Written by Andy Verhoff
The History Fund grant program, which the Ohio Historical Society established in 2012, is made possible almost entirely because of the generosity of Ohio’s taxpayers. They donate to the Ohio Historical Society through the “tax check-off” box on their Ohio income tax returns. OHS takes those donations and, though the History Fund, makes grants to organizations like yours. (Look for “Ohio Historical Society” at Line 27c on Ohio form IT-1040 and Line 20c on IT-1040EZ.)
The more Ohio taxpayers who know about the tax check-off, the more donors we’ll have to the program. The more income tax check-off donations OHS receives, the more History Fund grants it can make!
Help spread the word about the tax check-off and the History Fund! Go to www.ohiohistory.org/makehistorycampaign. There you will find a lot of material for your newsletters, websites, Facebook pages, and other social media. We are especially proud of the YouTube videos that feature Annie Oakley, General U.S. Grant, and the Wright Brothers – all of whom have joined in promoting the tax check-off and the History Fund.
More income tax check-off donations mean more History Fund grants. As the Wright Brothers may have said, “the sky’s the limit.” There is, however, a target we must hit (as Annie Oakley might add). The tax check-off must generate a minimum of $150,000 in donations in 2014 (for tax year 2013). According to a state law passed last summer, income tax check-offs falling under that $150,000 threshold two years in a row will be removed from the tax form.
We plan to tackle that goal like General U.S. Grant took Vicksburg – but we need an army of Alliance members and local historical societies to do it:
• Cut and paste the sample article below and include it in your newsletter in February, March, and April (before the tax filing deadline of April 15).
• Post the YouTube videos and other images at www.ohiohistory.org/makehistorycampaign on your website or Facebook page.
• Ask local libraries to hang the posters at www.ohiohistory.org/makehistorycampaign in places where they distribute tax return forms and instructions.
• Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about the tax check-off and History Fund (samples at, you guessed it, www.ohiohistory.org/makehistorycampaign).
• Contribute yourself, and tell your organization’s members, as well as friends, family, and tax preparers about the tax check-off and the History Fund.
The History Fund grant program is in its second year. Like its first year in 2013, demand for grants is strong. The Fund received 64 applications for $788,000 in requests by the application deadline of September 5, 2013. After administrative expenses, the program will have approximately $110,000 to grant. Those grant funds come from you, as Ohio taxpayers.
Recipients of grants currently under review will be announced at the Statehood Day, February 27, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
The deadline for applications for 2015’s round of grants is to be determined, but it will be posted in June at www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund, where you can also find information about eligible projects and applicants, grant amounts, and instructions for applying. Or, contact the Ohio Historical Society’s Local History Office: email@example.com or 800.858.6878.
We appreciate your help. Thank you!
Sample Newsletter Article
Your Tax Return Can Make History
Editor’s Note: Feel free to cut and paste this article and insert it in your organization’s newsletter. For other fun promotional materials, visit www.ohiohistory.org/makehistorycampaign.
It’s tax season again, and this is just a reminder that the voluntary tax “check-off” for the Ohio Historical Society that you’ll find on your Ohio individual income tax return benefits history- and preservation-related organizations throughout the state.
When you opt to donate a portion of your state income tax refund to the Ohio Historical Society, it goes to support the History Fund, which makes grants to organizations for local history- and preservation-related projects in communities across Ohio.
In 2013, the History Fund received $137,153 in donations from 15,890 Ohioans who contributed a portion of their state income tax refund. Most donations are small, averaging $8.63 in 2013, but the impact is big for those who receive History Fund grants. The matching grants are awarded on a competitive basis.
The tax check-off benefiting the History Fund first appeared on state income tax forms in 2012. The first History Fund grants were awarded in 2013 for a variety of history- and preservation-related projects. Learn more about the recipients of grants in 2013 and their projects at www.ohiohistory.org/historyfundrecips.
Please consider donating a portion of your tax refund to the Ohio Historical Society for the History Fund when you complete your state income tax return this year. Questions about the History Fund? Visit www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund or call the Ohio Historical Society’s Local History Office at 800.858.6878.