Donors scooping up Endow 
Iowa tax credits faster

Above: Kristi Knous

By Joe Gardyasz

They don’t go quite as fast as Paul McCartney concert tickets, but Endow Iowa tax credits are getting scooped up earlier and earlier each year, according to officials at the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

As of May 6, the entire $6 million statewide allocation of tax credits had been claimed by charitable donors, said Lynne Yontz, the foundation’s vice president of donor relations. By comparison, the past two years’ tax credits weren’t all claimed until October of each year. The 25 percent tax credits leveraged $24 million in charitable giving to endowments.

“It’s the earliest we’ve ever run out,” Yontz said. “It used to be that you used to see end-of-year giving; now people are using Endow Iowa all through the year. We’ve been communicating with people that maybe they want to give early this year.”

Unlike sold-out concerts, however, those who miss out on Endow Iowa credits aren’t entirely out of luck. They’ll be first in line for the 2018 allocation. In fact, part of the reason the 2017 credits went so quickly is that $2.8 million of the $6 million of credits were already reserved during 2016, Yontz noted.

Given the state’s tight budget situation, an increase in the allocation doesn’t appear likely, Community Foundation president Kristi Knous said.

Last year more than 4,000 Endow Iowa gifts were made statewide. Donations of just about any type of asset, including farmland and homes, can be accepted, although charitable contributions as small as $25 to an endowment can qualify for credits.

The tax credit program “has really gotten people thinking about endowments in ways they haven’t before,” Knous said. “It’s a great tool for us to have that conversation, and to be honest, donors become our greatest sales force because they tell their friends about it.”

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