Illinois Tax Credit Scholarships

Invest in Kids Act: Support Student Scholarships

For too many children, finances are a barrier to receiving a quality Christian education. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Donors—from everyday people to large corporations—can now help fund scholarships in CLEF-supported schools while receiving a generous state tax credit.

The Illinois General Assembly recently passed the Invest in Kids Act. This measure created a state tax credit that encourages donations to private school scholarship funds for Illinois children from low-income families.

Individuals and corporations who donate to CLEF through our designated Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO), Empower Illinois, will receive a credit against their Illinois income tax liability equal to 75 percent of their donation. For example, a $1,000 donation will generate a $750 Illinois tax credit for the donor. Note that donations to an Illinois SGO are not deductible as itemized charitable contributions on your federal income tax return. With recent changes to federal tax law, an Illinois credit may offer greater financial benefits to donors than a federal charitable tax deduction. Donors should consult with their tax advisor on their specific situation.


How Can I Contribute to CLEF Scholarships and Get an Illinois Income Tax Credit?

Empower Illinois


Donors need an account on before applying for a tax credit. This can take up to 10 days and involves a mailed Personal Identification Number (PIN). We encourage you to register as soon as possible so that you can reserve a credit immediately after the start of the new year.

If you have questions, please contact CLEF at 630-595-9310 or


After you have registered, you must reserve your 2019 tax credit with the Illinois Department of Revenue prior to making a donation. Credits are available on a first come, first served basis and could be reserved very quickly. Due to the cap on total credits available, we encourage you to reserve your credit starting at 8:00 a.m. on January 2nd or as soon as you receive your PIN. Select Empower Illinois as your SGO and designate your gift for Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation Schools (or a particular CLEF Lutheran school).


Once you receive confirmation of your tax credit from the Illinois Department of Revenue, make your donation to Empower Illinois within 60 days. Individual donors, be sure to designate Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation Schools (or a particular CLEF Lutheran school) as the recipient to continue supporting enrollment of students at CLEF schools. We recommend that you UNCHECK the box which states: ‘If a balance remains at the school system, I authorize Empower Illinois to use the remaining balance of my account as undesignated funds to provide scholarships for eligible students.’ Unchecking the box will ensure that your donations stay within our Lutheran school system. Corporate donors are unable to designate donations to particular schools.