First, I’ll get the easy one out of the way. If you want to make a difference for a child in foster care – not just right now, but for a lifetime – consider becoming a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate. You can learn more about what this entails by going to the Volunteer button above, or clicking here. You can also read about the true stories of their impact in Yellowstone County by accessing our Stories page up top.

For some of you reading this – or perhaps many of you – now is not the right time to take on a new volunteer role, especial one as important as being a CASA. But if you believe in the importance of what these Advocates do, there are other ways you can make a difference.

It happens that today is April 30, the final day of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Court Appointed Special Advocates have an integral role in the prevention of child abuse by visiting at-risk children at their homes and schools, by writing reports to a judge on the safety and needs of the children, and by making recommendations for ensuring the children will be placed in a safe and permanent home. In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, consider making a donation to our local CASA program by going to the Give button above, or clicking here.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofits’ operations and services have been impacted. As a result, Giving Tuesday – the annual day of giving that takes place the Tuesday following Thanksgiving – has been moved up to Tuesday, May 7. You can keep up with updates on the differences CASAs are making in Billings and the surrounding communities by follow our Facebook page here. If you’re able, you can also make a donation there this Giving Tuesday – and every other day of the year!

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes several opportunities for greater charitable giving throughout 2020. These include allowing taxpayers to take a charitable deduction of up to $300 – even if you don’t itemize. For those who do itemize their deductions, the CARES Act allows for cash contributions to qualified charities (including CASA of Yellowstone County) to be deducted up to 100% of your adjusted gross income. The law also temporarily suspends the requirements for required minimum distributions for the 2020 tax year.

Thank you for your support of our Court Appointed Special Advocates and the powerful work they are doing in our community. I hope you will join them and make a difference for children today!

Ben McKee is the Development Director for CASA of Yellowstone County.