PA’s EITC Program Helps KenCrest’s Little Learners Stay in School

The Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program helps families of students in Early Learning Centers with a financial tax break.

By Aubrey Hoffert  


For students throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania—early June marked the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer, including the 900+ children of KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers (ELCs). For over 350 ‘Little Learners,’ June 8th also closed the first chapter of their educational journeys, each starting preschool amid a global pandemic.

It’s hard to fathom what memories from the last two years will remain with them. Is it the ones attending school virtually over iPads and wearing masks with their favorite Disney characters? Or the ones sharing crayons with their new friends, getting high-fives from their teachers, and going down the big slides on the playground by themselves? No matter the memories, the past two years have impacted their growth and preparation for primary school. For many, their start to a remarkable lifetime of learning was made possible by the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.

Since 2012 funding received through the EITC program has supported over 400 working families at KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers. Quality Pre‐K programs in the Philadelphia community cost an average of nearly $15,000 per year. Through EITC donors like PNC, WSFS, AmerisourceBergen, Ray’s Appliances, and Primex Garden Center, KenCrest—as a Pre-K Scholarship Organization—can offset family tuition expenses for those who need assistance. In the fiscal year 2021, $290,000 in EITC donations funded scholarships for 61 students.

“It made life simple. And it kept my son in school; if we didn’t get the scholarship, he probably wouldn’t be able to attend KenCrest, let alone any school,” shares a Lehigh Center parent. “Life is just too expensive, especially for a single mom.”

The EITC program isn’t just limited to businesses; as an individual taxpayer, you can participate through a Special Purpose Entity (SPE) if you have a minimum Pennsylvania tax liability of $3,500. Unlike the traditional business model, there are no strict deadlines to follow and a simple one-page application.

The tax credit programs also support before-and-after care expenses, summer programming, and the free-and-reduced lunches for students. “The scholarships helped cover before and after care, and I could work a full-time schedule without worrying about the added costs. Education is important and having a KenCrest Early Learning Center right in our neighborhood made a difference not just for my children, but for me too,” says an Adams Center parent.

As the 2022-23 school year begins to ramp up, a new generation of little learners is entering KenCrest Early Learning Centers. While their memories of the next two years are still to be determined, the impact that this opportunity for a great start at their education is promising.

For more information about KenCrest’s EITC-approved early learning programs, visit kencrest.org/eitc; or contact Dawn Warden, KenCrest’s Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at 610-825-9360 ext. 1123 or via email at: dawn.warden@kencrest.org.

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