The short answer, according to the IRS and Publication 526, is no. I have been asked this question several times over the years and there is one thing people always get stuck on: They want to donate money to a specific person that charity XYZ works with. They will write the check to the charity but specify who the money should be spent on. That is a charitable donation, right? Wrong. To quote from the IRS:
This is not to say that those donors cannot donate to those individuals at all, just that those donations will not be tax deductible.
You cannot deduct contributions to specific individuals, including the following.
Contributions to individuals who are needy or worthy. This includes contributions to a qualified organization if you indicate that your contribution is for a specific person. But you can deduct a contribution that you give to a qualified organization that in turn helps needy or worthy individuals if you do not indicate that your contribution is for a specific person.
Example. You can deduct contributions for flood relief, hurricane relief, or other disaster relief to a qualified organization. However, you cannot deduct contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family.
Payments to a member of the clergy that can be spent as he or she wishes, such as for personal expenses.
Expenses you paid for another person who provided services to a qualified organization.
Example. Your son does missionary work. You pay his expenses. You cannot claim a deduction for your son's unreimbursed expenses related to his contribution of services.
Payments to a hospital that are for a specific patient's care or for services for a specific patient. You cannot deduct these payments even if the hospital is operated by a city, state, or other qualified organization.