September 9, 2015 -Maryville, Missouri: Lettuce Dream is a non-profit organization in Maryville, Missouri dedicated to helping those with a cognitive and developmental disability achieve their dreams of satisfying work, greater community connection and steps toward independence. The group aims to build hydroponic greenhouses where individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities can come to learn valuable job skills and enjoy social interaction with others. The Missouri Department of Economic Development gave its approval of this endeavor in the form of NAP (Neighborhood Assistance Program) tax credits.
Earning the NAP status meant that qualified donors could earn 70 percent of their donation as a tax credit. All donations needed to come from either a business or an individual drawing on a business-related income. The tax credit could be applied to the donor’s tax liability in the year the check was dated and for up to five years should the credit exceed each year’s amount due. The total amount of the donation could also be used as a deduction on Federal and State taxes.
Phase one included the construction of two hydroponic greenhouses along with an operations building. Later phases included 14 more greenhouses, a warehouse and an office building. Any money received beyond what was needed for phase one was automatically set aside toward construction of future phases.
With the NAP program, Lettuce Dream had the opportunity to “sell” up to $350,000 in tax credits. This status meant that donors could give to a worthwhile project and reap tax benefits as well as know that they’ve helped with something that will truly benefit others. That feeling lasted right up until tax day when donors gave to Lettuce Dream under the NAP program.
Dick VanVactor, Program Director, stated “Without this program and the funds we received, we would be not have been able to start this project in the near future. With this program we were able to start secure the beginning of construction next spring and will be able to help our individuals by next fall.”