Donations to fund renovations on the Ewing Vocational Center in Sedalia are easier than ever, thanks to tax credits approved by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
With up to $37,500 in state tax credits approved for the project, the Center for Human Services in Sedalia could leverage at least $75,000 in donations.
Now that the capital campaign was approved, Susan Mergen, director of development at the center, said they are soliciting donations from eligible businesses and institutions such as corporations, farm operations, financial institutions, shareholders in small-business corporations, insurance companies or individuals reporting income from rental properties.
“I go to our community that may have supported the center in the past or possibly want to be a new supporter, and they can donate to this project and receive 50 percent off their state taxes,” Mergen said. “This is a two-year project to raise the money for this capital campaign.”
The center has until June 30, 2016, to raise the $75,000, or the State of Missouri can capture the tax credits and put them toward another project that can sell them. Mergen said she would like to get the tax credits sold as soon as possible.
“I still have tax credits for sale, so if anyone is interested in finding more information on how they can save on their state taxes, they can call me because I need to sell the remaining tax credits,” she said. “I’d like to get them sold as soon as possible. (Donors) can use their tax credits up to five years from the date of the gift so they don’t necessarily have to take that advantage this year.”
The center has raised $43,450 so far, but the center plans to raise all the money required before spending it and starting construction.
Mergen said the center staff hopes to start renovations this summer to both the interior and exterior of the building. The project includes installing more efficient lighting and new signage, completing an exterior canopy where the center loads and unloads participants that come to the workshop, replacing the loading dock awning system, improving flooring and light fixtures, painting and landscaping.
While all renovations will improve the facility, Mergen said signage is one of the most important because it will give the center better branding in the community. The center’s new logo is already a couple years old, but it isn’t yet posted on all facilities in town, such as the Family and Child Development Department and the Garlich Activity Center on Main Street.
“We get a lot of people that come from out of town to tour our new facility; they might be new to the program or new to the area,” she said. “With better signage it’s just more convenient to find, and eventually all of our facilities will have our logo and our name on the outside of the building, so we’re trying to do a better job branding our company.”
Mergen said it’s been years since the center improved the interior, and she doesn’t think the exterior has ever been updated since the 50,000-square foot center was constructed in 1986. Nevertheless, she’s excited the center was awarded the NAP credits.
“The NAP project has given me the opportunity to share our story with our supporters and prospective new supporters because any time we can share what we’re doing here, it’s beneficial,” Mergen said. “The generosity of the community is outstanding. We have donors that have given for decades.
“And we have new donors, and we would not be where we are today without their support.”
The project is also funded through a community development block grant of $250,000 through the City of Sedalia. Mergen said the outcome will be beneficial for donors and clients alike.
“We’re making our community better by renovating and improving a building, so it’s a win-win all around because people see that we’re taking really good care and pride in our facilities,” she said. “That just looks really good for the community.”
The Ewing Center provides an environment for around 60 staff and 40 clients to work and volunteer. Mergen said she thinks the staff and clients they serve will be excited once the project is completed.
“It’ll look better,” she said. “It’ll be more efficient. And it’s our 60th anniversary this year, so it would be a great anniversary gift to give ourselves through the generosity of the community.”
For more information about donating and receiving state tax credits, contact Susan Mergen at 660-826-4400 ext. 368.
Leah Wankum can be reached at 826-1000 or @leahwankum.