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MfD: Czechs spend highest sum on charity in history

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Prague, Dec 21 (CTK) – Czechs have been the most generous donors in the past 20 years and they donated more than seven billion crowns in total to charity in 2015, which is about 100 million more than the year before, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
The sum that Czechs spent on charity last year equals the budget of a state institution, such as the ministries of foreign affairs and of health, MfD writes.
Almost 150,000 people and 21,500 firms declared a gift for charity purposes in their tax returns for 2015, which is 4,300 individuals and 1,400 firms more than in 2014.
MfD writes that at the beginning of the millennium, the number of charity donors was just a half of the current figure, and the sum they gave to charity was 2.5 times lower.
“The data shows that Czechs have been more and more generous. The number and level of their financial gifts have been rising faster than the economy in our country in the past 15 years. Though, we are still far from the philanthropy level in Anglo-Saxon countries, it is apparent that we have succeeded in following up the philanthropic tradition of the first republic [1918-38] after the 1989 [collapse of the communist regime],” Via foundation director Jiri Barta told MfD.
Simon Panek, head of the best-known charity organisation in the Czech Republic, People in Need, has confirmed this.
Whenever a natural disaster hits a locality in the world, such as the tsunami in Southeast Asia 12 years ago, Czechs support the afflicted areas with the same sums as people from more advanced countries, MfD writes.
However, Czechs are less willing to give money to charity “in quite calm times,” unlike inhabitants of West European countries. On the other hand, they are considerably more generous compared with other post-communist countries, such as Poland and Hungary, Panek told MfD.
People in Need also gained more than 3,000 new regular donors with their number totalling more than 20,000 this year. They sent 100 million crowns in support of the organisation’s projects, MfD writes.
“Czechs react strongly to big natural disasters. Last year, it was the earthquake in Nepal for which we collected eight million crowns. There was no such a big disaster this year, fortunately. Nevertheless, the number of our regular donors, who send a small sum every month, has increased,” Pavla Gomba, executive director of the UNICEF Czech Republic, told MfD.
Last year, firms spent some 3.4 billion crowns on charity and individuals 1.6 billion in total, the paper writes referring to official statistics from tax returns.
However, not all charity donations are included in tax returns.
Along with the declared sums that can be deducted from taxes, Czechs donated about 600 million crowns in public fund-raising campaigns in 2015, while foundations and endowment funds redistributed 1.2 billion.
Another popular form of charity payments is DMS (donor’s text message) sent by mobile phones. In the past five years, Czechs sent about 5.75 million DMSs. The highest number of 1.5 million was sent this year, from which 38 million crowns went to charity purposes, the paper says.
Neither DMSs nor donations in church fund-raising campaigns appear in tax returns.
In the largest church fund-raising campaign in the country, the Epiphany collection, organised by the Charity Czech Republic annually, slightly under 90 million crowns were collected in 2015, while this year, it was 98 million, Lukas Curylo, director of this Roman Catholic Church’s organisation, said.
Representatives of various charity organisations, asked by MfD, agree that Czechs are spending more and more on charity. Besides, their donorship is gradually changing from one-off aid to long-term support, not only financial one, but also in other forms, such as their direct involvement in charity events, MfD writes.
($1=26.068 crowns)

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