Finney County Childcare & Early Learning Network Awarded Tax Credits

Governor Laura Kelly announced earlier this month the award of Community Service Tax Credits (CSP) to 25 nonprofit organizations to support education, healthcare, and housing projects across the state. Finney County Childcare and Early Learning Network (FCCELN) was one of the organizations selected in this year’s cycle.

CSP is a tool that dramatically enhances fundraising efforts, providing a
70% tax credit to qualified donors in rural communities of less than 15,000
population and 50% in larger communities. For example, a donor making a $100 gift to the FCCELN receives a $50 tax credit when they file their state taxes, making the net cost to the donor only $50.

This year, CSP is distributing $1 million in awards for childcare and early
childhood development projects, specifically for services to those under the
age of 5.

“These nonprofit organizations provide education, healthcare and housing
across Kansas,” said Governor Kelly. “We must do everything we can to support them. Community Service Tax Credits help us build stronger communities and a stronger state.”

Awarded nonprofits were chosen through a competitive, score-based selection process.

For this fiscal year, the Department of Commerce is fully disbursing all CSP
funds. Due to the amount of funds allocated, 25 of the 53 requested projects
(constituting 47% of the total funds requested) are being awarded.

“These Community Service Tax Credit awards will be a major factor in the
success of these important community projects,” said Secretary of Commerce David Toland. “There were so many high-caliber projects applying for these awards, and, unfortunately, the demand for credits exceeds the resources we have. However, we are grateful to have been able to support these many worthy projects.”

Finney County Childcare & Early Learning Network submitted their
application in support of the purchase and renovation of an existing nursing facility that will be transformed into a childcare center. Located at the corner of Third and Thompson Streets, the facility has neared completion and is looking to open before the end of the year.  The FCCELN
was awarded a total of $192,500 in tax credits, which they will be responsible for selling to donors.  “These tax credits create an opportunity for us to start gathering funds to help us in our mission of creating and supporting childcare and early learning efforts throughout Finney County, stated Lona DuVall, FCEDC President & FCCELN board member. 

The FCCELN board was formed in 2019 and immediately began work in identifying spaces in the community that could be retro-fitted to accommodate childcare.  The group was quickly met with an uphill
challenge- due to regulations and restrictions for childcare facilities,
finding a building that fit those specific needs was going to be a challenge. While exploring build-to-suit options, the opportunity to purchase the former Homestead Senior Living facility arose.  The building was perfectly suited to childcare with minimal improvements needed.  An
investor was identified and work began on the first FCCELN childcare center.

Jenette Turpin, GCHS early childhood education teacher and FCCELN
board member, has been integrally involved in the expansion of childcare in Finney County.  Jenette has presented many research studies on the importance of early childhood education, particularly in how it pertains to workforce needs later down the road.  When asked about the group being awarded the credits, Jenette stated, “Childcare and early learning are huge needs in our community and we really appreciate these tax credits. They will help us to create some of the childcare slots we need so badly, and they’ll also help us provide the support that other childcare providers need locally.”

The group hopes to open additional centers across the community as funds become available. Finney County has historically struggled with available childcare spots, but the need has become dire in the last 10 years as
Finney County has continued to see exponential growth. Tyler Whitham, Western State Bank President and FCCELN board member, can attest to the unmet demand for childcare in Finney County and the surrounding areas. Over the past few years, he has seen a marked increase in difficulty in hiring and retaining employees, much of it attributed to the lack of childcare in our community. “The tax credits will be a great help going forward. We really appreciate the Kansas Department of Commerce recognizing the need for childcare throughout Kansas and committing a portion of their tax credits to childcare endeavors this year. As an employer in Finney County, we have a good understanding of the severe shortage of childcare and know that we must address it if we are to continue to grow our businesses.”

For more information on the Finney County Childcare & Early Learning Network, visit their Facebook page here.

 

About the Community Service Tax Credit
Program (CSP)
: Each year since
1994, the Kansas Community Service Program has given nonprofit organizations a
way to improve their ability to undertake major capital fundraising drives for
various projects. Tax credits are allocated each year and awarded on a
competitive application basis to nonprofit organizations.

Projects eligible for tax credit awards
include community service, crime prevention, health care and youth
apprenticeship and technical training. Based on the scope and cost of the
proposed project, applicants may request up to $250,000 in tax credits. Applicant
organizations in rural areas (less than 15,000 population) are eligible for a
70% credit. Applicant organizations in non-rural areas are eligible for a 50%
credit.

Scores are tallied based on the following
criteria, among others:

•            Need of the project

•            Solution compatibility (will this solution solve the need)

•            Target community

•            Project planning

•            Community support