VITA Grant Continues to Reap Benefits for the Community!
For the sixth year, United Way of the CSRA 2-1-1 collaborated with local agencies to provide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to the community. This grant funding is provided by Walmart stores through United Way Worldwide and provides operational, administrative and marketing support to maximize EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) awareness and benefits.
This year, three agencies: Action Ministries-Augusta, 30901 Development Corporation, and Augusta Technical College provided 15 volunteer tax preparers that completed 953 returns. These skilled volunteers enabled clients to receive EITC benefits totaling $1,072,609 and total tax refunds (including all tax credits) of $1,200,954.
The primary factors contributing to this program’s growth are outreach efforts to repeat clients, the use of social networking to promote the VITA program and word-of-mouth marketing among family members and friends.
One agency reported that they served a client who is now able to put a down payment on permanent housing thanks to the EITC benefit and their income tax refund. Another agency noted that a low income client who received a substantial Earned Income Tax Credit allowed the client to pay for child care so that he could return to school and receive a technical skill.
United Way of the CSRA 2-1-1 looks forward to applying for this grant funding again for 2015, expanding this benefit to additional counties through Augusta Technical College to serve the more rural population of the CSRA. United Way of the CSRA hopes to expand the outreach of this program through an increased use of social media and the development of a self-tax preparation aspect of volunteer income tax assistance.
Thank you to our VITA partners and to the many volunteers involved in this project.