LEWISBURG – The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), through its nonprofit WVSOM Foundation, is offering Neighborhood Investment Program (NIP) tax credits to organizations and individuals who donate to scholarships intended to defray the cost of medical education for low-income students from 20 West Virginia counties.

The West Virginia Community Advancement and Development office awarded the WVSOM Foundation $20,000 in tax credits for 2021 — the second-largest amount in the osteopathic medical school’s history. The WVSOM Foundation is making the credits available at 50 percent of the donated amount, with a minimum gift of $500.

Up to 10 scholarships worth $2,000-$10,000 will be established through the credit-eligible donations, benefiting students who plan to practice in West Virginia after graduation. Andrew Ickes, development director of the WVSOM Foundation, said the foundation will provide the NIP tax credits to donors who give to the scholarship fund for immediate use or for permanent endowments earmarked to sustain the fund in perpetuity. The scholarships will help the state retain quality physicians, he said.

“Almost 90 percent of WVSOM students borrow money for tuition and living expenses,” Ickes said. “Through the Neighborhood Investment Program, we are able to provide an additional incentive to our donors to make gifts that support students representing some of West Virginia’s most underserved communities. This helps us live our mission and find ways to support the students who are most likely to practice in underserved communities.”

The tax credits will be given in exchange for monetary gifts used toward scholarships for WVSOM students from counties that have a poverty level of at least 18 percent, a median household income of $43,000 or less, a primary care provider shortage or are designated as medically underserved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those counties are Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Nicholas, Roane, Summers, Wayne, Webster and Wyoming.

Students from other counties may be considered for the scholarships if not enough competitive applications are received from the designated counties.

The West Virginia Legislature established the Neighborhood Investment Program in 1996 to increase charitable giving to local nonprofit organizations. Through the program, organizations apply for tax credits and then distribute the credits to businesses or individuals who make financial contributions, allowing donors to use the credits to reduce corporate net income tax liabilities or personal income tax liabilities.

The tax credits are available on a first-come, first-served basis and must be awarded by Dec. 31. Those interested in providing an eligible gift should contact Donette Mizia at 304-793-6852 or dmizia@osteo.wvsom.edu.

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