Tax-Break Gifts Could Boost 34 Nonprofits

As much as $4 million may be headed the way of dozens of local not-for-profits, including six separate organizations controlled by Edgewood Rabbi Daniel Greer, in the latest round of an annual state tax-credit sweepstakes.

The Board of Alders this week approved requests by the 34 organizations and their proposals to apply for a total of approximately $4 million to a state program that gives corporations 60 percent to 100 percent tax credits for making cash contributions to tax-exempt organizations.

The requests now go to the state Department of Revenue Services, which distributes the money under the Neighborhood Assistance Act. The program has a $5 million cap; DRS collects all the requests from municipalities, then prorates the approved grants if the requests exceed the cap.

The way the not-for-profit organizations get the money has been a somewhat little-known secret in the state over the years: They have to find, say, a corporate donor with a big tax bill. The donor can give money to a not-for-profit instead of the tax collector, and then obtain a tax credit in the process. So the not-for-profit gets the donation; the donor gets a tax break.

According to the DRS website, businesses can be credited up to 60 percent for certain programs, and up to 100 percent for energy conservation program.

Businesses can receive a maximum of $150,000 in tax credits each year under the program; not-for-profits can only receive that much in contributions “in the aggregate,” according to the website.

Six tax-exempt organizations winning approval for this year’s credits are connected to Edgewood neighborhood Rabbi Daniel Greer. Greer was an early adopter of the program; he has, legally, made use of these tax credits for decades to improve large parts of the previously declining Edgewood neighborhood.

Those six Greer-connected organizations — Edgewood Corners, Edgewood Elm Housing, Edgewood Village, F.O.H., Yedidei Ha Gan, Yeshiva of New Haven (Gan School)—are requesting the most funds under the program. Collectively they’re seeking about $900,000 total mostly for conservation projects that will allow the businesses that donated the cash to receive the maximum credit. The requests also include some general renovation and park restoration work.

The other big request is coming from Yale-New Haven Hospital for $600,000 spread across four different programs. (Click here for the full pdf list of fund requesters in a larger format than that produced above.)

Markeshia Ricks PhotoAmity/Beverly Hills Alder Richard Furlow, who chairs the board’s uman Services Committee, said that the annual program encourages tax-exempt organizations to pursue private sector fundraising and be less dependent on government grants.

“This is something we do each year,” he said about the approval of the list. “There is no city money involved.”

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