Grant helping to ramp up possible contributions to CDC
It’s only a $25,000 grant that the Franklin County Community Development Corp. was awarded this week, but it could pay off by bringing a lot more money to the organization, and to the community — from the community.
The grant, among $750,000 in grants to 28 agencies from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, will help the CDC and other certified community development entities like the Hilltown CDC, which serves Ashfield, to plan for a Community Investment Tax Credit program that’s scheduled to begin next January.
The program is aimed at encouraging economic opportunities for low- and middle-income households. It allows a 50 percent tax credit for contributions made to the CDC, which John Waite, executive director of the Greenfield-based organization, said should attract greater investment from within the county as public funding gets cut back.
“The state will lose a little revenue” by allowing the tax credits, Waite said, “But now they’re saying donors can steer their money to their own community. If you give it to us, you know it’s being used right here: you can see it, can hear it, you can have a voice in it” through the organization’s local board of directors.
Some businesses, including banks and local enterprises that the CDC helped start up and grow, already do make contributions, for which they can write off on their taxes. But this should expand the amount of credit they get for their donations and, Waite hopes, be an incentive to boost their giving, while attracting other contributors. Contributions now typically account for $60,000 to $70,000 of the CDC’s roughly $1 million annual budget, Waite said.
“If we can bump that up, or double that, that’s huge for us,” he said. “It’s a way for people to invest in their own community.”
The program sets tax-credit contribution limits to a single CDC at $1,000 to $300,000, according to agency spokesman Matthew Sheaff.
The program doesn’t specify exactly what contributions through the Community Investment Tax Credit should be targeted, but Waite said whether the CDC focuses contributions on buying equipment for its Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, on technical assistance geared to small businesses or other initiatives to boost the local economy, “people will only donate to us if they like the whole organization. It’s a way people invest their own community, through the CDC.”