Hello Friends of the Orchard!

Today we want to share accomplishments of the last year and to ask for your continued support in 2022.  Your dollars in this drive will specifically be dedicated to help us do our part to feed Phoenix with the healthiest of organically grown food while building an infrastructure that makes a significant contribution to the environment. At the Orchard, we focus on a season of fundraising in order to meet our goals for the year, which centers a great deal around the use of the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. Why? Because the Arizona taxpayer has control over what work your taxes support. Your contribution to the Orchard Community Learning Center is your voice in taxation!

The Orchard and your donation this year will invoke your voice simultaneously for a healthier community and a healthier planet. Here’s how two projects will make a huge difference from farm to table to environmental responsibility:

  • Orchard Irrigation Project

This project will further our goals of sustainability and conscious stewardship of this beautiful land with ancient indigenous roots. In 2021, we irrigated food crops using 8,977,207 gallons of SRP water. Yes, that’s nearly 9 million gallons! Thanks to a partnership with engineering students from A.S.U., our own design work, and an investment of approximately $12,000, we will reduce our water use by at least 2 million gallons in 2022, grow more food, and save at least this investment within 5 years in labor costs alone! Or, more accurately, labor of love moved to more production of whole food and much less to the tedious work of irrigating with open ditches.  

  • Food to Food Composting

After a year’s partnership with the Pomegranate Cafe, we are ready to significantly increase our volume of healthy “vegan” compost, nourishing the soils of the Orchard and Spaces of Opportunity while diverting food scraps from the landfill. It’s amazing and complicated science yet the steps are simple: Food scraps + wood chips (also diverted from the landfill)+water. Stir and “cook” 4-6 months. We’ve got the equipment and experience. Your contributions will help us staff a start-up period until sales to local growers can sustain the project. Although tiny and still with a full time volunteer director, the Orchard remains committed to a minimum $15/hour for staff and contractors. 

As we actualize this work, we continue to advocate for change in food systems and policies, healthy practices toward personal wellness, education, and stewardship of all species on Mother Earth!

The Orchard Community Learning Center is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) and an Arizona Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO). Arizona law allows you to designate a portion of your taxes to a qualifying charity at no cost to you! As an AZ resident, you are able to claim a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on donations up to $400 per person or $800 for couples filing jointly at no cost to you. If you are interested in this opportunity, a donation form is attached to this email. If you fill it out and email it back, we will send you a receipt that validates the donation for your Arizona taxes. 

The Orchard’s work is embedded in critical times. We could not serve the community without generous support from donors like you, and we need you more than ever! Remember to donate before April 15, 2022 or when you file your 2021 tax return. 

FAQs for the Arizona tax credit for qualifying charities:

Q: If I donate through the school tax credit (public or private), can I still claim an Arizona Qualifying Charity credit with a donation to the Orchard?

A: Yes! These tax credits operate the same way but are completely separate. You can claim both up to the limits as long as you have that much tax liability.

Q: How do I know if I’ll owe enough taxes to claim the credit?

A: Most people employed in Arizona will owe more than the credit limit. Not sure? Check your Arizona 2020 return to see how much tax you paid and/or look up this cool website: https://smartasset.com/taxes/arizona-tax-calculator#ov0h0i7k89

Q: What do you mean, “You decide what your tax supports”?

A: The Arizona tax credit is a way for you to control how some of your tax dollars will be spent. The tax you pay remains the same. In other words, it will cost you nothing to donate to us up to your tax liability and/or the $400/$800 limits.

Q: What is the deadline to donate for 2021 taxes?

A: The deadline for donations is April 15, 2022, or when you file taxes for 2021. For example, if you were to file taxes on March 1st and donate on the same day, you could have your refund (or have paid less tax) before your check clears or you make your monthly credit card payment!

For more information, see Arizona Department of Revenue, Qualifying Charitable

Organizations description and list: https://azdor.gov/tax-credits/contributions-qcos-and-qfcos

Or contact us at info@orchardlearningcenter.org.

Thank you for your time and interest in our mission and projects! We look forward to sharing updates on these efforts with you throughout this year. If you are interested in donating, a link can be found in the menu bar, and we will send you a receipt of your donation to use for your taxes.

-The Orchard Community Learning Center Team

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