As I travel around the state talking to people about what a world-class education looks like for Arizona, one question I often get is, “What can I do to impact education?”  It is a critical question to ask and one that we could spend hours discussing.  However, during this time of year, there is one relatively easy answer: Consider using your year-end charitable giving contributions to support education.

Whether you choose to support early learning, K-12 or postsecondary programs, here are three easy ways to support education and maximize your personal tax benefits.

1). Take advantage of Arizona School Tax Credits –  There is a tax credit available to Arizonans who make a donation to K-12 public schools, charter schools and school districts.  These tax credits allow you to take a dollar for dollar deduction of up to $200 for individuals and $400 for married couples on your state taxes, depending on your donation to the school or district (please consult a tax professional for more information).  Schools use the funding to support extracurricular and character education activities that support academic enrichment, field trips, involvement in the arts, and many more activities. Mailed in donations must be postmarked by midnight December 31, 2012 to be eligible for this year’s taxes. Visit the Arizona Department of Revenue for additional details and to find a list of schools.

2). Help a teacher in a classroom – Did you know that the average teacher spends $500 of his or her own money each year on supplies for their classroom? You can help supplement a teacher’s needs by adopting a classroom this holiday season. By providing books, gift cards and other supplies, you can affect the learning of an entire group of children.  Click here to learn more about local classroom needs and how you can give a tax deductible donation through

3). Give to nonprofits that support education – Whether you choose to give to a school district or university foundation, mentoring and tutoring programs, local early learning programs or other nonprofits tied to education, you’ll be helping Arizona’s children and your contribution may be tax deductible. Visit to find a nonprofit that supports education.

It is important that we all get involved in supporting education.  It will take all of us working together to ensure that all Arizona students are prepared for college, career and life.

Pearl Chang Esau is President and CEO of Expect More Arizona 

*Expect More Arizona is not a tax advisor. Please consult your personal tax advisor for state tax credit and tax deductible charitable contribution details and benefits. 

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