What does Advancement do?

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What does the Advancement Office do?

The Advancement Office of the Elk County Catholic School System is responsible for many aspects of the school system. First and foremost, it processes all the charitable gifts that are donated to the school system through the ECCSS Fund, Business Sponsorship Fund, EITC Program, ECCSS Memorial Fund, student scholarships, etc. The office also is in charge of keeping track of the 11,000+ alumni, friends, supporters, and benefactors of the school system in its database through name and address changes, marriage and death dates, etc. The office heads the recruitment initiative of the system, attempting to boost the enrollment of our schools. The “be.” marketing campaign that has taken place over the last several years is the work of the ECCSS Marketing Team, made up of several members of the Advancement Office. Public relations, special events, design and branding initiatives, and alumni activities are also part of the office’s endeavors.

To learn more about our funds and database updating, continue to read below.


The ECCSS Fund

The Advancement Team’s main focus is the growth of the ECCSS Fund, the primary fund for charitable giving to our school system.  The fund benefits everything in our system: academics, technology, spiritual development, athletics, music, salaries/benefits, maintenance, utilities, supplies, and so on. When planning gifts to charity, all in our school community are encouraged to consider this year-round fund. Both unrestricted and restricted gifts are tracked. Donations may be by check, credit card, cash, and PayPal and are payable to “The ECCSS Fund.” Quarterly or semi-annual gift payments may facilitate giving at a higher level. See the levels of giving below.

ECCSS Fund Levels of Giving
Leaders of the Mission  –  $10,000 and above
Guardians of the Mission  –  $5,000 to $9,999
Partners in the Mission  –  $2,500 to $4,999
Founders’ Club  –  $2,000 to $2,499
President’s Club  –  $1,000 to $1,999
Principals’ Club  –  $500 to $999
Maroon & Gold Club  –  $250 to $499
Crusader Club  –  $100 to $249
ECC Spirit Club  –  Up to $99


Giving to Scholarship

Donations of any amount may be designated to the ECCSS Fund for scholarship. For families requesting financial aid, scholarships are awarded in late spring for the next school year.  During each school year, if special needs arise for a family such as loss of a family member, unemployment, loss of property, medical emergencies, etc., scholarships provide support. Students needing assistance who transfer during a school year may also be helped.

A donor may provide scholarship for students as they progress from year-to-year provided the system, and not the donor, designates the recipients. For thank you purposes, families may be given names of donors who provided scholarship assistance, but to ensure confidentiality, names of students are not released to donors.

Individually named funds may be established with a starting point of $10,000. The donor may contribute the entire amount or make a commitment to that amount. For example, the donor may commit to a gift of $3,333.33 per year for three years, but the named fund can begin with the initial donation. Once the $10,000 is reached, the donor is encouraged to continue giving for growth of the fund. Named funds are held in endowment, and by law, a maximum of 7% total return can be taken from the fund each year. Our system plans to withdraw no more than 5%; thus a $500 scholarship would be awarded each year from a $10,000 fund.  During the commitment period, the donor may wish to contribute the $500 scholarship outright each year until the fund is in place at the $10,000 amount.


Memorial Fund

The ECCSS Memorial Fund is a great way to honor someone, living or deceased, through a special gift to our schools. All honored individuals are remembered during our weekly school liturgies through special intentions and prayer requests.

Contact us for more information.


Business Sponsorship

The three ECCSS schools look to the generous tradition of support from its corporate and business giving program to provide the wide variety of academic, cultural, athletic and spiritual programs that make our schools unique and competitive. We invite you to respond to our meaningful annual request. See the donor levels below.

Business Sponsorship Donor Levels
Lead Sponsor – Gold – $10,000 and above
Lead Sponsor – Silver – $5,000 to $9,999
Lead Sponsor – Bronze – $2,500 to $4,999
Sustaining Sponsor – Gold – $1,000 to $2,499
Sustaining Sponsor – Silver – $500 to $999
Sustaining Sponsor – Bronze – $250 to $499
Supporter – $100 to $249
Patron – Up to $100

Payment options are available.

We deeply appreciate your partnership with us in advancing the mission of a strong Catholic educational program for the communities we serve. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to become a corporate and business sponsor, have any questions, or need additional information.


Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) – PA Act 48

The EITC program is a wonderful way for businesses to fund scholarships for our students and save on taxes as the same time.  It’s a win-win strategy!

Corporations, subchapter S corporations and other business entities that pay their Pennsylvania business taxes under the personal income tax on PA business income can now fully participate in the program.

There are three steps to the process (this example is based on a $1,000 scholarship with 90% tax credit.)

STEP 1
Go to NewPA.com and click on Funding and Program Finder. Click on EITC, then Where to Apply, then EITC Business Guidelines. The one-page application is on page 8. The business donor fills out the application for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) with the request to donate $1,000 to our schools.

STEP 2
DCED sends approval, and the business donor donates $1,000 to:

STAR Foundation Scholarship Fund of the Diocese of Erie
PO Box 10397
Erie, PA  16514-0397

The business donor should designate the Elk County Catholic School System to benefit from the gift.

STEP 3
The STAR Foundation sends the business donor a receipt to send to DCED for tax credit (90% for donations K through 12.)  The client receives a minimum of $900 tax credit on the $1,000 gift to us.  The STAR Foundation distributes to our schools the entire $1,000 for scholarship.

The $1,000 charitable gift also qualifies for a deduction on the business donor’s federal income tax return.

$1,000 Scholarship – Business Donor’s Final Cost: $45.00
$10,000 Scholarship – Business Donor’s Final Cost: $450.00

Note: This example is based on participation for two years.  Participation for one year earns a 75% deduction.  The deduction for preschool is 100%.  

Please contact us if you would like to participate in the EITC program.


Heritage Gala

The Heritage Gala Benefit Dinner was initiated in 2008 when the St. Marys Catholic Elementary and Middle Schools (SMCESS) hosted a dinner at the Red Fern in celebration of its One Million Dollar Endowed Scholarship Matching Campaign.

Following the celebration, the Advancement Office recognized the value of having a yearly event and decided to host a benefit dinner each year to honor donors and showcase our students. The event was named the Heritage Gala Benefit Dinner and the purposes for the dinner expanded.  In addition to thanking donors and business sponsors and showcasing the talents of our students, it became an opportune time to pay tribute to hallmark and retiring teachers and leadership donors. The Heritage Award honors an individual or individuals, living or deceased, who have made a significant impact on Catholic education in St. Marys.  Each gala has a theme and donors have the opportunity to win a valuable item that complements the theme with the donor having to be present to win.

The rich heritage of Catholic education in St. Marys continues.  We are so grateful to all who partner with us to advance our mission and share our
vision.  Thank you for all the ways that you support us, one of which may be attending this very special event.  We build community.  We gather to celebrate for we are a people of hope, vision, and peace.  We continue to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide our school system.


Legacy Society

The good that we do lives after us … if we have the foresight to make a will.

ECCSS and the three Catholic parishes of St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart and Queen of the World have established a Legacy Society.

All four institutions are so grateful for the generous hearts of the members of our school and parish communities. The Legacy Society allows us to thank donors while they are still living for the estate gifts they are leaving to us in death. It also encourages current donors to consider final gifts to their respective parishes and our school system.

Please contact the Advancement Office if you would like to discuss a Legacy Gift.


Database Updates

With 11,000+ names in our database, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of everyone. Please let us know when you have a name or address change. Please also inform us of deceased alumni and friends who are not of the immediate area and whose obituaries may not be published locally.

ECCSS Advancement Office
600 Maurus Street
St. Marys, PA 15857
814-834-1480

advancement@eccss.org


Contact Us

Please contact us for more information regarding charitable giving.

Mary S. Meyer, Director of Advancement
ECCSS Advancement Office
600 Maurus Street
St. Marys, PA 15857
814-834-1480
meyerms@eccss.org