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Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC)

Reduce your business tax liability and invest locally in Lehigh Valley Zoo - a community leader in wildlife conservation, conservation education, and Smart FUN family recreation.

What is Pennsylvania's Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC)?
Offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the EITC program allows businesses to receive significant tax credits when they contribute to approved Educational Improvement Organizations such as Lehigh Valley Zoo. Funding from the EITC program allows the Zoo to continue to bring educational opportunities to thousands of children every year, thereby continuing to keep wildlife conservation alive in the Lehigh Valley.

What is an educational improvement organization (EIO)?
EIOs are nonprofit organizations that have been approved by DCED for participation in the EITC program. To become an EIO, the nonprofit must apply annually to the DCED to show how their programs improve the educational opportunities for children. Lehigh Valley Zoo is proud to be recognized as an eligible EIO for its Zoo Activity Programs (ZAP) and Zoo Camps.

The purpose of education at Lehigh Valley Zoo is to inspire and cultivate an informed community of conservation stewards. Participation in a Zoo education program is a proven way to get children excited about science and environmental education has also been proven to positively impact literacy and math skills. The Zoo provides a unique and highly valuable learning experience; Zoo grounds are truly a living classroom where science comes to life and students of all ages can actually experience science first-hand! Lehigh Valley Zoo provides students and guests with a Smart Fun worldwide safari in their own backyard - to see animals up close, to watch them, to realize how alike we are in many ways, to understand them, and to appreciate them.

During calendar year 2014, over 175,000 guests visited Lehigh Valley Zoo and over 35,000 students participated in our formal conservation education programs. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in conjunction with conservation, the Zoo's Education Department provides innovative programs aligned to meet Common Core Standards, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content taught by a team of highly skilled conservation educators for Pre-K through 12th grade. In the last ten years, AZA-accredited institutions such as San Diego Zoo, Columbus Zoo, Bronx Zoo, and Lehigh Valley Zoo have formally trained more than 400,000 teachers, supporting science curricula with effective teaching materials and hands-on opportunities. Having an immersive experience, like visiting the Zoo, can encourage students to reconsider their role in environmental problems and conservation action and then see themselves as part of the solution. 100% of the school districts within Lehigh Valley participate in educational programming with the Zoo. Lehigh Valley Zoo is listed as an educational improvement organization under the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC).

Lehigh Valley Zoo's EITC Approved Education Programs:

Zoo Activity Programs (ZAPs)
Our ZAPs are specially designed programs for school groups. All ZAPs cover science-related themes such as wildlife biology, conservation, and ecology and pollution management. Students experience both hands-on scientific activities and up close educational animal presentations. Teacher packets are provided for each topic along with pre-visit and post-visit activity ideas to extend the learning experience.

Zoo Camps
Our interactive day and week-long camps allow children the opportunity to explore nature and learn about wildlife conservation and the Zoo's wildlife ambassadors. Lehigh Valley Zoo is home to approximately 300 animal ambassadors representing 127 species.

What businesses are eligible? 

Businesses that are authorized to do business in Pennsylvania who are subject to one or more of the following taxes:

  • Corporate Net Income Tax
  • Capital Stock Franchise Tax
  • Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax
  • Title Insurance Companies Shares Tax
  • Insurance Premiums Tax
  • Mutual Thrift Institution Tax
  • Insurance Company Law of 1921
  • Personal Income Tax of S corporation shareholders or Partnership partners

Why should your business give?
By making an investment in Lehigh Valley Zoo's innovative conservation education programs through the EITC program, you can be assured that your taxes are being directed toward educational programs that benefit your community. Tax credits equal to 75% of the contribution up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year can be increased to 90% of the contribution if your business agrees to provide the same amount for two consecutive tax years.

When does the EITC tax credit program begin, and how much is available?

The program year is July 1 through June 30. The filing date is July 1 for first year applications and May 15 for business applicants who have fulfilled their 2-year commitment and wish to reapply in FY 13/14 to renew their 2-year commitment. Applications for tax credits are processed until the credits are exhausted; therefore it is important for your business to submit your application on July 1.

How do businesses apply for the tax credit?

The process is simple. Businesses must submit a brief application to the DCED stating what amount they plan to contribute. The DCED will notify businesses if their applications are approved. After receiving approval, businesses must provide proof to DCED within 90 days of the notification letter that their contribution was made within 60 days to an approved Educational Improvement Organization such as Lehigh Valley Zoo.

Let's get started!

  • Determine the amount of state corporate taxes that your company pays.
  • Pennsylvania applications must be submitted electronically using DCED's Single Application for Assistance. Paper business applications will no longer be accepted.
  • The business application guidelines explains the process of applying:
  • The EITC office must receive the EITC business application on July 1, not before. Applications are approved on a first-come-first-served basis by date received.
  • When you receive written approval from DCED, you may send your contribution within 60 days to: Lehigh Valley Zoo, 5150 Game Preserve Road, P.O. Box 519, Schnecksville, PA 18078. We will mail you an acknowledgement letter and an appropriate receipt that you can send to DCED.
  • For specific EITC business application questions, contact Rhonda Hill, EITC Program, Department of Community & Economic Development at 717-346-8005.



5150 GAME PRESERVE ROAD, P.O. BOX 519 | SCHNECKSVILLE, PA 18078 | PHONE (610) 799-4171 | FAX (610) 799-4170