The Missouri Department of Economic Development has awarded Youth Opportunity Program (YOP) tax credits to the Center for Head Injury Services worth $200,257.

This means that, as of January 2016, any Missouri taxpayer who makes a tax-deductible donation of $500 or more to the Center may receive state tax credits for 50 percent of the donation amount. A state tax credit is a reduction of the taxes a person owes to the state of Missouri.

The purpose of the Department of Economic Development’s YOP is “to broaden and strengthen opportunities for positive development and participation in community life for youth, and to discourage such persons from engaging in criminal and violent behavior.” The program does this by providing tax credits to organizations administering positive youth development or crime prevention projects.

The Center was approved for tax credits through our “School to Work Transition Program,” which prepares at-risk teens with disabilities to find and keep competitive employment after graduation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy reports that a person with a disability faces an unemployment rate of 12.9 percent, compared to 6.9 percent for people without disabilities.

Donna Gunning, executive director of the Center, said that the high risk of unemployment places this population of young people in a low-income cycle of poverty, making them dependent on tax-supported welfare programs.

“To help overcome these sobering facts and a bleak future, the Center helps them identify and develop their social and work readiness skills, find employment opportunities and retain a job after graduation,” she said.

The tax credits have a five-year carry-forward provision, meaning they may be used up to five years after the initial donation. Donors who utilize tax credits may also claim the contribution as a deduction when filing their federal and state income taxes.

For more information on state tax credits and how they work, click here.

To see the Department of Economic Development media release, click here.