Chicago, Ill. (WCIA)

Empower Illinois helps kids from low-income and working-class families access their best-fit school through the Invest in Kids Act Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

What is the Invest in Kids Act Tax Credit Scholarship Program?
Bipartisan bill passed in 2017.
Created Illinois’ Tax Credit Scholarship Program, offering scholarships to low-income and working-class families and increasing private investment in education by $300 million+
Reformed public school funding model, increasing funding by $1.4 billion.
Donors to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program can direct their gift to the K-12 private school of their choice (through a scholarship granting organization, like Empower Illinois) and earn a 75% state tax credit on their gift.
Scholarship applicants qualify based on need and apply to receive a scholarship to the private school of their choice.

Has the TCS Program been successful?
Total funds raised statewide: $308M
Total scholarships awarded statewide: 38,000 scholarships
Current waitlist of students: 24,000 kids in line with Empower Illinois

How can families qualify and apply?
To qualify for a tax credit scholarship, families must reside in Illinois and must meet need-based income requirements. To be eligible for a 100% scholarship, families of four would need to earn less than 185% of the federal poverty level or about $51,000.
They will complete two steps: a reservation and an application. The reservation asks for basic contact information and reserves their place in a first-come, first-served line. The application asks for more information about a family’s selected schools and requests documents to prove eligibility.
Awards are made on a rolling basis throughout the year as funds become available at a family’s selected school. Click here for more information.

How can donors contribute?
Register with MyTax Illinois to make an account
Reserve a tax credit with your MyTax account
Donate to your favorite private school through Empower Illinois
Step-by-step guide on the Empower Illinois website

What is happening with the TCS Program’s future?
When the Invest in Kids Act passed in 2017, tax credit scholarships were given a trial period that is set to expire, or sunset, at the end of 2023, unless lawmakers vote to make the program permanent or extend it.
Empower Illinois and the entire TCS Community has been working to Remove the Sunset on the Invest in Kids Act. We work to let lawmakers know how impactful the program is to families and schools in their districts.

With the generosity of two individuals, we are offering a limited time matching gift for gifts made with the Tax Credit Scholarship Program to select schools in central and southern Illinois.
Dates: February 15-April 15, 2023, or until matching funds are depleted
Available Funds: $10,000 match cap per school
Parameters: Gifts will be matched $1 to $1
Eligible Schools: 58 eligible Catholic schools in central & southern Illinois (including Holy Cross School, St. Matthew’s School in Champaign)

Emma Ciavarella
Empower Illinois
200 N LaSalle St., Suite 2310, Chicago, IL 60601