Who gets Pennsylvania’s educational tax credits, and who gets money? Search the EITC data yourself.

By: - June 16, 2019 6:30 am

Which counties attract the most EITC funding? We mapped the recipients below.

Every year, businesses clamor to claim Pennsylvania’s educational tax credits, which allow them to lower their tax bills by donating to private school scholarship funds, pre-K programs, and other educational enrichment initiatives.

We explained how the EITC program works earlier this week. Using data from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, we were also able to learn who participates — which businesses make donations to claim tax credits, and which educational programs receive money.

Now, we’re publishing that data in full so readers can browse it themselves.

Who Gives

We’ll start with the businesses that claim tax credits. These entities contributed a total of $137 million to EITC organizations in 2017-2018, and got $124 million in tax credits in return.

Most of the contributors are corporate donors. But a change to the EITC law in 2014 allowed individuals to participate in the program, too. These donors have to register as businesses first, so many incorporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) to make donations and claim their tax credits.

The database below lists all the contributors to EITC programs, starting with the biggest donors first. We’ve included both the value of their donations and how many tax credits they claimed — under the EITC law, credits can’t exceed 90 percent of a donation.

You can also use this searchable database to browse donors by county.

Who Gets the Cash

Pennsylvania’s EITC law allows donors to give to three types of organizations: scholarship organizations, educational improvement organizations, and pre-k scholarship organizations.

The vast majority of programs that get EITC funds are scholarship organizations — schools or nonprofits that grant K-12 scholarships to assist students with private school tuition.

Educational Improvement Organizations are nonprofit groups that offer innovative programs to public school students. This category includes museums, civic clubs, and community organizations like the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club.

Pre-K Scholarship Organizations get the smallest slice of EITC funding. These organizations grant scholarships to families paying for pre-k.

We reported earlier this week that businesses in Montgomery County are the leading source of EITC donations and leading claimants of tax credits. But Philadelphia County gets the most cash from the program. Organizations there took in $30 million in charitable contributions last year.

Organizations that get EITC donations don’t necessarily disburse them locally. That means that places like Clarion and Chester Counties, which didn’t get any EITC cash, may still have children who receive EITC-funded scholarships.

Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools, for instance, is based in Montgomery County and primarily grants scholarships in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. But the scholarship foundation is increasingly sending awards to children across Pennsylvania, executive director Bill O’Brien said this week.

BLOCS took in $18 million in EITC contributions last year, more than any other single organization in the state.

This searchable database lists all the organizations that received EITC donations in 2017-2018. We’ve listed them in reverse order according to how much money they received, and included their classifications as scholarship organizations (SO), Educational Improvement Organizations (EIO) and Pre-K Scholarship Organizations (PKSO).

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Elizabeth Hardison
Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.