Californians, YOU have the power to use YOUR tax refund in a powerful way. While you may dread tax season, there is a silver lining. The economy still remains sluggish, and for you, a refund could mean a great financial blessing for you and/or your family. But, it also gives YOU the perfect, easy opportunity to give back.

In California, there are approximately 40,000 nonprofit organizations aimed at providing social services to CA residents and communities in need. There are a select few struggling to improve our lives every day, that also have the ability to accept contributions directly from the CA state income tax form. Amid economic hardship for these organizations that are crucial to the future of California, checking the donate option on the CA state income tax form can provide vital resources enabling them to make a positive impact in our state. Donations accepted through the tax checkoff program are an essential part of their revenue stream. After donations sagged during the recession, many organizations rely on the state income tax checkoff program to help finance critical programs. If even half of those filing taxes in California were to donate via their tax form, it could raise a substantial amount of money for causes that are contributing to the essential needs of Californians.

Regardless of your income or your refund, any amount will make a real difference.

There are currently 20 charitable causes to choose to donate to on the CA state income tax form. Read below for more information on these causes. For more information on donating from your tax form, click here.

Current Fund Descriptions 

Alzheimer’s Disease/Related Disorders Fund

Contributions will provide grants to California scientists who study Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. This research includes basic science, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, behavioral problems, and care giving. With 600,000 Californians living with the disease and another 2 million providing care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s, our state is in the early stages of a major public health crisis. Your contribution will ensure that Alzheimer’s disease receives the attention, research, and resources it deserves.


California Breast Cancer Research Fund

Contributions support unique breast cancer research - new approaches to prevent and cure the disease other agencies might be reluctant to support. These donations fund scientifically rigorous research guided by the needs and voices of California communities. Administered by the University of California, the California Breast Cancer Program must, by law, use 95% of all contributions for research and education. Contribute today.


California Cancer Research Fund

CA Cancer Research Fund

Contributions will be used to conduct research relating to the causes, detection, and prevention of cancer and to expand community-based education on cancer, and to provide prevention and awareness activities for communities that are disproportionately at risk or afflicted by cancer.


California Firefighters’ Memorial Fund

Contributions will be used for the repair and maintenance of the California Firefighters’ Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol, ceremonies to honor the memory of fallen firefighters and to assist surviving loved ones, and for an informational guide detailing survivor benefits to assist the spouses and children of fallen firefighters.


California Peace Officer Memorial Foundation Fund

Contributions will be used to preserve the memory of California’s fallen peace officers and assist the families they left behind. Since statehood, over 1,300 courageous California peace officers have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting law-abiding citizens. The non-profit charitable organization, California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation, has accepted the privilege and responsibility of maintaining a memorial for fallen officers on the State Capitol grounds. Each May, the Memorial Foundation conducts a dignified ceremony honoring fallen officers and their surviving families by offering moral support, crisis counseling, and financial support that includes academic scholarships for the children of those officers who have made the supreme sacrifice.

For more information, contact the California Peace Officer Memorial Foundation or visit their website at California Highway Patrol


California Sea Otter Fund

The California Coastal Conservancy and the Department of Fish and Wildlife will each be allocated 50 percent of the contributions. The California Coastal Conservancy will use the contributions for research and programs related to the near-shore ecosystem, including sea otters. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use the contributions to establish a sea otter fund within the department’s index coding system for increased investigation, prevention, and enforcement action.

For more information, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife or the California Coastal Conservancy.



Contributions will provide support for the California Senior Legislature (CSL). The CSL is made up of volunteers who develop statewide senior related legislative proposals in areas of health, housing, transportation, and community services to be presented to the State Legislature.


California Senior Special Fund

If you and/or your spouse are 65 years of age or older as of December 31, 2011, and claim the Senior Exemption Credit on line 9, you may make a combined total contribution of up to $204 or $102 per spouse. Contributions entered to this fund will be distributed to the Area Agency of Aging Councils (TACC) to provide advice on and sponsorship of Senior Citizens issues. Any excess contributions not required by TACC will be distributed to senior citizen service organizations throughout California for meals, adult day care, and transportation.

Caution: Only taxpayers or spouses who claim the senior exemption credit on their California return may contribute to the Senior Special Fund. The contribution amount must not exceed the amount of the senior exemption credit. See table below: 


California YMCA Youth and Government Fund

Contributions will be used to support civic education programs operated by the YMCA Youth and Government Program, the African American Leaders for Tomorrow Program, the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, and the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project. 


California Youth Leadership Fund

Contributions will be used to support the activities of the California Youth Leadership Project for the purpose of promoting youth civic engagement.


Child Victims of Human Trafficking Fund

Contributions will be used to fund, through grants, eligible community-based organizations that agree to provide services to minors who are victims of human trafficking.


Emergency Food for Families Fund

Contributions will be used to help local food banks feed California’s hungry.

Your contribution will fund the purchase of much-needed food for delivery to food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens throughout the state. The State Department of Social Services will monitor its distribution to ensure the food is given to those most in need. 


Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of California, Inc., which represents and supports California Habitat for Humanity affiliates will distribute donated funds to affiliates for the construction and repair of affordable homes.


Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund

Contributions will be used to provide grants to eligible municipal shelters to provide low cost or free spay-neuter services for dogs and cats.


Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund

Contributions will be used to provide grants to community organizations working to protect, restore, and enhance the California coast and ocean. Our coast is never finally saved; it is always being saved, and it needs our help.  Your contribution will support shoreline cleanups, habitat restoration, coastal access improvements, and ocean education programs, and represents an investment in the long-term protection of our coast and ocean.


Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program

Contributions will be used to help protect and conserve California’s many threatened and endangered species and the wild land that they need to survive, for the enjoyment and benefit of you and future generations of Californians.


School Supplies for Homeless Children Fund

Contributions will be used to provide school supplies and health-related products to homeless children.


Special Olympics Fund  |

Your contributions will benefit Special Olympics Southern California and Special Olympics Northern California to continue to showcase the capabilities and achievements of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Along with providing year-round free sports and competition programs to more than 48,000 children and adults across the state, Special Olympics Southern and Northern California encourages inclusion and anti-bullying through Unified Sports and the Schools Partnership Program, bringing those with and without disabilities together to compete as teammates. Special Olympics is also committed to improving the health and well-being of athletes through a variety of screenings and programs.


State Children’s Trust Fund for the Prevention of Child Abuse

Contributions will be used to fund programs for the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect.


State Parks Protection Fund/Parks Pass Purchase

Contributions will be used for the protection and preservation of California’s state parks and for the cost of a Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass valid at most park units where day use fees are collected. The pass is not valid at off-highway vehicle units, or for camping, oversized vehicle, extra vehicle, per-person, or supplemental fees. If a taxpayer’s contribution equals or exceeds $195 the taxpayer will receive a single Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass. Amounts contributed in excess of the parks pass cost may be deducted as a charitable contribution for the year in which the voluntary contribution is made. Any contribution less than $195 will be treated as a voluntary contribution and may be deducted as a charitable contribution.

For more information, visit their website at State Department of Parks and Recreation/Annual Pass or email