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Businesses can claim tax credits in echange for donations to Norwin schools community group

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Norwin School District Community Foundation officials say they hope businesses will donate to the organization in exchange for state tax credits.

The state Department of Community and Economic Development recognizes the foundation as an educational-improvement organization, which makes it possible for businesses to claim tax credits when making donations as part of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, said Jonathan Szish, the foundation's executive director, Jonathan Szish.

The Norwin School District Community Foundation, which started in 2007, sponsors scholarships and supplemental educational programming, foundation President John Boylan said.

“We just want to help make the school district become better by enriching and advancing programming for our children, especially in these trying economic times,” Boylan said.

Businesses donating to the foundation, or any other educational-improvement organization, for one year through the program receive a tax credit equal to 75 percent of their contribution, while those who donate for two consecutive years receive a tax credit equal to 90 percent of their contribution annually.

For example, a business that pledges $10,000 for one year would receive a $7,500 tax credit, while a business pledging the same amount for two years would receive a $9,000 tax credit annually, Szish said.

“It does require a charitable output,” Szish said. “But, the advantage is the business is donating to a program in the community, instead of letting all that money go to Harrisburg.”

This year, the state budgeted $30 million for the program, Szish said. The first day to submit an application is July 1, and officials really need to do it July, he said.

“The popularity of the program is so big statewide that its budget is typically exhausted by the end of the day on July 1,” Szish said.

The donations can go only toward state-approved programming, Szish said.

It allows the donations to go toward expanding district's elementary robotics program; creating advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, camps and programming; offsetting costs of Advanced Placement and college-in-high-school classes; contributing to the development of a multimedia arts lab; and supplementing the high school work-study program, Szish said.

The donations go directly to the school district, and its administrators make the final call on which of those initiatives will be funded, Boylan said.

“In the end, even though we're soliciting the funds, they make the decision, but it can only be in one of those areas,” Boylan said. “If we could get donations and create a nice monetary flow, we'd be able to have a nice bit of money to support these programs.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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