Friday, April 27, 2007

Charities and Albertans benefit from increased tax credit

Charities and Albertans benefit from increased tax credit

First step in encouraging increases in private donations to Alberta charities

Edmonton... Albertans making total annual donations over $200 to charitable organizations will now receive a 50-cent provincial/federal tax credit for every dollar donated over the $200 threshold. This is due to a more than 60-per-cent increase in Alberta's tax credit rate.

Alberta's portion of the tax credit for annual charitable donations over $200 is being increased from 12.75 per cent to 21 per cent. With this enhancement, Albertans will receive $500 back in total federal and provincial tax credits per $1,000 in total donations over the $200 threshold. The first $200 in annual donations will continue to be eligible for the existing 10 per cent tax credit.

"Albertans are proud supporters of their communities," said Hector Goudreau, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture. "This increased tax credit recognizes the good work of charitable groups, and will benefit charities and Albertans in a real and tangible way."

The tax credit enhancement, announced as part of Budget 2007, will complement the work of an MLA committee examining ways to increase private charitable donations. The committee will recommend how to establish a Community Spirit Fund to provide matching provincial grants for eligible philanthropic donations to Alberta-based registered charities.

Chaired by Gordon Graydon, MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti, the committee will consult with Albertans and stakeholders on the parameters of the program. They will also examine what is being done in other jurisdictions before making recommendations and submitting their final report to the Minister of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture this fall. For more information visit

The enhanced tax credit will be limited to donations made on or after January 1, 2007. Individuals cannot carry forward past years' donations to 2007 to benefit from the enhancement. Any past donations carried forward will continue to be subject to the previous credit rate. Based on 2004 statistics, Albertans donate over $1 billion a year to charitable or nonprofit organizations.

Supporting community groups and developing a Community Spirit Program are key actions under Premier Ed Stelmach's plan to improve Albertans' quality of life. Other priorities for the government are to govern with integrity and transparency, build a stronger Alberta, manage growth pressures and provide safe and secure communities.

Ray Howden and flowers

( A letter to a local paper)

In 1998, a local fellow named Ray Howden donated a handibus to our organization. We have used that bus to provide several thousand trips for people in the community.

Ray passed away recently. His obiturary mentioned that in lieu of flowers, donations could be sent to ourselves and the Pioneer Acres Association.

I was thrilled. Our board of directors was thrilled. We considered that being identified for donations in the obituary was an honor. We wanted to express our gratitude to Ray's family.

But Ray died a bachelor and none of us had ever met any of his extended family.

Without thinking, I suggested, "We should send some flowers." Folks reminded me of the obituary stating, "in lieu of flowers...."

So, in lieu of flowers, we posted a few words of thanks and put a recent picture of the "Howden bus" on our website. But it doesn't seem to be quite enough to recognize Ray's generousity.

So dear reader, on behalf of the many, many people who have benefited from Ray's generosity, we ask a small favour. When you see his bus go by, or drive out to Pioneer Acres, perhaps you could help us properly thank this community-minded fellow.

Just take a brief moment to help us say, "thank-you Ray."

Paul Siller Rocky View Regional Handibus

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Strathmore:Handi-bus needs helping hands to assist behind the wheel

Strathmore Standard, Strathmore, AB March 15, 2007

Strathmore Handi-bus needs qualified helping hands Town councillor Theo Owel noted at the March 7 council meeting.

Owel reported that WFCSS, which had taken over the dispatch service for the Handi-bus, had been quite effective.

He said that when WFCSS first took over the dispatch service there had been a shortage of qualified drivers, however that problem improved for awhile.

“It’s gotten back to the point where there’s a shortage of drivers,” Owel said of the current situation.