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Catholic Schools donations outpace available tax credits

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Late-coming prospective donors to the Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation (MLTF) found they were too late to enjoy 65 percent State of Iowa tax credits for 2011. The northwest Iowa school tuition foundation (STO) met its 2011 fundraising goal of $1.93 million in mid-November. And the other 10 STOs in the state met their goal right after Christmas. In past years, donors had until the end of the business day on Dec. 31 to make a contribution somewhere in the state as credits were always available. Storm Lake St. Mary's School donors raised over $100,000 for their fund in the MLTF - and donors are still asking to contribute.

"When we ran out of our allocated credits, we were able to direct donors to the MLTF unrestricted fund or other schools until that goal was met. When donors still kept coming, we were able to connect them with other dioceses' STOs that had not yet met their goals. We can help more donors and more students when there are more credits available next year," explained St. Mary's Development Director Dawn Prosser. "In past years, we were taking donations right up until Dec. 31 as the contributions came in much more slowly. Donors were surprised that they couldn't wait that long this year."

The MLTF money raised will be used to support need-based tuition assistance to qualifying students within the Diocese of Sioux City in the 2012-2013 school year, including St. Mary's. The Dioceses of Sioux City has eight Catholic High Schools and 20 middle and grade schools with over 6,000 students. MLTF raises funds to assist families whose income is at or below 300 percent of the poverty level, providing them with need-based tuition assistance. St. Mary's School receives well over $100,000 in tuition assistance through this program.

"It is amazing how people have responded to donating to these STO programs. We had over 600 donors give to MLTF this year, and turned away over $200,000 once our tax credits were gone. The generous support of our donors is overwhelming," said Kristie Arlt, director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Sioux City.

Contributors to MLTF or other STOs receive an Iowa income tax credit equal to 65 percent of their donation, thus reducing their Iowa income tax obligation in the amount of the tax credit received. The donation may also qualify for federal income tax deductibility.

Dan Ryan, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Sioux City says these tax credits mean a great deal to families, "The program goes a long way in respecting Iowa Parents' right to direct the education of their children by choosing the educational environment that best meets their child's needs. The program is a win-win for all."

Donor forms will also be available online beginning Jan. 3 to make a contribution to MLTF for 2012. The 2012 goal for MLTF is $2.2 million, as allowed by Iowa law. For questions about giving in 2012 to MLTF and benefitting St. Mary's, contact Prosser at 712-732-3110 or smalumni@iw.net.

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