Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) continue to provide an efficient way to get money to schools for specific purposes. EITC funds have helped cover costs for tuition, uniforms, certifications and specialized equipment for specific student needs. Funds provided a more hands-on experience for students from preschool through post-secondary education.
Most recently, we visited the Friedman Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Kingston, Luzerne County, and Scranton Prep in Lackawanna County. We gave the JCC a $25,000 EITC grant to help expand their pre-K facility, and $25,000 to Scranton Prep that will assist with student scholarships.
The Friedman JCC opened in 2019, and its Early Learning Center was initially licensed for 70 children, according to CEO Gary Bernstein. “We have an outstanding program in the new facility with a professional staff. But we are full and can’t accommodate any more kids,” Gary told us. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our program and service more kids in the community.”
“It truly is a top of the line program in every regard,” said Rep. Aaron Kaufer (120th District, Luzerne County) of the JCC’s pre-K center. “They’ve really done an incredible job at having a program that puts the kids first and helps the community. It allows imaginations to grow and gets the learning process going at an early age.”
Current plans include the renovation of approximately 2,000 square feet of unleased space in the building that will accommodate two new classrooms and 30 to 40 more children. Aaron was on hand for the recent check presentation and has seen the far-reaching effects of EITC funds throughout his district. “The community partnership that Cabot has throughout the Wyoming Valley is truly incredible,” he stated.
Rep. Bridget Kosierowski (114th District, Lackawanna County) is a Scranton Prep alumna and was excited to participate in the check presentation at her alma mater. “Scranton Prep is very fortunate to be the recipient of funding. Many students rely on scholarships as the cost of tuition can be a factor in their decision,” Bridget related. “EITC programs make it a little more feasible for students to choose Scranton Prep, which educationally really pushes students to go out to careers and colleges. It’s also a school of service. You learn to do for others.”
“Cabot has helped Prep increase enrollment,” said Michele Felins, Director of Admissions at Scranton Prep, where just less than half of the students receive some sort of financial assistance. “This year alone, Cabot’s grants made it possible for 15 families who otherwise may not have been able to send their sons and daughters.”
EITC is the logistic umbrella of other funding options, as well, like Educational Improvement Organization (EIO) funds and Scholarships (SO funding) that have allowed us to contribute to students of all ages across the curriculum spectrum. Recipients at Scranton Prep range from ninth-graders through seniors and include honors students, athletes, artists, community volunteers, musicians, performers and more. “They make Prep very proud and represent the generosity of Cabot so well,” Michele remarked.
“It’s a blessing that we were able to have the trust and support of Cabot. It helps our organization immensely,” Gary stated, noting that any help a non-profit entity could get during the pandemic was a benefit to the community at large. Keeping the pre-K center open and serving hot meals to senior citizens continued despite straining the JCC’s budget. “As much as we were struggling, we were still able to help families who were struggling.”
“Benefactors like Cabot allow Scranton Prep to educate students from all economic backgrounds,” Michele noted. “By allowing for this diversity, Cabot adds so much to the Prep community.”
“It’s great to see Cabot be such a good partner in the community and invest in education,” noted Rep. Marty Flynn (113th District, Lackawanna County) when he joined us at Scranton Prep.
We also donated $25,000 to the Lehigh County Technical Institution for the purchase of a mechanical drives trainer. This simulates hydraulic and electronic systems for hands-on learning for their Electromechanical/Mechatronics Technology students.
Kurt Adams is LCTI’s Director of Career and Technical Education. He told us that he was looking to replace the old drives trainer next year. So, he was thrilled to get the call from Cabot asking what the school could do with $25,000. “This is an important piece of equipment, and the timing was perfect,” Kurt remarked.
Commonwealth Charitable Management (CCM) lines up EITC funds that will be the most effective to achieve a school’s goals. In the past month, Cabot has provided $100,000 to schools in eastern and northeastern PA to enhance learning opportunities. For all of 2020, the total in contributions from Cabot handled by CCM topped $1.2 million.
“Cabot has been an invaluable partner, continually looking for opportunities to support our community,” said Cristine Clayton, Executive Director and CEO at CCM. “We greatly appreciate their leadership in the charitable sector.”