The American Red Cross is here every day for people facing disaster. Our organization relies on the generosity of the American people – not the federal government – to fulfill its humanitarian mission.

As a member of the Southern Maine Red Cross Board of Directors, I have serious concerns about how the tax bill in the U.S. Senate would affect charitable giving. By nearly doubling the standard deduction, it could remove the charitable giving incentive for 95 percent of taxpayers. It is estimated that the percentage of taxpayers who itemize would plummet from 30 percent to only 5 percent.

Simply put, it would hurt our ability to help people: those affected by disasters; those who need blood because of illness or an accident; those military families coping with deployment, crises and the transition to civilian life, and so many others.

Here’s a glimpse of what the Red Cross can accomplish with the power of its volunteers and the generosity of its donors. In the most recent fiscal year, in Maine, we:

Responded to 295 in-state disasters, assisting 1,025 individuals.

Collected 51,018 units of blood.

Installed 3,194 free smoke alarms.

Helped more than 980 Maine service members, veterans and their families.

Empowered 19,009 Maine residents through life-saving health, safety and preparedness education and skills training such as first aid, CPR, water safety and babysitter training.

Since late August, we have deployed Mainers across the nation more than 117 times to assist people affected by hurricanes, wildfires and mass shootings – all while continuing to serve the people of Maine. The Red Cross supports a “universal” charitable tax deduction that allows all taxpayers the opportunity to take advantage of this incentive. We need a solution that allows the Red Cross to continue to turn compassion into action.

Scott Carter

first vice chair, Southern Maine Board of Directors, American Red Cross

Falmouth