!

When do charities receive my donation?
One-time gifts made by check or credit card are sent to the recipient organization within 30 days.

Donations made by payroll deduction to the MIT Community Service Fund and the United Way are transferred monthly to the respective organization.

An MIT check representing donations made by payroll deduction to a nonprofit within the "Your favorite local charity" program is sent three times per year to the recipient organization. The check disbursement schedule is

  • May 2015: represents payroll deductions made January-April 2015
  • September 2015: represents payroll deductions made May-August 2015
  • January 2016: represents payroll deductions made September-December 2015

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Partner and favorite charities

What charities can I give to?
Community Giving at MIT focuses on local health and human service agencies. You may donate to:

  • MIT Community Service Fund
  • United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
  • Your favorite local health or human service agency

What is the MIT Community Service Fund?
The MIT Community Service Fund (CSF) is MIT's internal foundation. Your donation supports the public service initiatives of MIT faculty, staff, students, and retirees. In addition to these creative activities, the CSF also provides funding to support the enduring success of MIT's community partners.

What is the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley?
The United Way brings together the passion, know-how, and resources of thousands of individuals, organizations, businesses and government around a unified vision for our region’s children, youth and families.

What is the "Your favorite local charity" program?
You decide which local 501(c)(3) health or human services agency to support. MIT faculty, staff, and retirees have selected 350 different local health or human services agencies that address the large issues we care about or provide comfort or care on a more individual level. View the growing list of employee selected charities. Spotlight your favorite charity by making a contribution and we'll add it to the list.

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Donation restrictions

What organizations aren't supported through Community Giving at MIT?
The focus of Community Giving at MIT is to support local 501(c)(3) health and human service agencies. Over the years, we have found that many people would like to donate to faith-based organizations, schools, libraries, and environmental or animal organizations, and we make every effort to facilitate the philanthropic priorities of employees who choose to make those donations through MIT. If one of these types of organizations or charities is important to you, please designate your donation so it meets the criteria for inclusion in the Community Giving at MIT program. We encourage employees to find out whether their favorite organizations have special funds that support

  • Service animal training and programming
  • Food pantries and nutrition services
  • Youth, senior, or other service programs
  • Community outreach
  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Emergency or short-term shelter services

Organizations that don't fall within the parameters of Community Giving at MIT include building or restoration projects for faith-based institutions or libraries, public radio or television, unrestricted donations to alumni organizations, animal rescue or spay/neuter programs, and political parties.

Ways to give

How can I make my donation?
You may make your donation online by clicking the "Donate Now" button at the top right corner of our site, or you may print a donation form .

You may make your donation via payroll deductions or as a one-time gift by check, credit card, or securities. Credit card donations must be made online by clicking "Donate Now" at the top right of this site.

What is the sustainer program?
A donor who selects payroll deduction can enroll in the sustainer program so that your pledge made through payroll deduction automatically renews yearly. You can change or discontinue your payroll deduction at any time.

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Matching gifts

Does MIT have a matching gift program?
MIT doesn't match charitable gifts because MIT is a nonprofit institution.

If you have a spouse/partner, we encourage you to check to see if his/her employer has a matching gift program. Some employers match gifts made by the employee's spouse/partner.

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Donor tax acknowledgment

What information do I need to know about donor tax acknowledgment requirements?
You must obtain a receipt in order to claim a charitable tax deduction on your federal tax return. Unless you opt out, the recipient organization will send you a receipt for gifts paid by check, credit card or securities. For gifts made by payroll deduction, save a copy of your on-line or printed donation form and year end pay stub that sets forth the amount withheld for payment through Community Giving at MIT.

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Donor recognition

Will my name be listed as a donor on the web or in printed materials?
Names of donors are listed on the MIT Annual Fund's yearly participation rosters on the MIT donor recognition site to recognize gifts made to the MIT Community Service Fund or other MIT charitable organizations. You may opt out of having your name listed on the MIT donor recognition site.

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Fundraisers and events

What fundraisers or events are upcoming? What organizations do they support?

A drive to collect winter clothing, linens, and towels will be held in December. Items will be donated to CASPAR, an MIT community partner that provides services to those affected by substance abuse disorders in Cambridge and Somerville.

We also sponsor an on-going cell phone collection. Drop off or send your used cell phone to the Community Services Office, Room E38-234. Proceeds from the donations help support the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), which provides free, comprehensive services to survivors of sexual violence. To date, MIT has donated over 280 cell phones.

Our annual used book sale was held on Friday, October 17 and Monday, October 20 in the Bush Room. Proceeds from book sales went to benefit the MIT Community Service Fund and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and together, we raised over $3,800.

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Volunteer opportunities

How can I volunteer?
Please visit the MIT Pubic Service Center which organizes a wide breadth of volunteer opportunities for the MIT community. The PSC is happy to meet with you to help you figure out what you'd like to do. Whether you want help sorting out your ideas, narrowing your focus, or planning a service project of your own, the PSC welcomes the opportunity to sit down and talk with you. Email to set up a time to meet.

Sign up for the PSC weekly email bulletin that announces upcoming community service activities. Included in the bulletin are both one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities along with various funded public service activities. The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is also a good resource to learn about volunteer opportunities across Massachusetts.

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Atlas Application

My donations from this year are not appearing on Atlas! Help!
Only active, continuing payroll deductions have been recorded in the Atlas system. If you signed up for payroll deductions that ended before July 29th or if you made a donation by check, credit card, or securities before the transition on July 29th, these will not show up on Atlas. Please contact the Community Giving at MIT office if you would like to review your past donations, or if you need help receiving tax acknowledgment of your donations.

Can I donate by credit card and set up payroll deductions too?
Yes, you may donate by credit card and by payroll deductions, but you must make these donations separately. You cannot make donations using more than one method in a single transaction. When you finish making your donations by one payment method, simply click the Donate Now button again to designate your donations using the second payment method.

Can I donate to more than one charity by payroll deduction?
Yes! When you set up your payroll deductions, click “add another charity” until you have enough lines for your desired charities. You can then select how much to set aside for each charity every pay period. Atlas will calculate the total deduction per pay period for your review!

Atlas says I can only donate by credit card; why?
There are a few members of the MIT Community using Atlas who cannot donate by payroll deduction. Students, affiliates, and unpaid employees will only be able to donate by credit card using the Atlas application.

If you are a paid employee who is not able to select payroll deduction as a payment method, you probably have an active payroll donation already set up. To review or make changes to your current deductions, go back to the main Charitable Contributions page, and find your payroll donation in the list at the top of the page. If you cannot find a current payroll donation and Atlas will not let you make a new payroll donation, please contact our office so that we can help you resolve the problem.

How can I (increase the amount of/add a new deduction to) my current payroll deductions?
It’s easy! Find your current payroll deductions in the list at the top of the page, and click the pencil icon at the right to make edits. You can add another charity to your current list of deductions by clicking “add another charity” and designating the amount you would like set aside each week. You can also edit the amount pledged to your previous deductions.

How can I set up my payroll deductions for next year?
If you would like to have changes to your deductions that come into effect at the end of this year, please visit the Charitable Contributions page after the year is over to make your new designations.

If you would like to set your current deductions to continue into next year, you must first cancel your current payments (by clicking the pencil-shaped edit icon and “cancel all future payments”). You can then set up a new donation to start immediately with a new end date. If you would like these deductions to continue indefinitely, choose the sustainer donation option. You cannot change the duration of your payroll deductions without canceling and re-entering your payments.

Why is my charity not on the list of charities in Atlas?
Please check that you have spelled your charity correctly, and please be aware of grammatical differences (Rosie’s Place vs. Rosies Place). If you find that your charity is still not on our list, don’t fret! You can type in your charity name and click “Add your desired charity to our list”.

We’ll ask you for some additional information so that we can locate the correct charity, verify its 501(c)(3) status, and check that it fits the guidelines of Community Giving at MIT. If everything checks out, your charity should be approved within two business days. You’ll receive an email with a link to the Charitable Contributions page so that you can finish making your donations.

Can I donate 50 cents per pay period?
Donations through Atlas must be made in whole dollar amounts per pay period. We are not able to process donations between dollar amounts.

Can I still donate by cash/check/securities? How?
Yes, you can! Simply fill out this form and send it to our office at E38-234. Please make all checks out directly to the charity of your choice. Checks made out to Community Giving at MIT will delay processing.

Can I donate to a specific United Way agency or cause?
Donations to the United Way made through the Atlas application cannot be directed to a specific supported agency or impact fund. If you would like to donate to a specific agency supported by the United Way, we encourage you to make the donation directly to the agency by selecting that charity from our list. If you do not see one of the United Way's supported agencies on our list, feel free to suggest that it be added. Many supported agencies are eligible to receive donations through the Community Giving at MIT program.

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Have a question not answered in these pages? Email us or call 617-253-7914.

Donate Now! to the Community Giving at MITCamp Kesem, a CSF grant recipient, is a five-day overnight summer camp for children who have a parent who died from cancer, is currently in treatment, or is in remission. The national program was brought to MIT by Caroline Huang and Vivian Tang.

ReachOut is a tutoring and mentoring program for Cambridge children.ReachOut, a CSF grant recipient, recruits, trains, and matches MIT tutors with Cambridge children identified as needing help with reading.
(Photo: Chris Corales)

VPFun Committee organized its annual canned food collection for the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in Cambridge.Barbara Nickerson and the VPFun Committee organized its annual canned food collection for the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in Cambridge.

MIT students and staff volunteered at Cradles to Crayons for a day of community service held during IAP '13.Department ambassador and MIT CSF board member Marcia Tench-Moria along with MIT students and staff volunteered at Cradles to Crayons for a day of community service held during IAP '13.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology