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Invest in Kids

What is the State Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Illinois enacted the Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Program in 2017. This program offers a 75 percent income tax CREDIT to individuals and businesses that contribute to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs). This may be a significant benefit because it is a tax CREDIT rather than a deduction which is typical for charitable contributions. The SGOs then provide scholarships for students whose families meet the income requirements to attend qualified, non-publics schools in Illinois.

Download Program Info PDF.

How To Donate

This legislation allows for individual benefactors to designate a donation to Bishop McNamara Catholic School. Benefactors may make a charitable contribution of any amount up to $1 million for scholarship programs and receive a state tax credit of 75%. The Diocese of Joliet has partnered with Empower Illinois as their designated Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGO).

Donation Example:

Download "How to Donate" PDF.

Download Donation Example PDF.

*The tax credit is only applicable to Illinois State income tax and may not be taken as a deduction on your federal tax return.

Scholarship Applicants

Empower Illinois helps families choose the best education for their child, regardless of their ability to pay, by providing scholarships for thousands of Illinois students to attend private K-12 schools. Learn more about qualifications, application and awards here.


Aprenda más de las cualificaciones, la applicación, y los premios aquí.

Claim your tax credit today and make a difference in the lives of BMCS students.

Tax Credit Tutorial

Bishop McNamara's Region 3 is earmarked for tuition assistance for private schools.

State wide there are $54,346,280.00 of unclaimed tax credits still available!

Get Started with Empower Illinois



Terry Granger, BMCS President


Tricia Surprenant, BMCS Director of Finance


More Tax Credit Info

Frequently Asked Questions

Tax credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your state income tax liability. This means that a $750 tax credit saves you $750 in taxes. On the other hand, tax deductions lower your taxable income and they are equal to the percentage of your marginal tax bracket.

Tax Credit Scholarship FAQ

Donor FAQs

About Empower Illinois

The Empower Illinois mission is to expand quality education options for low-income and working-class families of Illinois.


Empower Illinois is a statewide Scholarship Granting Organization created in 2017 to serve Illinois children through the state’s tax credit scholarship program.

Public education is rooted in the promise of equal opportunity, but for too many children who live near poverty or for students with certain special needs, those opportunities are out of reach. The Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program was created in Illinois to benefit children whose educational options are limited by household income. Our scholarships provide parents a way to help their children find success.

Empower Illinois serves as a conduit for processing donations, scholarship awards and program compliance for approximately 80% of all Illinois private schools. We support schools and nonprofits in their tax credit fundraising efforts while assisting students and their families through the scholarship process that can help make their dreams a reality.

Our expertise is established through a partnership with Step Up For Students, the nation’s largest tax credit scholarship program administrator. Step Up has provided more than $2.5 billion and 565,000 scholarships to Florida students since 2001. Their administrative and compliance services will provide schools, donors and students the support and confidence they need to create a lifetime of success.

Empower Diagram

Important Forms

Legislation Updates

BMCS Enrollment Inquiry

Enrollment Inquiry

Parents, the choice is yours: choose the best school for your child. Learn more about how to apply for enrollment at Bishop McNamara Catholic School.