Philanthropy beat: Obama, Romney report donations

  • Article by: Jean Hopfensperger
  • Star Tribune
  • April 23, 2012 - 11:57 PM

President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, donated $172,130 to a variety of charities in 2011, or 22 percent of their income.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, donated $4 million -- exclusively for the Mormon church and his family foundation -- which was 16 percent of their estimated income.

The numbers come from the Obamas' 2011 tax returns and Romney's estimated tax returns released by his campaign in January. The charitable donations, which have already been used as political fodder, are just one more reflection of the gulf between the candidates.

The Obamas' biggest check, $172,000, went to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free or low-cost housing to families of military members receiving treatment at military medical facilities.

The next biggest donations, $5,000, went to Habitat for Humanity, United Negro College Fund, the Boys and Girls Club, and the school attended by the Obamas' daughters, Sidwell Friends School.

More than two dozen smaller gifts went to the American Red Cross, Central Illinois Food Bank, Calvary Women's Shelter in Washington, D.C., and others.

The Obamas reported $789,674 in income last year.

Meanwhile, the Romneys, reporting an estimated income of $20.9 million in 2011, donated $2.6 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the Mormon church.

Another $500,000 in cash and $920,000 in stocks were earmarked for the Romney family foundation, the Tyler Charitable Foundation. No information was available on the foundation's grants last year.

However, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that from 1999 to 2010, the biggest recipient of Tyler Foundation grants was the Mormon church.

The foundation made $7 million in grants during that period, including $4.7 million for the Mormon church, the Chronicle reported. Another $525,000 went to Brigham Young University, the Mormon school that is Mitt Romney's alma mater.

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

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