Letter To The Editor
Published: June 21, 2012
GRACE Scholars, the movement to make Catholic schools more accessible and affordable in Georgia, is facing a critical test. For those taxpayers who want to support GRACE this year, now is the time to apply for your education tax credit. Delayed action may result in the disappointment of being locked out of the program in 2012.
GRACE competes with 38 other student scholarship organizations (SSOs) for the most generous tax benefit available to American philanthropy. The tax benefit—a 100 percent tax credit for individuals, corporations, and taxable trusts—is a limited commodity. The Georgia legislature places an annual cap on education tax credits. This year, SSOs are competing for credits that cap at $51.5 million. More than 60 percent of the cap has been awarded, and the pace is accelerating.
In 2011, a $50 million cap was reached for the first time on Nov. 7. Some 2,700 taxpayers were locked out of a very popular program. This number included 534 taxpayers who intended to redirect part of their state income taxes to GRACE Scholars.
GRACE was founded by Archbishop Wilton Gregory and Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah in 2008 as a key initiative for advancing Catholic schools in Georgia. From that time forward, more than 3,300 taxpayers have re-directed $10 million to GRACE Scholars for financial assistance to students whose families would struggle to send them to Catholic schools without financial assistance. When schools reopen in August, 654 such students will be attending Catholic schools with assistance from GRACE—assistance that is fully funded as long as the student remains eligible at the school of choice. That is like populating a very large Catholic school without having to construct any new buildings.
The message is clear: please act now to keep the movement growing. Go ahead, share GRACE.
Executive director, GRACE Scholars