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Heritage tax credits help nonprofits

Could you please explain more about the heritage tax credits. Who gives the money? Who is eligible to apply? How does an organization apply for these funds? Why is this any different from individuals who give to a tax exempt organization?

People who give this way gain tax credit, do they not? How is the heritage program different? Who runs this program?

— Larry, Jacksonville

Donors who want to give to their favorite local nonprofit organizations can get twice the bang for their buck by giving a matching donation to the Oregon Cultural Trust, which supports arts, culture and heritage programs.

The donor gives money to one of more than 1,300 nonprofits that have partnered with the trust. Then the donor gives the same amount to the trust and gets all that matching money back in the form of a tax credit, according to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

The state tax credit gives up to $500 back for individuals, $1,000 for couples and $2,500 for businesses, said Aili Schreiner, trust manager for the Oregon Cultural Trust.

A nonprofit group can apply to partner with the Oregon Cultural Trust by submitting a copy of an Internal Revenue Service letter verifying the group's 501(c)3 status. Also submit a mission statement and/or bylaws stating the organization's purpose is rooted in the arts, heritage, history, historic preservation or the humanities, according to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

The trust gives out the money it receives in the form of grants to statewide and community nonprofit groups, cycling the donations back.

More than 100 Jackson and Josephine County nonprofits have already teamed with the Oregon Cultural Trust.

For more information, including a list of participating nonprofits searchable by city and county, visit www.culturaltrust.org.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.