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EITC: Empowering Businesses to Support Jewish Education

June 6, 2014
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EITC dollars enable Pennsylvania families to give their children a high quality Jewish education.

Businesses that participate in the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program have the power to direct their tax dollars to the future leaders of our Jewish community — our children. The process is as easy as one, two, three:

1) Businesses that pay taxes in the commonwealth — including C corporations, S corporations, Partnerships, LLCs, banks and title companies and businesses where owners elect “pass through options” on their tax returns — complete a simple online registration and then apply to participate in one (or all) of three educational tax credit programs that provide scholarships to children in preschools and grades K-12.

2) Upon approval, the business can receive a credit for up to 90 percent of their state tax liability for up to $1.7 million by making a gift to The Foundation for Jewish Day Schools. The Foundation was created by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in partnership with area day schools to provide needs-based scholarships.

3) The Foundation uses these donations to provide low-to-moderate-income Jewish families with tuition assistance so their children can attend Jewish day schools and preschools.

As an added bonus, participating businesses may be able to claim their gift as a charitable tax deduction on their Federal tax return. According to Marjorie Honickman, a member of Jewish Federation’s board of directors, the EITC program is a “win-win” situation for participating businesses and families who want their children to receive a quality Jewish education.

“We are so pleased that through our business interest, Origlio Beverage,we  have the opportunity to participate in Pennsylvania’s educational tax credit program. This way we can direct our tax dollars to where we feel they make the most difference,” Honickman said,  adding that “supporting Jewish day schools — and specifically special needs services for students who need them — is a high priority for us.”

Thanks to the EITC program, the Foundation awarded $2,774,643 in needs-based scholarships for 594 day school students from low- and moderate-income households during the 2013-2014 school year. These students attend one of the schools that partner with the Foundation. They are: Abrams Hebrew Academy; Cheder Chabad; Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy; Kohelet Yeshiva High School; I.S. Kosloff Torah Academy Girls High School; Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School; Politz Hebrew Academy; Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia; and Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia.

In 2014-2015, the partnership has been expanded to include the Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia and OROT: Special Needs Initiative.

“The EITC program helps many more families access a Jewish day school education for their children,” said Tracey Specter, president of the board of Perelman Jewish Day School. “These EITC dollars not only impact individual students by providing them with an outstanding education, but they also impact our entire Jewish community. Jewish day schools educate the next generation of Jewish leaders. Now that’s something we can all be proud of.”

Rabbi Ira Budow, director of Abrams Hebrew Academy, concurs, emphasizing that, “in today’s difficult economic times, the future of day schools depends on programs like EITC to provide the additional funding to enable us to educate our children in a Jewish environment. Tuition alone can no longer support private schools, and EITC is a win-win both for the donors and the day school recipients.”

The Foundation also awarded more than $300,000 in needs-based scholarships to 169 families, enabling their preschool children to attend Jewish early learning programs at more than 30 sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, including synagogues, Jewish day schools, Jewish Community Centers and Federation Early Learning Centers (FELS).

Maddy Malis, president and CEO of Federation Early Learning Services, received a call from a grateful parent who received one of the Foundation scholarships. “Thank you very much. It is only possible for us to send our daughter to your school with the assistance we receive. We are so thankful, especially since our little girl loves the Mary Bert Gutman Center. We have a lot of confidence and pride in her attending this school.”

Important: July 1 is the submission date for new EITC donors. EITC applications are processed and the tax credits are awarded by a lottery system to applicants who submit by July 1 or shortly after. Credits are typically fully depleted within a very short period of time every year. l

For more information, call Ellen Horowitz Matz, Education Tax Credit officer, at 215-832-0525 or email: ematz@jfgp.org. Application guidelines are available at: jewishphilly.org/eitc.

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