Some business owners in Missouri have the chance to help grow a local child abuse advocacy organization, while also helping their tax returns.
Tax credits are now available to donations towards Joplin's Children's Center. The organization has recently taken-on two roles; a place where children who've been through abusive situations can go to get short and long term help.
Brighter days are ahead for the future home of the Children's Center.
"It's taken us a year to get to this point," says Children's Center Executive Director Vickie Dudley.
For years, the Children's Center has been a place for justice.
"When a child is here for a forensic interview and a medical exam, they're accompanied here with Children's Division and law enforcement, as a result of a hotline of abuse and neglect," says Dudley.
Earlier this year, the Children's Center began offering counseling for children and caregivers.
"This is going to allow us to expand our counseling services," says Teressa Berry, a clinical supervisor with the Children's Center.
...A move from the organization's current spot on East 34th Street to a vacant building on Seventh Street that used to be a Girl Scouts' office building.
"What is exciting about the counseling center is when the children and families come to see me, we get to start the healing process," says Berry. "If I did not work here, and they came to see me in a private practice or at another counseling center, that child would have to tell their story over again."
The new building will double the space for the Children's Center. But to do all that, the organization needs some financial assistance. The Missouri Department of Economic Development has cut a deal with the Children's Center.
"An incredible opportunity for a taxpayer who has an interest in a business. So, it can be any business in the community, or it can be an individual who owns a business, such as a farm," says Dudley.
People with that type of business income can donate a minimum of $1,000 to help the Children's Center renovate their building.
"50 percent of that thousand dollars is deductible off the top of what your state tax obligation is," says Dudley. "Doesn't have to be taken all in one year. You can spread that out over three to five years."
The Children's Center hopes to raise $500,000 by July 1st. Organization workers say it's an important financial goal to help more child abuse survivors heal.
"Even though things have changed at home for them, it becomes part of their story that, 'I get to start to heal now,' and, 'I get to start feeling like I'm normal again," says Berry.
...Helping to put those dark, cloudy days in the past.
Children's Center needs to raise the $500,000 before they can move into their new building, and the organization needs to move out of their current building by the end of November. Organization workers say it's "crunch time" and they greatly need help as soon as possible.
The tax credits are available to any person or corporation with business income in the State of Missouri. Cash gifts of $1,000 and up, and stock gifts of $5,000 and up from eligible donors are provided a 50% tax credit on Missouri state taxes, in addition to federal charitable tax deduction.
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