Fundraising for Msgr. Lafferty well underway
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Each year gifts to the Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation increase in popularity due to huge tax benefits and that’s why diocesan officials urge donors to give sooner rather than later.
Kristie Arlt, diocesan director of communications and stewardship, pointed out that 90 percent of the diocese’s $1.96 million goal is allocated to particular schools. The remaining 10 percent is reserved for unrestricted gifts to be used in schools with the greatest need. The diocesan Catholic schools’ tax credit allocation is based on student enrollment.
“The tax credits for the individual schools will be protected until Nov. 15,” she said.
What that means is that if a particular school has a tax credit allocation of $25,000 and they have raised just $20,000 by Nov. 15, the remaining $5,000 could be filled by another school that has already met their goal - distributed or “sold” all of their tax credits.
Schools will be able to use the money they raised for tuition scholarships for their own students as long as their families meet the state income guidelines to receive these tuition grants and that is why it is to the schools advantage to raise their target goals.
“The schools are doing very well with fundraising thus far,” Arlt said. “If we compare last year at this time to this year, we are well ahead. Our schools and development officers are working hard to promote the tax credits because they want to make sure they are full by Nov. 15.”
Thus far about three times the money has been contributed to the Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation compared to this same time last year. So far about $640,000 of the $1.96 diocesan goal has been raised.
As of Oct. 11, one school has reached its goal – St. John the Baptist School of Bancroft. Several other schools are approaching their goals such as Pocahontas Catholic at about 92 percent, St. Mary Storm Lake at 85 percent and Bishop Garrigan in Algona at 78 percent.
Dawn Prosser, development director at St. Mary School and Parish in Storm Lake, said, “We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were last year. We have always done well but this year it has come in so much more quickly. I think that is because we had to turn several donors away in December that were very surprised they were unable to come in at the end of the month with their contribution.”
Some of those whom were turned away last year, she noted, were among the first to make a donation this year.
“They didn’t want to miss out on the tax credits, so they made a point to get it in early,” said Prosser, who added that they have also seen new donors this year. “I was pleased to see an alum from central Iowa send in a significant gift.”
While that alum did appreciate the tax benefits, the development director noted that he had been more motivated by his love for St. Mary’s.
“I am fairly confident that we will meet our goal by Nov. 15,” Prosser said. “That is very reassuring for all of us at the school.”
The Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation was established in 2006 as a result of the Iowa Educational Opportunities Act, which allows nonpublic schools to sell tax credits to individual donors who contribute to school tuition organizations (STOs). Donors may receive a 65 percent tax credit on contributions made to the fund and additional federal deductions usually apply.
Because the efforts have been going so well this year, Arlt said she is very optimistic that all of the credit could be allocated by mid- to late-November. Last year the credits were all distributed by Dec. 7.
If you are interested in making a contribution, you can contact your local Catholic school. For the first time, you can now make a donation online by going to the diocesan website – www. scdiocese. org. Click on the stewardship tab and pull down to Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation. You can also make an online donation at your local school’s website.
In addition to the online option, gifts to the Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation will be accepted in the form of personal check, cash, credit card, grain or stock.
Do you want to give grain?
Gifts of corn and beans have been a popular way to contribute to the Msgr. Lafferty Tuition Foundation but diocesan officials say with those contributions certain steps must be taken.
Kristie Arlt, diocesan director of communications and stewardship, said she wanted to alert farmers who plan to give donations of grain that they give the Msgr. Lafferty Foundation ownership.
“They cannot sell it themselves and we cannot accept a check from the grain elevator on their behalf,” she said. “The grain has to be in the Msgr. Lafferty’s possession and then we will turn around and sell it that day, immediately after we get the word that we are the owners.”
Arlt said they have already received some checks from grain elevators that they have had to return.
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