The Chief Science Officers (CSO) program was launched to help sixth- through 12th-graders in Arizona and beyond ultimately develop technical and employability skills through STEM activities. However, this collaborative initiative of the Arizona Technology Council Foundation and Arizona Commerce Authority may be only scratching the surface to help develop the potential of students in some schools in involved with CSO.
Science for All is a new qualifying charitable organization that will enable CSO to provide services currently out of reach for member schools that are considered Title I, referring to those institutions with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families that receive financial assistance to help ensure all students meet challenging state academic standards. “There’s a lot of potential to raise charitable giving dollars and have them go towards Title I communities that the CSOs are in and support those CSOs,” says Jeremy Babendure, executive director of the Arizona Technology Council Foundation.
Donations to Science for All qualify for a dollar-for-dollar Arizona charitable tax credit, which is a reduction of the taxpayer’s income tax liability compared to a deduction that reduces a taxpayer’s income that would otherwise be taxable. The maximum credit per year is $400 for taxpayers filing as single, head of household, or married filing separately; and $800 for taxpayers filing as married filing jointly.
Currently, about two out of every three CSO schools in Arizona are considered Title I, Babendure says. “There’s a heck of a lot more that we could start working with” for the schools through Science for All, he says. For example, funds could support a coordinator who could focus on the student CSOs in the Title I schools to help cultivate their soft skills. “Having the ability to have somebody who could be on the ground doing that and spending the intimate time with those to make that happen could be a good use of that money,” he says. Another possibility is covering the costs of field trips to STEM events and other opportunities.
While a donation to Science for All may result in both a state income tax credit and a federal income tax deduction, consult a tax professional for advice about your specific situation. For more information, go to www.scienceforallaz.org.