Interview with Dr. Michael Wright by Laura Johnson, Director of Institutional Advancement
Mount de Sales is blessed to have many faithful contributors. With rising tuition that covers only 75 percent of the cost to educate each student, the generosity of our donors is vital and appreciated. I think one of the greatest personal rewards in donating to a school is the knowledge that your contribution is helping a child in need and providing a better academic education and social environment than that child could have otherwise. Drs. Bridget and Michael Wright value education, and they have not hesitated to assist with the tuition needs of MDS students over the past five years.
“My mother and my siblings graduated from Mount de Sales,” noted Michael when I asked why they give. “Mount de Sales is a place where a student can get a quality education in a diverse environment that reflects the greater community.”
One of the vehicles that the Wrights use to contribute to MDS each year is the Georgia Education Tax Credit program. Essentially, the tax credit allows individuals and business owners to redirect a portion of their required state income taxes to an independent K-12 institution of their choosing. By law, the recipient school must use the funds for need-based scholarships for students who were previously enrolled in a public school. Ultimately, the tax credit means a charitable donation with no net loss of money to the donor!
“The tax credit program is an easy way to direct funds to Mount de Sales. My wife and I are both business owners and are able to direct a significant amount of money to the school, up to $10,000 per business in taxes to MDS, each year. This has no effect on our overall tax bill and keeps those dollars in our community supporting the school we care about,” said Michael.
Individuals who receive a W-2 can redirect up to $2,500 of their state income taxes each year depending on their filing status. Owners of S-corporations, LLCs, and partnerships with a schedule K-1 can redirect up to $10,000 and possibly up to 75 percent of their tax liability if they chose to pay at the entity level under a new provision established this year (and also avoid the $10,000 SALT cap thus reducing federal income taxes). Tax credits are managed by a Student Scholarship Organization, and Mount de Sales has joined with Grace Scholars. Taxpayers register for the credit with Grace Scholars each year. “The process is pretty simple, can be done online, and requires minimal record keeping,” said Michael.
Since 2015, MDS donors have contributed over $1.2 million in tax dollars to fund scholarships for approximately 30 students each year. The tax credits have had a tremendous impact on our school and our students. Throughout the years, students have told me that they want to return the favor one day and give back to MDS in the same way they were supported, so there is a wonderful generational impact of giving.
“If you own a small business and would like to see more of your tax dollars spent in the local area, this is a simple way to do it,” said Michael. “I think anything I can do to help keep funds in our local community, it’s worth doing.”
Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, and serves students in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and other surrounding counties. MDS is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.