October 20, 2004
Mesa’s Stapley Junior High School took in $36,474 in tax credit donations for extracurricular activities last year.
But the contributions did not match the $40,000 garnered in a one-day fundraiser by the school’s parentteacher association.
That fact didn’t get by parent Debbie Forrest.
"We’re barely tapping the resources we’ve got here," Forrest said.
Forrest decided to use the same kind of parent muscle that brings in bigger money in golf tournaments and fund-raising fairs, to get more extracurricular tax credit donations. So she asked five local executives to determine how many companies would agree to match donations made by employees.
Now, more than 40 parents from Stapley and its three feeder elementary schools — Bush, Hermosa Vista and Ishikawa — are walking door-to-door in neighborhoods with a list of more than 100 local and national companies that have agreed to match donations.
Essentially, that could double donations going to all Arizona public schools — because the participating businesses have agreed to match employees’ contributions to any public school in the state.
State law allows families to donate up to $250 and individuals up to $200 to a public school — and get a complete refund in their tax return.
"We’re trying to raise awareness that our schools do need money," Forrest said.
District financial director George Zeigler said the tax credit donation can be a more effective way to raise money than product sale fund-raisers, where only a percentage of proceeds goes to schools.
• To learn which companies are matching tax credit donations to public schools, visit www.ecataxcredit.com