In this issue, you’ll find a story about the Merry Elfing Project, which hides presents for children throughout Greenlee and Graham counties. When children find the gifts, they can keep it, or re-gift it to another child, perhaps one in a bit more need.

It’s a great project started by a woman noted for putting community first, Tish Russom.

We encourage everyone to help if at all possible, whether through the purchasing of new toys for children, monetary contributions or helping hide the gifts in such a way that children will find them.

There’s another giving project we whole-heartedly support — the Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition.

Last week we told you about Canyonlands Healthcare, one of the nonprofit organizations taking part in the Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition, and this week we’re sharing the story of Southeastern Arizona Community Unique Services (SEACUS), which operates the Meals on Wheels program for homebound seniors.

In the coming weeks, we’ll share the stories of the other nonprofit organizations in the Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition — Tooth B.U.D.D.S., Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley, Graham County Rehabilitation Center, Mt. Graham Safehouse and Our Neighbors Farm & Pantry. Each provides an essential service in our two-county region.

We’re sharing these stories so that you understand what they do. So when you are ready to support a nonprofit organization, you select one with a mission that matches your interest — whether that’s getting dental hygiene to at-risk children, helping feed those in need with nutritious food, caring for those with special needs, providing a safe space after school for children or helping those dealing with domestic violence escape a violent situation.

Best of all, when you support any of these organizations, you can get a credit on your Arizona state tax liability, dollar for dollar.

In other words, if you donate $400 to Mt. Graham Safehouse ($800 for couples filing jointly), you can reduce the amount of money you owe the state of Arizona by up to $400 (or $800) when you file your taxes next April.

This is the textbook definition of a “win-win” — it’s a great way to help organizations making a difference for our friends and neighbors right here in the community, plus it helps you reduce or eliminate the amount you owe the state come April 15.

How about some more winning? You can combine the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit with the Public School Tax Credit, so you don’t have to give up one for the other. And you can carry over any amount not used in the current year’s tax filing (up to the maximum allowable donation) for up to five years. For example, you donate $400 to Tooth B.U.D.D.S. and $200 to the Morenci High School band program, but only owe $300 in Arizona tax — you can carry over the remaining $300 for another five years, to be used when your tax debt might be higher.

And the final win has to be that you’re keeping that money right here in Greenlee and Graham counties, serving Greenlee and Graham residents, and not being sent to the state Legislature, which would spend the money you earned here to the benefit of people living in Maricopa County.

We encourage you to learn about the organizations that make up the Graham Greenlee Tax Credit Coalition and make a donation to help the organization of your choice.

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