Originally Posted by MichaelB
This is not tax deductible because the donor is directing the gift to specific individuals. It does mean, however, that the gift can be given by a real person with words of compassion and friendship, which make it easier to understand and accept.
I agree with you. I did not engineer this, but the third party who did told the donors it was OK to take the deduction because it looked like a contribution to the church. There was to be no specific designation on the check. The third party supplied a list of donors to the church, and the church matched up the names on that list with donation checks to determine the total amount of the donation. The whole thing (person with some very deep financial and emotional problems) ended very badly, but the donation scheme had nothing to do with it.
Probably good advice: don't try this at home.