Nov. 16, 2004 The Economic Development Authority will soon be seeking requests for proposals to conduct a study evaluating the effectiveness of the charitable component of its Economic Development Commission program.
As part of the EDC program, beneficiaries are required to make charitable contributions to local nonprofit organizations and/or public institutions in exchange for certain tax exemptions.
During a conference Monday at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel, EDA Chief Executive Officer Frank Schulterbrandt announced the initiative, saying it was two-fold.
Schulterbrandt said the study seeks to provide sound data on the effectiveness of the charitable component of the EDC program in an effort to gauge and improve its impact on the nonprofit community.
Secondly, the study seeks to develop protocol and processes through which the charitable mandates of the EDC beneficiaries are channeled, he said.
"In so doing, the EDA seeks increased transparency of the giving process as well as heightened accountability on the part of the EDC and the beneficiary companies," Schulterbrandt said. "Moreover, the EDC desires to strengthen this component of the program as an effective way to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the islands."
More than $2 million a year is contributed by EDC beneficiaries for the purpose of charitable donations, Schulterbrandt said, adding that some companies also contribute beyond the requirements of their certificates.
"That is quite significant," Schulterbrandt said. "The whole idea of charitable giving is learning to cast your bread upon the waters wisely."
Thrya Hammond, executive director of the United Way St. Thomas-St. John, said Tuesday that the EDC program requirement for charitable giving has proved beneficial.
She gave the example of the United Way "Alexis de Tocqueville Society," a program geared towards gaining corporate sponsorship. Several EDC companies have signed on to be a part of this program, Hammond said, and have made sizable contributions to the United Way through the society. The organization raised $180,000 through the society towards this year's $800,000 goal.
"That was the first time we set such a high goal," Hammond said. "This is because we knew we could count on the EDC companies."
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