IL State Tax Credits / Empower Illinois

Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Opportunities – what are they?

There is an amazing opportunity for you to support Catholic education right here at OLW and significantly reduce, or eliminate, your state tax bill at the same time. It is the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, “Invest in Kids” and it provides a 75% Illinois state income tax credit – not just a deduction – to individuals who contribute money to a non-profit Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). This means that a $5,000 donation to an SGO is a net cost of only $1,250 to the donor. Earmark your donation for Our Lady of the Wayside School and it will be used for students that want to attend our school but need financial assistance.

We have a generous matching opportunity right now – a donor will match your donation.
We want to take full advantage of this $30,000 bonus!

There are a few steps to the process (see below), but the benefit is truly worth the effort. For this academic year of 2021-22, OLW awarded $111,000 in scholarships to 19 students because of the generous donations of our parish members using Illinois Tax Credits. 

The steps for the donor are:
1.) You need to request a Letter ID from You will need your Social Security and Driver’s License numbers. Click on Individuals; under Miscellaneous, click on Request a Letter ID. It takes about 7-10 business days to receive the Letter ID in the mail.
Step by step instructions to request a Letter ID 

2.) Once you receive the Letter ID, return to and click Sign Up Now to create an account. Then log-in to your newly created account to apply for your tax credit.
Step by step instructions to create and activate your account
Step by step instructions to apply for your tax credit
When applying for the tax credit, please have this information handy:
– Region 1/Cook County for OLW
– Scholarship Granting Organization: Empower Illinois
– how much you plan to donate (you must mail a check, no credit card donations are allowed)
You will receive an email with your Contribution Authorization Certificate. Download it and then you can make your donation. 
Step by step instructions to download Contribution Authorization Certificate

3.) Visit to make your donation to OLW through the Tax Credit Scholarship Program. You must use the SGO Empower Illinois and designate Our Lady of the Wayside School.
Download the mail-in payment donation form and send with your donation check to Empower Illinois. This must be done within 60 days of receiving the Contribution Authorization Certificate from

Please contact any of the following people for help. The extra effort benefits families who would like to choose OLW as the place to give their children a Catholic education, but they need financial assistance. The donor receives a benefit in an actual reduction of tax liability when they file their IL state taxes. A Win/Win!
David Wood, OLW Principal, 847-255-0050, ext 244, or
Danielle Kenney, Marketing and Development Manager, 847-255-0050, or