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Mitt Romney’s Acts of Charity

Mitt Romney MormonMitt and Ann Romney have a net worth of over $200 million, and they’ve given generously to various charities.  Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are among the most charitable givers in America already, mostly because they pay tithing to the Church.  Tithing equals 10% of one’s increase, and in pioneer days was usually donated “in kind,” that is, in wool, wheat, and eggs.  Nowadays, it’s paid privately to the bishop of one’s congregation.  Tithing is used to run the Church.  Mormons make another donation once each month to feed the poor through the Church’s welfare program.  They may also make separate donations to a humanitarian aid fund, missionary support fund, perpetual education fund, or temple-building fund.  All donations are confidential, but one must be a full tithe-payer to enter the Mormon temple and participate in ordinances there.

Most of Mitt Romney’s charitable donations have gone to the Mormon Church, over and above the tithing he has paid.  He and Ann have also donated substantially to Brigham Young University.  In 1998, Romney gave BYU $1 million to create the George W. Romney Institute for Public Management in honor of his father, George Romney.

The couple established the Ann D. and W. Mitt Romney Charitable Foundation in 1993, just as he was preparing his ill-fated bid to unseat Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). It lay mostly dormant until 1999, when the couple deposited more than $3.6 million worth of high-tech stocks in it and began to make significant contributions.  Now known as the Tyler Charitable Foundation, it is scheduled to release its 2010 financial reports in fall of 2011.

The foundation has been the Romneys’ main vehicle for giving, whether to keep the lights on with a $10,000 check to a homeless shelter for veterans that couldn’t pay its electric bill or to send relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina ($10,000) and the South Asia earthquake and tsunami ($25,000).

The GOP presidential hopeful has donated $127,000 in proceeds from his 2010 campaign book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.” Seven charities serving children, cancer and MS patients and severely wounded veterans got donations ranging from $10,000 to nearly $33,000.

The businessman-turned-politician has also foregone payment for work he did as governor and as head of the Olympics.

As head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Romney took no salary for three years while donating $1 million to the games. Later, while he was entitled to $135,000 annually as governor of Massachusetts, he drew a salary of $1 a year for serving as the state’s chief executive. And while he hasn’t explicitly said so this time around, Romney vowed during his last campaign for the White House that, if elected, he would donate his $400,000 salary as president to charity. [1]

Ann, who suffers from M.S., donates her time as her health allows.  She has worked as a board member of New England Chapter of the MS Society, and has been a long-time supporter of the United Way of Massachusetts. She also has served as director of the Best Friends Foundation, a controversial program that promotes abstinence-only sex education for inner-city girls.

The Romneys have given more than $100,000 to research and service organizations for multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, cancer, epilepsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease and AIDS.   They have lent support to The Boy Scouts of America, the Boston Scholars program for disadvantaged students and the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund to prevent child abuse — where Ann Romney served on the board.  They gave $10,000 to the United Way Faith and Action Fund started by Ann Romney to help at-risk urban youth. Romney has given more than $60,000 to City Year, the Boston-based community service organization on whose board he once served.

The Romneys have also donated to conservative groups—the Massachusetts Family Institute, which fought same-sex marriage in the state;  the anti-abortion rights group Massachusetts Citizens for Life; Washington’s right-leaning Heritage Foundation; the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group; Citizens for Limited Taxation; and  Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

The Romneys have donated to Right to Play, an international group that uses sports as a developmental tool for children in disadvantaged areas of the world. His money has helped restore community baseball fields, teach sailing in Boston and support the U.S. Olympic handball team. The Romneys also have given nearly $20,000 to the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation. It’s a cause close to the heart of Ann Romney, whose therapy to cope with MS has included horseback riding.  They have also donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.

Additional Resources:

Mitt Romney gives generously to charities. Being charitable is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).

Request a free copy of the Book of Mormon.

Attend a local meetinghouse.


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