Herman Cain V. Rick Perry – Charitable Giving

November 3, 2011 6:23 am 2 comments

Both Herman Cain and Rick Perry consider themselves to be conservatives, and both of them are active in Christian churches and organizations.  The question is:  Which one puts footsteps to his prayers?  Which one contributes large sums of money out of his own pocket to help those in need? Both men are millionaires.

First, let’s look at Herman Cain’s record:

In an article in Foundation Watch by Kathryn Jean Lopez (Aug. 2001– a long time before Cain ever decided to run for the Presidency) entitled “Give Away a Piece of the Pie”  Herman Cain and his wife Gloria established an endowed scholarship fund at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. During the 14 years that they lived in Omaha and Herman was the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, he and his wife also supported Edmonson Youth Outreach Program begun by a quadriplegic named Joe Atkinson. Both the scholarship fund and the youth outreach center have helped hundreds of young people each year.

When the Cains moved to Atlanta, they became active in Antioch Baptist Church and have made substantial contributions to both their church and their community.

The following article from 2006 explains that the Cains gave $1 Million of their own money to encourage people to support pro-life candidates.  Remember that this article was written a long time before Cain ever jumped into the run for the Presidency.  Also, I do not have access to documents that show how much the Cains have given to charitable and religious causes since 2006; but I would imagine it is a substantial amount based upon the family’s habitual commitment to give to others:

9.13.06 – “African American Businessman Spends 1M To Urge Blacks To Vote Pro-Life,” http://www.lifenews.com/2006/09/13/nat-2583/:

Excerpts from this article:

“More and more African Americans are pro-life,” Cain said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained. “Our message to African Americans is simple — it’s time you vote for candidates who support our values.”

Cain will underscore that message with a $1 million advertising campaign in key states and congressional districts targeting black radio programs and urban radio stations young African Americans enjoy. Some of the ads focus on abortion…

The ads appeared in Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati Ohio, as well as in Colorado, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia and other states.

In an August 2004 poll sponsored by Pace University and Rock the Vote, 54 percent of all Americans declared themselves pro-life while just 44 percent said they supported legal abortion. However, African-American voters took a pro-life position by a larger 59 to 42 percent margin.

As a snapshot of that support, polls in Florida found that 77 percent of black Americans backed a measure on the 2004 ballot to notify parents before a minor teenager’s abortion. Some 65 percent of Florida voters in general voted for the measure that November.

With black voters so strongly pro-life, black commentator Star Parker says that the increasing desire to support pro-life candidates this election is the beginning of a trend.

“Black pastors and their congregants are waking up to the fact that the liberal agenda that they have been supporting all these years does not liberate but denigrates, dehumanizes, and enslaves,” Parker said…

Now let’s turn to Gov. Rick Perry’s record on charitable and religious contributions:

10.21.11 – “Gov. Rick Perry: Big On Prayer, Not So Big on Charity” by Jon Ward.

Excerpts from this article:

Rick Perry has had steady work as a politician since the mid-1980s, and his income increased dramatically when he became governor of Texas in 2000. Between 2000 and 2009, he has earned $2.68 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. …

Yet Perry’s money hasn’t answered many prayers. A review of his tax records from the mid-1990s through 2009 show the governor has contributed very little to charity. When he has, Perry has given mainly to charities connected to his family, and even then, his donations have sometimes been slight.

An analysis by the San Antonio Express-News in mid-June reported that of his $2.68 million, Perry “gave half a percent to churches and religious organizations, or $14,243.”

The Express-News goes on to note: “By comparison, Americans averaged gifts of nearly 1.2 percent of their incomes to churches and religious groups from 2004 to 2008, according to Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based research firm specializing in U.S.-church giving trends.”

In 1996, Tax records show [PDF], the Perrys reported $182,318 in adjusted gross income with just $626 in gifts. Of that, $400 was non-cash donations to Goodwill. Most of the rest went to groups with a Perry tie: $100 to Perry’s alma mater Texas A&M, $76 to an A&M booster group and $50 to Helping Hand Home for Children.

In 1998, according to tax records [PDF], the Perrys donated to their children’s school, O’Henry Middle School. Their handout totaled $10. The Perrys later gave larger donations to Austin High School, when their two children attended in 2002 and 2003: They gave $50 each year to the school.

In 2007, tax records report [PDF] the couple donating a total of $90 to their church at the time, Tarrytown United Methodist. That year, they gave a total of $413 in cash contributions to charity. Their adjusted gross income was more than $1 million.

For many of his years in statewide elected office, Perry gave more in old clothes and used household items than cash. Goodwill and other thrift stores benefited the most from his largesse.

In 2002, the Perry family claimed in tax filings [PDF] $8,970 worth of clothes and shoes that they donated at a fair market value of $1,794.

In 2005, the Perry family claimed [PDF] one donation of clothing, shoes, and video equipment that came to $10,000 with a deductible market value of $5,000.

While it is impossible to know whether the Perrys overvalued their donations to Goodwill, experts on charitable giving say there is often a tendency to overvalue one’s discarded goods. In any case, the Perrys were not scrutinized for the donations.

“It is hard to know what kinds of donations Gov. Perry has made to our organization,” Jesús DeLeón-Serratos, communications manager for Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, said in an email to The Huffington Post. “While we do hand out receipts to be completed by donor (in compliance with IRS regulations — we are not responsible for the valuation of a donated item), we do not ask for personal information and do not track who gave what.”

DeLeón-Serratos said Goodwill was honored to get the donations from Perry. “We hope he continues to make donations to Goodwill and that he supports our efforts to find ways to put more Texans to work,” he said. “Whatever he donates, it definitely helps fund our mission through our workforce development programs.”

In 2007, the year the couple listed more than $1 million in income after selling their home, Anita Perry donated a silk beaded dress she had purchased for $7,500. She pegged the value at $2,500 in her donation to Austin’s Settlement Home For Children, where she sits on the advisory board…

Andi Kelly, spokeswoman for the Settlement Home, said the Perrys have long donated clothing and other items for the organization’s charity garage sale fundraiser, as well as given cash contributions. The annual garage sale nets close to $500,000 for the home each year to support programs for abused and neglected children in the Austin area.

Anita Perry’s “connection to us stems from her platform for helping children and empowering women, which aligns with the mission of The Settlement Home for Children,” Kelly said in an email.

The Perrys have given large donations to other groups with a personal connection as well. In 2008, they gave $9,996 to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault — a nonprofit where Anita Perry worked…

Perry did give more in some years than in others. In 2005, Perry gave more than $23,000, or about 12 percent of his income, to charity. While $6,235 of that value was in unwanted clothes, furniture and video equipment, he wrote checks for $5,000 to the United Fund of Cross Plains, Texas and almost $3,500 to the Helping Hand Home for Children. His increased giving may have come as a result of the pay raise he received that year.

Perry’s inconsistent track record on charitable giving puts him in the company of at least one other Republican candidate.

SIDEBAR: NEWT GINGRICH

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, for instance, is able to raise significant sums for organizations whose goal is to promote him and his brand, but when it comes to collecting funds for charity, the fundraising magic disappears.

In 2009, tax records show, the Gingrich Foundation gave away just $135,000 to various organizations; Renewing American Leadership, Gingrich’s right-wing Christian non-profit with heavy ties the evangelical community, spent more than double that amount just on promotional mailings…

2 Comments

  • Thank you for this article. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this blog into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases.Thanks!

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