Education Charity Gets DGR Nod
Tuesday, 10th March 2015 at 10:05 am
The Federal Parliament has passed legislation to allow tax deductions for donations to Australia’s most disadvantaged schools through a new education charity, Australian Schools Plus.
Australian Schools Plus has been established to boost disadvantaged schools’ access to philanthropic funding from individual donors, trusts and foundations and corporations.
ASP says it will connect donors with an interest in education with the schools that will benefit the most, providing funding to trial new initiatives or run proven programs that have a strong impact on student success.
The new charity says it expects to raise $10 million per year in its first five years of operation.
With the passage of a tax bill through the Senate last week, Australian Schools Plus’ Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status has been confirmed in tax law.
“This means that donations over $2 to schools via Australian Schools Plus are now tax-deductible, removing barriers that have prevented some organisations from tax-deductible giving to schools and thus making donating more appealing,” Australian Schools Plus CEO Rosemary Conn said.
Until now, tax-deductible donations to schools have been limited to building, library or scholarships funds.
Conn said the legislation allowed the charity to begin accepting donations that will make a difference to the education of thousands of Australian students.
“We know there are a lot of Australians who would love to give to schools but haven’t been able to in the past,” she said.
Australian Schools Plus Chairman, Angus James, announced a new high-profile Board, including Kim Williams AM, Lisa Paul AO PSM and Michael Traill AM.
“There has been significant interest in supporting disadvantaged schools through Australian Schools Plus, and donors can now help give students the opportunities they deserve to fulfil their potential,” James said.
“Australian Schools Plus is now assembling a range of projects from schools across Australia to which donors will be able to contribute from next month. Donors will also be able to nominate a school of their own choice to support through Schools Plus, and benefit from the tax deduction.”
Australian Schools Plus was founded by a group of eight Not for Profit organisations with bipartisan political support.
“It was created to provide national leadership for philanthropy in schooling and to support schools in need of assistance to develop philanthropic partnerships,” James said.
“Its establishment followed research that showed how students facing disadvantage – due to location, socio-economic circumstances, disability or indigenous/non-English speaking background – consistently achieve poorer results than their peers.”
In Australia, the performance gap between the most socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged schools is the equivalent of two and a half years of schooling, according to analysis of PISA results by the Australian Council for Educational Research’s Sue Thomson.
Federal Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne said the DGR decision will allow schools in need to access community support and provide greater opportunities for their students.
“Granting DGR status to Australian Schools Plus, will make it easy for schools to put donations to better use by providing the best educational opportunities for students who need it most,” Pyne said.
DGR status is given to organisations entitled to receive income tax-deductible gifts and tax-deductible contributions. DGR organisations must be either endorsed by the ATO or listed by name in the income tax law.
Australian Schools Plus was founded with the support of a member group including The Smith Family, Social Ventures Australia, The Australian Business Community Network, Public Education Foundation, Foundation for Young Australians, Australian Council for Education Research, Schools Connect and Philanthropy Australia.