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Invest in Kids Act - There is still time to help deserving Marist students

The new Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, “Invest in Kids,” provides donors a unique opportunity to contribute to scholarships that help lower-income families send their children to private schools – while reducing their own tax bill on dollars otherwise owed to the state. 

According to the latest data from, more than $14,000,000 in tax credits are still available in Region 1.  Individual donors must designate their donations to Marist High School (Region 1) through the Big Shoulders Fund, the designated Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). 

Through the Invest in Kids program:

  • An individual will receive a 75 percent credit on donations to a non-profit SGO.  The SGO awards scholarships to eligible students from low-income families.  For example, if a person donates $100,000, they will receive a state tax credit of $75,000.
  • Individual donors must designate their donations to Marist High School through the Big Shoulders Fund, the largest k-12 scholarship program in Illinois.
  • Donors are prohibited from receiving a federal tax deduction for these donations.
  • The program is capped at $100 million in donations, resulting in $75 million in total tax credits issued.

What is the process for donating?

Individual donors reserve tax credits through by following these steps:

  1. Set up an account at As part of this process, you must request a “Letter ID” from the Illinois Department of Revenue via the “Individuals” menu on  The “Letter ID” will be sent via U.S. mail within 7 to 10 business days.  Once you receive the “Letter ID,” you will be able to activate your account. 
  2. Once you activate your account, go to to apply for a “Contribution Authorization Certificate” in the amount you plan to contribute toward Marist High School via the Big Shoulders Fund.  Please note you need to designate Marist High School, Region 1 on your application.  You also need your social security number and personal name and contact information. 
  3. You will receive your “Contribution Authorization Certificate” via your account within three days.  You then have 60 days to send your contribution and your authorization certificate to the Big Shoulders Fund. 
  4. You will provide the certificate from Big Shoulders Fund to use the tax credit when filing a 2018 return in 2019. 

Why should I consider donating in this way?

In general, for each $1,000 donation, you are awarded a $750 tax credit. You otherwise would be paying the $750 to the state, so your out-of-pocket difference is $250. But Marist students, through the Big Shoulders Fund, would get the benefit of the full $1,000, multiplying your $250 gift for an immediate 300 percent return on your investment. Through your contribution, many more children will have the opportunity to pursue an education at their school of choice. You should consult your tax adviser for specific information about possible tax benefits based on your personal tax situation.

Interested in donating to Marist High School through Big Shoulders Fund?

The Big Shoulders Fund can guide you through the process.  Contact a representative at 312-751-8337 or Or, visit

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