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Planned school to hand out tax credits

September 01, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A planned school for troubled teenage girls has been given a $200,000 boost from the West Virginia Development Office in Charleston.

The Eagles' Wings Educational Girls Home project has been given $100,000 in tax credit vouchers representing $200,000 in potential donations from area businesses, Eagles' Wings Executive Director Jeannie Hellem said.

"It gives us leverage to raise money," Hellem said.

The $100,000 grant is part of the state's $2 million attempt to increase charitable donations through the Neighborhood Investment Program, state Development Office Community Development Manager Ralph Goolsby said.

West Virginia businesses that donate money to Neighborhood Investment Program projects receive a 50 percent credit toward their state taxes, Goolsby said.

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Tax credits for charitable donations are already in place at the federal level but this is the first program that gives businesses similar breaks on West Virginia taxes, Goolsby said.

"This is the only vehicle for companies to make a charitable contribution and get a state tax credit," Goolsby said.

Hellem said she hopes the tax breaks will act as an incentive for companies to give money to Eagles' Wings.

A company that makes a $10,000 donation would receive $5,000 in state tax credits and would also be able to claim the $10,000 donation on its federal tax return, Hellem said.

"By the end, that $10,000 is actually about a $1,600 investment for the company," she said.

Eagles' Wings has already raised about $25,000 toward a $45,000 matching grant it was given in March by the Phoenix Color Corp. in Hagerstown and recently finished a $10,000 renovation project at the future site of the girls' home in Kearneysville, W.Va., Hellem said.

The group hopes to break ground late next year on a $1 million facility that will house 24 girls for two-year terms, Hellem said.

Eagles' Wings will be a faith-based, non-denominational boarding school for troubled girls primarily in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Hellem said.

"The girls that will be coming are the ones who are slipping through the cracks of our public schools," she said.

Contributions to Eagles' Wings can be sent to Route 2, Box 286, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

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