Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan says Georgians ought to act on the Qualified Education Donation, a 100% tax credit that benefits public education.
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Lt. Governor: Donate to public school innovation fund and earn dollar-for-dollar tax credit

Geoff Duncan urges Georgians to contribute to fund created to support inventive programs

Geoff Duncan is the lieutenant governor of Georgia. In this guest column, he implores Georgians to contribute to the nonprofit Innovation Fund Foundation that benefits public schools. 

The Qualified Education Donation Tax Credit allows individuals and corporations to donate to the Innovation Fund Foundation and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their state income taxes. The foundation is authorized to receive up to $5 million through this tax credit on a first come, first served basis. The funds will be used to provide grants to public schools to improve student achievement, according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

By Geoff Duncan

Isn’t everyone a fan of spending taxpayer dollars in the best possible way? For the past two years, Georgia residents have had the opportunity to guarantee that their hard-earned state taxes help foster a culture of innovation in Georgia’s public schools. 

Both as your lieutenant governor and as the father of three public school boys, I want to do everything I can to advance public education throughout the state. I know the value of education and wanted to take a moment to share an opportunity that benefits Georgia schools and you. 

The Qualified Education Donation Tax Credit lets individuals and corporations donate money to the nonprofit Innovation Fund Foundation, which provides innovative, community-focused grants for public schools.

The Qualified Education Donation is a 100% tax credit, which means donations trigger a dollar for dollar credit – not just a deduction – on your state income taxes. In practical terms, if you donate $1,000 to the Innovation Fund, then your state income tax bill is reduced $1,000. Then, that $1,000 is used to spur innovation in Georgia’s schools. 

You may be wondering where the funding goes. By law, the Innovation Fund Foundation can only spend donations to provide innovative grants to public schools and eligible partner organizations. In addition, the Foundation gives priority to our lowest performing 5% of schools, giving them lifelines of additional support. 

As I campaigned across our big state, I spoke of the “Four Cs” – Churches, Charities, Corporations and Citizens. I want them to collaborate with the government to solve our biggest problems. The Innovation Fund Foundation grants incentivizes the Four Cs to partner with their local schools to help the kids in their communities. 

I also campaigned on the vision of Georgia becoming the Technology Capital of the East Coast. For that to happen we need a strong workforce, and K-12 education is the foundation of that pyramid.

To date, the Innovation Fund Foundation has invested over $1.6 million in grants awarded to traditional and charter schools, school districts, nonprofit organizations, and post-secondary institutions across Georgia. 

Here are some examples: 

--Coleman Middle School of Gwinnett County Schools received a Community Partnership Grant for $45,000 to implement a mini biosphere that utilizes aquaponics, farming, and hydroponics for students to grow and harvest crops for the community. 

--Georgia Southern University received an Innovation Summit Pilot Grant for $6,900 to build a mathematical community at Susan Dasher Elementary School by providing students, teachers, and families with opportunities to work on scalable projects that engage people of all ages with the STEAM fields. 

You can find more about the Innovation Fund Foundation’s impact here. With your help, the foundation will be able to continue to fund remarkable programs like these.

Given that we are nearing the end of the year, I hope you consider making a donation to the Innovation Fund Foundation. Step-by-step directions for how to donate and receive the tax credit can be found here.

Choose where your tax dollars go and make your mark on Georgia’s 1.7 million public school students.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.
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