Thanks to the resources of volunteers and community supporters, GRACE was able to equip 287 qualifying families with tax assistance, financial coaching and nearly $400,000 in tax returns back to local families.

There was an unprecedented 53% spike in client participation as compared to last year, broadening its significant impact on families in their journey toward self-sufficiency and financial independence. Each family received an impressive average of $2,000 in Earned Income Credit (EIC), which translates into rent, utilities and family savings.

This service is designed for law-abiding residents struggling with a fixed income whose refund would likely been left undiscovered or given a fraction of the return with a costly tax service.

The achievement for each family creates a ripple effect that is far reaching, including the intangible support given during tax season for financial stewardship awareness, job coaching, and continued education resources to increase each family’s earning potential.

The tax preparation program enriches economical health on a national and local level, reducing government revenue by an estimated $70 billion dollars to pour back into the free market. Studies have also shown EIC generates a sizable decrease in child poverty and substantial increase in employment.

These facts and figures are impressive unto themselves, but the impact it has on the community at large is immeasurable.

Community leaders and residents have the opportunity to advocate wise spending practices by volunteering, and GRACE clients often gain a newfound perspective on their finances, ability to provide and their family’s future goals.

Longevity studies reveal that an EIC boosts family morale because the program emphasizes their roles as working parents and providers. A stronger resolve to ensure provisions for their children encourages parents to make better decisions, ultimately creating a family savings plan.

On behalf of these families, we are indebted to the wonderful volunteers who invested their time and expertise in the lives of others. If you haven’t participated in VITA, please contact Volunteer Manager Lara Hohweiler to be on the list for the upcoming tax season.