Simple checkoff helps Family Resource Centers
A few extra dollars donated by Coloradans doing their state taxes have been making a big difference for an organization that aids local students.Now, legislative action could help continue to bring in this additional funding to the Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers and others across the state.A bill sponsored by state Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, has won passage in both the Colorado House and Senate and would extend funding for the programs via a tax checkoff on state income tax forms.The bill is awaiting signature by Gov. Bill Owens to become law. Carolyn Hardin, executive director of the Roaring Fork program, said Owens is expected to sign the measure.The checkoff brings in about $75,000 statewide to 24 programs serving 39 counties, said Nancy LaJoy, development director of the Roaring Fork program.Curry said the money isn’t a lot, but the programs can use it to seek matching money including federal and private grants. LaJoy said the checkoff is “very important from our perspective.”Hardin added, “It’s not a huge amount of money but in the current difficult fundraising climate every little bit helps.”Also, other potential donors like to see organizations tapping into a broad base of individual contributors, as the checkoff does, she said.The Roaring Fork program is a nonprofit arm of the Re-1 district, and has offices in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood. It is marking its 10th anniversary.Its goal is to keep children in school healthy and academically successful, LaJoy said. This can involve things such as helping them get vision checkups, dental care, tutoring and after-school programming. It also offers programs for parents.In addition, the centers will direct families to YouthZone and other agencies that can provide assistance.Last year the local program directly served 1,209 children, and indirectly served 4,900 families.Colorado was the first state to create a tax checkoff program, starting in 1977, when the first checkoff benefited the Colorado Non-Game Wildlife Fund. The programs allow taxpayers to contribute voluntarily to charitable programs in addition to paying whatever taxes they owe.Thirteen tax checkoffs are on this year’s tax form, according to a state Department of Revenue Web site. They benefit everything from Special Olympics to veterans to programs dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and domestic violence.Hardin said state law limits the tax form to 15 checkoffs.Family Resource Centers are in their third year of being a part of the checkoff program. By law, programs come up for legislative review to determine if they should continue to receive tax checkoff funding after three years.However, the state also requires each beneficiary to raise $75,000 per year through the checkoff program to retain eligibility.”They feel like they want people in the state to be buying into the organizations that are on there,” LaJoy said.She said the Family Resource Centers received more than $150,000 through the program over the last two years and are “very hopeful” they can top $75,000 this year.Anyone wishing to contribute money to Family Resource Centers in Colorado can find the tax checkoff on line 39 of the state tax form.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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