This past week was a definite reminder that winter can still impose its harshness even during an El Nino year like the one we’re having. Cold and snow are part of living in northern Ohio. Personally, I enjoy it and find it refreshing, but I’m still young and adventurous. One positive aspect of the cold weather is that we have had clear skies, which bring sunshine! Almost everyone enjoys sunshine, especially in the winter. The moral of the story here is that, if we take the time to look, there are always reasons to give thanks.
There are many reasons why I give thanks to God each day, one of those is the many parishioners who support the daily operation of our parishes. The generous giving of their time, talent, and financial gifts are what allows our parishes to do the work God has given us. Their giving inspires others to consider how they can support the work of the Church. Obviously, money is always needed and appreciated, but so are the gifts of time and talent. Each is a sacrifice, but together they are what enables parishes to produce the good fruit Jesus speaks about in the gospels.
In this regard, I share with you exciting news that you might be tempted to think is too good to be true. At first, I too was skeptical, but after learning more, my disbelief turned into excitement. What I’m referring to is a recent change in the state tax code that allows Ohioans to make a financial donation to the work of the parish and fully deduct it from what they owe in state taxes. This is great news because it allows parishioners to make a contribution with zero cost to themselves.
As with every tax law, there are limitations and specific guidelines that must be followed. First, the financial gift cannot be greater than $750 for individuals or $1,500 for married couples. Second, the donation must be made to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO), not directly to parishes. This is because the tax law intends the donation to be directed toward private schools, such as our Catholic schools. Since parishioners subsidize the cost to operate their parish school, these donations will help reduce the school operating cost to the parish.
Although not every parish operates a Catholic school, hopefully every Catholic understands the importance and need for good Catholic schools in our society. More and more our society is drifting from a Christian viewpoint to one that is rapidly becoming pagan and hedonistic. This new state tax law allows every parishioner who pays state income taxes to contribute a small portion of that to their local Catholic schools at no cost to themselves. This is a rare win-win situation and something we should all support.
The Diocese of Toledo has established itself as the Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) for all the Catholic schools throughout our diocese. Financial gifts are made directly to our Diocesan SGO with specification for which Catholic school it is intended. To claim a 2023 Ohio Scholarship Donation Credit, you would make your donation to our Diocesan SGO before April 15, 2024. More information about this can be found in this bulletin.