The centerfold fundraising piece in the Independent by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG) was beautiful [8/9/12]. I hope people will donate or become members. The garden deserves community support.

However, the SBBG should not write that it “is not subsidized by any government agencies or public funds” as this is not true; nor should any nonprofit. The SBBG has received regular grants of plus-or-minus $100,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The 2009 labyrinth was funded in part with $40,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The SBBG has had contracts with the National Park Service and the military. These are all government agencies and public funds. The SBBG’s 990 tax returns showed $1,747,451 from the government in 2007; $237,125 in 2010; and $85,000 in government contributions in 2011.

No nonprofit organization pays property taxes. This is a county government subsidy, for the public benefit that the nonprofit provides. The SBBG owns over 160 acres that are off the county’s property tax rolls.

Donations to 501c3 organizations are tax deductible. Funds deducted by eligible donors are not then available to help pay to run our government.

My point is that government subsidizes everyone – nonprofits, individuals, and private, for-profit businesses.

Support the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and other nonprofits that you believe in.


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