New $300 Universal Charitable Deduction in place for 2020

Congress last month sought to jump-start charitable giving by offering rank-and-file taxpayers access to a charitable deduction for up to $300 in donations. The goal was to help groups affected by the coronavirus and the economic crisis.

Nonprofits have long been asking Congress to extend deductions to people who don’t itemize their returns — a group that includes about 85 percent of Americans.

In the days since passage of the deduction measure, included in the CARES stimulus act, many donors and nonprofits have expressed confusion about how the deduction works. Here are some questions and answers from experts in the nonprofit field. As always, if you have questions about your donation to the Triangle Education Foundation, contact Amy Buchheit, CFRE, Senior Director of Development at 317-203-7759 or email her at

Who is eligible to take the deduction?

Only taxpayers who don’t separately itemize their deductions are allowed to claim the new deduction. Alexander Reid, a Washington tax lawyer who served as legislative counsel for Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, notes that when the tax overhaul was passed in 2017, the threshold for the standard deduction was doubled. For individuals it is now $12,200.

Are couples who file jointly allowed to claim a $600 deduction?

The legislation is not clear on this point, experts say.

Reid says the deduction is allowed for each tax form that is filed, meaning that the $300 deduction limit applies whether taxes are filed by either an individual or a married couple.

Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Institute, says, "It’s not really clear" whether it works that way or if a couple filing jointly can claim a $600 deduction. This is probably going to require IRS guidance." said Gleckman.

Is the $300 deduction permanent?

The deduction appears to be only good for tax year 2020 — though Gleckman noted that Congress did not specifically say that it expires in December.

One thing is clear: If you haven’t filed 2019 taxes, you can’t claim it this year.

Can a taxpayer claim a deduction for giving a car or other material goods to charity?

Only cash gifts are eligible for the $300 deduction. Gifts of stocks, clothes, vehicles, and land are all off the table.

Congress followed the "keep it simple, stupid" rule when limiting the deduction to cash gifts, says Ken Kies, managing director of the Federal Policy Group and former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

If other types of gifts were included, tax accountants and Internal Revenue Service staff would get bogged down in calculating the correct value of the gift for tax purposes, Kies says. He adds that in future debates, Congress may address whether to include non-cash gifts to make the deduction more attractive.

Can gifts to any nonprofit be used to claim the deduction?

No. Gifts to establish or add to a donor-advised-fund account do not qualify. Nor do gifts to supporting organizations — charities that are set up to aid one specific nonprofit.

Is there additional paperwork required to claim the deduction?

No additional paperwork is required, but charities should acknowledge these gifts just like they acknowledge any other donation. Taxpayers should be prepared to substantiate their gifts in case they are audited. "Let’s be honest: The IRS isn’t going to expend a lot of audit resources to figure out if someone made a $300 contribution," Kies says. "Still, taxpayers shouldn’t be reckless."

Foundation Board seeks new Undergraduate Director

The Foundation is searching for an outstanding young Triangle to serve as a full voting member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 school year! More details and application instructions can be found HERE.

COVID-19 Micro-Grants are now available

The Triangle Education Foundation is launching the Brothers Helping Brothers COVID-19 Micro-Grant Program. The details are as follows:

Brothers Helping Brothers COVID-19 Micro-Grants for Student Undergraduate Brothers of Triangle Fraternity facing significant hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds are to be used to continue the students education for the current school year (2019 - 2020).

The purpose of the Brothers Helping Brothers Micro-Grants is to provide one-time emergency grants, subject to the availability of funds, to initiated undergraduate members who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 virus crisis. Grants of up to $500 will be given in one payment to approved applicants upon receipt of COMPLETE application, supporting materials and approval by the Micro-Grant Committee. Applications will be accepted and considered on a rolling basis until the program's end on May 31, 2020 or until funds are exhausted.

Eligibility: Members in good standing with their chapter and Triangle Fraternity are students enrolled in classes for the Winter/Spring term of 2020 with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Must document financial impact of COVID-19 crisis including loss of income due to layoff/closing of business/forced relocation, additional travel expenses due to campus or student housing closing, or additional expenses to support remote classwork/participation. Grand funds must be used to maintain educational pursuits.

Micro-Grants do NOT cover legal fines and expenses, parking tickets & fines, health/auto/rental/property insurance, study abroad costs, taxes, recreational travel, gym/health club membership and online entertainment subscriptions i.e. Netflix, gaming, Hulu, Slack, etc.

To apply go to

Triangle Education Foundation Welcomes New Staff!

Triangle Education Foundation is pleased to announce Kate Planow as Director of Development. In this role, Planow will be responsible for donor engagement and development of gifts for the Triangle Fund, program endowments, and housing campaigns.

“We are excited to have Kate join our team.Her campus and Greek Headquarters experience will be a great asset and the addition of another front-line fundraiser will expand our capacity to support the growing financial needs of Triangle.”, said Triangle Education Foundation President Scott Bova, CFRE.

Planow comes to Triangle Education Foundation with a unique blend of both campus fraternity/sorority advising experience and organizational management. Most recently she was with Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity as their Event Manager, coordinating their national and regional events. Prior to that she ran the expansion and growth team for Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity; she was also the Assistant Executive Director of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority.Planow has also worked on a few university campuses, bringing in experience in residential life and fraternity and sorority affairs.

Kate is a graduate of University of Hartford where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and was a member of the Psi Beta chapter of Phi Mu.She earned her Master of Science degree in Counseling focused on student development from Central Connecticut State University.She is a national volunteer for Phi Mu in their Leadership & Curriculum Development department and is trained as and has a life, leadership and career coaching practice.Planow has facilitated at many leadership conferences, including two Herbert Scobie Leadership Schools.

Triangle Education Foundation to Award $10,000 in Scholarships to FIRST Alumni

The Triangle Education Foundation is pleased to announce that there are FOUR $2500 scholarships available to alumni of the FIRST Robotics Program!

Students of FIRST robotics as they seek continuing education in STEM areas. If you have any questions about the scholarship or application process, please email


  • Must be a current member of a FIRST Robotics team
  • Must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative high school GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Must be a current high school senior, planning on attending an accredited 4-year US educational institution in the fall of 2020
  • Must intend to pursue a major/concentration relating to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics)

Applications are due May 31, 2020. Winners will be reviewed and selected by July 15, 2020, by which date the winners will be contacted via phone or email. The Triangle Education Foundation will award scholarships on the basis of holistic achievement and a demonstrated passion for STEM. Areas of the review will include academic accomplishments, community service & extracurricular activities, references, and a personal essay. Scholarships are awarded without regard to race, color, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Preference will be given to students attending universities associated with a chapter of Triangle Fraternity.

Click here to apply

Three Alumni Honored With the Distinguished Alumni Citation Award in Denver!

F. Dee Duncan ks64, Robert Hostetler pur62 and Denny Wellen ps70 were presented with the Distinguished Alumni Citation award at the Tour de Triangle in Denver on November 2, 2019.

Foundation Chairman, John Pritchard is82 and his wife Syndi hosted over 60 Triangle members and friends at their home on Saturday, November 2nd for an evening of brotherhood!

Brian Jarman pur01, Immediate Past National President, presented the awards to the deserving alumni and offered these thoughts on the recipients, "Triangle has a strong tradition of recruiting the best and brightest students to our chapters. After graduation, they go on to do amazing things to further the fields of engineering, science and architecture and these three gentlemen demonstrate the caliber of young men Triangle attracts for membership. I am honored to present these awards to three deserving alumni!"

Short bios of the award winners are as follows:

With a BS degree in Nuclear Engineering from Kansas State University, Dee Duncan has extensive experience in the design, application and integration of proprietary multi-stream brazed aluminum heat exchanger (BAHX) technology to the processing of industrial gases, natural gas and LNG, petrochemicals and helium and hydrogen liquefaction and refrigeration. Initial cryogenic experience began with NASA-Huntsville designing the Saturn V 2nd stage liquid hydrogen tank insulation system. Technology integration includes BAHX kettles, “cold boxes” and internal tower reboilers. Subsequent experience with BAHX technology included developing “cold” plates for the RCA TV camera on the first lunar rover and upgrading the replacement U-235 compression after coolers for three national uranium enrichment facilities. Knowledge and experience of this proprietary technology lead to the founding and sole ownership of two corporations: Energy and Environmental Equipment, Inc. and Applied UA, Inc. Acknowledgements include life AICHE membership, three U.S. patents and a paper presented at the Snowbird Compact Heat Exchanger Conference. Retirement from day-to-day activities has resulted in clients worldwide seeking consulting services for major multi-billion dollar projects.

After completing his Purdue studies, Hostetler took a position with CTS Corporation, an Indiana-based manufacturer of electronic components and subsystems. He remained there until 1987, rising in his 22 years with the company from director of corporate planning to a six year tenure as president and CEO. When a corporate takeover left him without a job, he and his wife decided to explore life as entrepreneurs and start their own company. The result was the Choice TV Group, a series of 13 companies that developed wireless cable television, then a fledgling technology. The couple was successful at drawing investors, raising $5.5 million to build up the companies. Then, in 1993, they merged the Choice TV Group companies into American Telecasting Inc. As CEO, Hostetler led the company into high-speed data transmission, selling the company to Sprint Corporation in 1999.

Graduating from Penn State in 1972 with a degree in chemical engineering, Denny started his career as a project engineer for Badger, a Raytheon Subsidiary where he worked on Design and Construction of several petrochemical facilities in Argentina, Iran, Taiwan, and North American. Based out of offices in Cambridge and Houston. Wellen then moved to the Stearns Roger Division of United Engineers and Constructors, a Raytheon Subsidiary where he managed design and Construction of several Oil and Gas production facilities including ones located on the North Slope of Alaska and elsewhere in North America, in Algeria, in Siberia, and Kazakhstan. The one in Siberia was the first new oil field to export from Russia after the fall of the Iron Curtain. 2004 saw Wellen named to the Vice President and General Manager postion of the Denver office of Washington Group Inc, which had acquired Raytheon Engineers and Constructors. Managed a group of nearly 1000 professional employees working on design and construction of a variety of facilities. He was then promoted to Vice President of Oil and Gas for Washington Group Inc. and managed a $400 million per year engineering, construction, and maintenance business. Wellen retired from the Washington Group in 2011.

CEF Grant Applications Are Now Open For Submission!

We are pleased to announce the grant application for the 2019 – 2020 school year is now open.

This year the Foundation is excited to have over $140,000 available to chapters to use to make Triangle’s Mission and Code of Ethics come alive. These funds are available because of the generosity of donors who continue to donate to grow the funds.

A Chapter Endowment Fund (CEF) is a very useful tool for chapters to help fund meaningful programs. Chapters are encouraged to spend time this fall planning their funds usage for the current school year. Remember to hold back funds to send people to the Leadership & Training Weekend in January. Please feel free to reach out to a Triangle staff person for any help with ideas and planning for the best use of your funds.

A couple of key pieces of information:

  1. Grant applications are open, and applications are accepted for the entire school year up to May 30, 2020.
  2. No funds can be expended or committed without an approved grant request.
  3. All are strongly encouraged to view the grant application instructions webinar and read the application instructions located HERE.
  4. You can complete the grant application by clicking HERE
  5. A complete listing of funds available by chapter can be found HERE. If you have any questions about your disbursement for this year, please contact me ASAP.
For those chapters not listed on the PDF in #5 above:
  1. If you are a young chapter (under 15 years since your original chartering) or a brand-new colony (never had a charter) you are eligible for the Young Chapter CEF program. Please reach out to Scott Bova at to discuss getting it set up for this year.
  2. If your chapter does not have a CEF or one that is fully funded, please contact Aaron Girson at to work on getting a CEF that is fully funded.
The Foundation looks forward to a great school year and is here to help you be successful. The Chapter Endowment Fund program provides resources for chapters to become healthy and successful on their campus.

If you have any questions please contact Scott Bova. We wish you the best as you begin the fall semester and look forward to seeing many of you in Indianapolis at the 2020 Leadership & Training Weekend in January.

Tips For Doing School From Home

School from home- WHOO HOO!!

Or not.

It's tough to stay on track when your normal school routine has been turned upside down and now you're doing classes at home. The Foundation is mostly remote employees, so we're pretty good at getting things done from home! Here are our best tips for making your school at home successful:

  • Find a dedicated place to set up your books and computer. Working on the couch while watching Netflix sounds awesome until the second day of doing it and you can't focus or concentrate. Having a dedicated space to do school work helps you get in the mindset to get your assignments done.
  • Stick to your same school schedule. If you have class Tuesday and Thursday at 9am, keep those same hours. If you need help from a professor, they're more likely to get back to you ASAP during those class hours. If you always eat lunch at 1pm, eat lunch at 1pm. Keeping on a schedule will help make sure you're getting all your assignments done on time!
  • Get ready every day. Staying in your jammies sounds like a great idea, but it makes it hard to get in the mindset of class. Nothing fancy, just get dressed!
  • Get outside for a little bit every day. You're used to walking across campus, keep walking every day to get your steps in and some fresh air.
  • Stay connected with your brothers! Zoom is offering a free 60 subscription and there's no better way to hold a chapter meeting then using Zoom! Start a group text! Get together to play your favorite on-line game! Ask questions about a class project!

We're here to help make sure you can stay on track with school and your chapter activities! If you have questions or need more resources, reach out to Amy at the Foundation at or call her at 317-203-7759.

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