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Mike Ross supports Davis & Elkins College Highlands Scholarship program with $15,000 gift

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Citing the importance of education, West Virginia businessman and former state senator Mike Ross is giving his support to the Davis & Elkins College Highlands Scholarship program with a gift of $15,000.

Ross is one of dozens of state residents who will receive tax credit while contributing to this project that helps area students.

Ross and other West Virginia residents who support the Davis & Elkins College Highlands Scholarship program with a gift of $1,000 or more are not only investing in the community, they also are participating in the State's Neighborhood Investment Tax Credit Program, or NIP, through D&E and qualifying for a 50 percent credit for their gift on their West Virginia taxes.

A native of Coalton Ross grew up in a family of 14 children. His father was a coal miner, and Ross explains that although money was tight, 12 of the children attended college. Ross is president of Ross and Wharton Gas Co. and owner and chairman of the board of Mike Ross Inc. He was elected to three terms in the West Virginia Senate representing the 15th District and later served in the West Virginia House of Delegates. During his time in office, he served as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure, Rule-Making and various other committees.

Now, through his success in business and leadership in state government, Ross shares his talents and treasure to give others the opportunity to further their education.

"Today I make contributions to help kids attend school," Ross says. "Sometimes the kids, or even their grandparents, come up and say ‘thanks for your help.' That's a good feeling to know you can help."

This year, Davis & Elkins College is awarding $3,570,480 in scholarships to 275 Highlands Scholars from Barbour, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur and Webster counties.

Ross says he has supported the program since it was initiated by President-Emeritus "Buck" Smith in 2008 because it opens the door for more students to attend college.

According to Carol Schuler, associate vice president for Communications and Development, "Generous gifts from individuals have helped make the scholarships possible since the program began. Now, those who support the program will not only reap the joy of giving and supporting education, but also reap a tangible benefit in reducing their state tax liability."

Unlike the standard tax deduction, the NIP credit provides a direct reduction in a donor's State tax liability. It may also be carried over for up to five tax years, and may be applied toward quarterly state taxes. Donors may use the credits to reduce liability for personal income tax, corporate net income tax or business franchise tax.

The Neighborhood Investment Program was established by the West Virginia Legislature in 1996 to increase charitable giving to local nonprofit organizations. The program allows 501(c) 3 designated charitable organizations – including D&E – to apply for tax credit vouchers and then distribute the vouchers to individuals and businesses that financially support the organization.