Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black Jack Battlefield gets fundraising boost

July 24, 2008

Let the fundraising begin.

Lawrence's Watkins Community Museum of History has been selected to receive $10,000 in tax credits through the Kansas State Historical Society's Partnership Historic Sites program.

The society announced Wednesday that 12 state historic sites were selected to receive tax credits, which will help them solicit donations to raise funds for specific projects.

Other area sites chosen and the amounts they received were:

¢ Black Jack Battlefied near Baldwin City, $12,500.

¢ Carroll House in Leavenworth, $25,000.

¢ Deitrich Cabin in Ottawa, $2,500.

Mike Wildgen, Watkins museum interim director, said the money would be used to pay for maintenance projects such as carpeting, a new pump in the heating system and window improvements.

"The budget for the society and for the museum doesn't allow any basic maintenance," he said. "We are trying to find ways to raise money to do that, and this is an excellent way to help incentivize giving to the historical society and the museum."

The program allows the organizations to award a tax credit equal to 50 percent of each donor's contribution. To receive a credit, donations must be at least $1,000, but can't exceed $2,500.

Tax credits and tax deductions are not the same thing. An income tax credit comes directly off your tax bill, while a tax deduction reduces the amount of taxable income you have, and therefore does reduce your tax bill but to a lesser degree. As an example, if you owe $5,000 in taxes, a $1,000 tax credit would mean you owe $4,000 in taxes. A $1,000 tax deduction might mean you now owe $4,800 in taxes.

"It's a pretty good deal," Wildgen said.

Carol Von Tersch, grants manager for Black Jack Battlefield Trust, said she was thrilled to receive the credits, but added that there's fundraising work to be done.

"In order to get that credit, we have to raise $25,000," she pointed out.

The Black Jack Battlefield Trust plans to use its funding to paint and repair the Robert Hall Pearson farmhouse, create a suitable restroom facility and repair fencing along the north side of the property.

Kristen Johnston, tax credit coordinator for the Kansas State Historical Society, said the organizations have until June 30 to use the credits, which are a result of legislation created in 2007.

To learn more about the program, visit www.kshs.org/resource/partnership.

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