March 25, 2008

Barack and Michelle Obama Donated $240,000 to Charity Last Year

Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, donated $240,000 to charity in 2007, according to his campaign, and has released information about his charitable gifts dating back to 2000.

The data show that the Illinois senator’s giving was higher over the past three years, when he and his wife, Michelle Obama, were making more money and he was beginning to run for president.

The Obamas have not yet released their federal tax return for 2007, so it is unclear what percentage of their total income their charitable contributions represented last year or to which organizations their gifts were made.

The Obamas gave $60,307 to charitable organizations in 2006, about 6 percent of their $991,296 in total income that year (the most recent year for which his campaign provided tax returns).

Recipients of the couple’s donations included their church, Trinity United Church of Christ (whose pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has made headlines for controversial sermons), $22,500; CARE, the international relief organization, $15,000; and the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, $5,000.

In 2005, the Obamas reported total gifts of $77,315, or about 5 percent of their total income of nearly $1.7-million. Among the recipients in 2005: the Illinois Reading Council, $25,000; CARE, $16,000; and Trinity United Church of Christ, $5,000.

From 2000 through 2004, the Obamas’ total income was much smaller, ranging from $207,647 in 2004 to $275,123 in 2001. During this five-year period their charitable giving represented about 1 percent of their total income.

Tax returns that detail the Obamas’ charitable gifts from 2000 through 2006 are available on the campaign’s Web site.

— Suzanne Perry contributed to this article.