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$100-million Community Spirit Program Benefits Charities and Non-profits, Encourages Donations

by NationTalk on April 30, 2008688 Views

April 30, 2008

New program supports donations through funds and tax credits

Edmonton… With a goal of increasing charitable donations from individuals, the Alberta government has launched its Community Spirit Program. The program includes an enhanced charitable tax credit as previously announced and a new donor-driven donation grant program. It allows Albertans to decide where they want funding to go based on their annual donations.“The Community Spirit Program builds on Albertans’ long history of giving, and supporting charitable groups,” said Premier Ed Stelmach. “It encourages and rewards donations by individuals, and boosts funding to the organizations that Albertans support with their own hard-earned dollars.”

Funds for the program are from an approximately $80-million enhanced charitable tax credit announced last year; the remaining $20-million is new funding announced during Budget 2008. The program is donor-driven, meaning Albertans will decide where they want the funding to go based on where they donate.

“As we recognize the devotion and dedication of volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we are reminded of the vital role that volunteers play in contributing to a healthy and vibrant society,” said Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit. “The Community Spirit Program not only supports our province’s network of charities and non-profits, it also encourages Albertans to support those same organizations.”

The donation grant program is available to all eligible non-profit organizations and Canada Revenue Agency-registered charities, and is funded through the Alberta Lottery Fund. Donation grants will be calculated on a proportional basis by dividing the $20-million annual budget by the amount of eligible cash donations received by eligible organizations over a 12-month period.

“Early feedback from charitable organizations shows the enhanced tax credit is having a positive impact,” said Karen Lynch, Executive Director of Volunteer Alberta. “Alberta donors receiving their 2007 tax assessments will have realized an additional saving. The tax credit increase provides a valuable benefit to our registered charities, and the donation grant program encourages Albertans to financially support voluntary sector organizations. Non-profits can now expand their donor base to increase their revenues impacting their ability to accomplish their mandates and reach their possibilities.”

Donation grant applications and program guidelines are now available online at www.communityspiritprogram.ca. The deadline for submitting donation grant applications is October 1. The first grant cheques will be sent out early in 2009.

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Attachment: Backgrounder on Community Spirit Program

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Shawna Cass, Communications
Culture and Community Spirit
780-427-6530
Tom Olsen
Office of the Premier
780-422-4095


backgrounder:

April 30, 2008
Grant program and charitable tax credit comprise Community Spirit Program

Edmonton… Two components make up the donor-driven Community Spirit Program: a new $20-million donation grant program and the approximately $80-million enhanced charitable tax credit. Albertans can decide where they want the funding to go – based on their annual donations.

Donation Grant Program

- Available to all eligible non-profit organizations and Canada Revenue Agency-registered charities that provide direct services to Albertans and Alberta communities with a philanthropic purpose.
- Grants will be calculated on a proportional basis, and are based on eligible cash donations from individuals that have been received by the eligible organization within a 12-month period.
- The maximum grant is $25,000 per year, with total grants not to exceed $50,000 over three-years.
- $1,000 in eligible cash donations is required prior to applying for a donation grant.
- Grants can be used to fund an organization’s operating costs, programs and/or capital projects.
- The annual donation grant submission deadline will be October 1.

Enhanced Charitable Tax Credit

- Effective January 1, 2007, the Alberta government raised the charitable tax credit for eligible annual donations above $200 by 60 per cent.
- Including the federal credit, Albertans now receive a 50-cent tax credit for every dollar donated over the $200 threshold.
- The increase gives Alberta one of the highest charitable tax credits in Canada.

Parameters for the Community Spirit Program are based on recommendations made by an MLA committee. The committee used research and consultation with other jurisdictions, voluntary sector organizations and the public to develop its recommendations.

For more information, visit www.communityspiritprogram.ca

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Media inquiries may be directed to:
Shawna Cass
Director, Communications
Culture and Community Spirit
780-427-6530

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