EITC Funders Network eNewsletter
Issue 30 I March 2016 
A Note From the Coordinator
Dear EITC Funders Network,
Released last month, President Obama's  final budget proposal would strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers who are not raising children -  the one group of low-income workers that the tax code still taxes into, or deeper, into poverty.  In addition, the budget would expand eligibility by lowering the eligibility age, encouraging employment for younger workers.
The plan is similar to  legislation put forward by House Speaker Ryan, and has received widespread bipartisan support. These proposals are highlighting an area of agreement across the aisle - the EITC is a crucial support to help low-income workers meet basic needs.
We hope that you and your grantees will use this moment as a chance to share how the EITC helps working families make ends meet, keeps families working, and has long-lasting  positive impacts into the next generation.
Here at the EITC Funders Network, we'll help keep you updated on issues in the field through  events (have you registered for the upcoming   EITC Funders Network 2016 policy forecast on March 3rd?) and quarterly  eNewsletters. You may have noticed that we are trying out a new format this year - let us know what you think!
Ami Nagle, Coordinator
EITC Funders Network
Inside This Issue
  • News from the Field / Research News:
    • A Spotlight on Paycheck Plus
    • New Survey Finds Limited Awareness of Tax Credits
    • Final Evaluation Report on SaveUSA
    • The Interaction of Need-Tested Benefits
  • Network Events:
    • Upcoming Webinar: 2016 State and Federal EITC Policy Forecast
    • Recent Webinar: Exploring Alternative EITC Payment Models
  • Events in the Field:
    • Upcoming Webinar: Putting Your Best Foot Forward on EITC - New Research on Messages that Work (The Hatcher Group and CBPP)
    • Recent Webinar: Highlighting Tools and Resources to Support Taxpayers with Disabilities (CFED's TON)
    • Recent Webinar: Navigating FAFSA and the EITC (CBPP)
Interview with a Funder InterviewwithaFunder
Lana Wood
Coordinator of Project HOPE
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque

Tell us about your foundation's work on family economic security.
Our Foundation's vision is a vibrant and inclusive Greater Dubuque region with resources and opportunities for all. We see our role in building this vision as being a convener and catalyst in our community, providing community leadership and a table for economic security efforts.
News from the Field / Research News News
A Spotlight on Paycheck Plus
Policymakers made significant strides in "making work pay" for low-income families with children when they made permanent critical improvements  to the EITC and CTC last year. But, as noted above, the EITC still largely excludes workers who are not raising children. Paycheck Plus , a pilot program simulating an expanded EITC for low-income single workers without dependent children, began as a pilot in New York City in 2013 and is now testing the effects of a more generous EITC supplement for low-income single adults in the Atlanta region. Take a look at this recent PBS NewsHour segment on expanding the EITC for childless workers: "The Bi-partison Idea That Gives a Tax Boost to Childless Workers."

New Survey Finds Limited Awareness of Tax Credits

A recent national survey conducted for United Way WorldWide found that a substantial proportion of the survey's respondents (working families earning less than $62,000 per year) did not know about tax credits for which they might be eligible. Only 40 percent of respondents knew about the Child Tax Credit and fewer than 60 percent were familiar with the Earned Income Tax Credit. The survey also found that a majority (72 percent) of working Americans are unaware that they qualify for free tax prep services. For more details and an overview of the survey's methodology  
Final Evaluation Report on SaveUSA

In January, MDRC released final impact findings from the evaluation of SaveUSA, an asset development program that encourages low-and moderate-income individuals to set aside tax refunds for savings.  Launched in 2011 in four cities - New York City, Tulsa, Newark, and San Antonio  - SaveUSA provides a 50 percent matching incentive if eligible households maintain a pledged amount in savings for about one year. According to the evaluation report, approximately two-thirds of the SaveUSA group received at least one savings match during the 42 months and across the group, the program increased the percentage of individuals with nonretirement savings by almost 8 percentage points. 

The Interaction of Need-Tested Benefits

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report at the end of last year exploring the interaction of nine major need-tested benefit programs, including tax credits, to provide information on eligibility and benefit receipt among individuals and households. The report uses U.S. Census data along with microsimulation modeling to delve into the number of individuals eligible for need-tested benefits, the family characteristics associated with receipt of need-tested benefits, and the amount of benefits actually received. According to the report, an estimated 40 percent of families that received at least one benefit, received benefits from only one program (SNAP and the EITC were the most common in this category).  

Network Events NetworkEvents
The EITC Funders Network Annual Policy Webinar 
March 3, 2016
1pm-2pm EST
In 2015, Congress made permanent vital provisions of the federal EITC and while battles to save state EITCs continue to be waged in some states, an unprecedented number of state legislatures advanced local EITC legislation last year. What's ahead in 2016? Join us for a webinar to learn about the federal and state landscape, and hear from two state campaigns -- Mississippi and Minnesota -- working to build and strengthen state EITCs.

EITC Funders Network/Asset Funders Network webinar
On January 14th, the EITC Funders Network and Asset Funders Network co-hosted a webinar for funders and philanthropic advisors to learn more about the context for exploring payment alternatives (including lessons learned from the underutilized, former Advance EITC option), the recent proposals and pilots that have emerged, and the role of funders in exploring both the ideas behind and the logistics around periodic payment proposals.
Events in the Field EventinField
The Hatcher Group and  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) webinar
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
2pm-3pm EST
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and The Hatcher Group invite you to join us for a webinar on how to put your best foot forward when working to advance the EITC. Louisa Warren, Assistant Director of State Engagement & Partnerships at CBPP, will recap what was accomplished in 2015 and outline the work ahead for the credit in 2016. Meg Bostrom, co-founder of the Topos Partnership, will present findings from research commissioned by the EITC Funders Network and Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, and highlight ways you can weave these insights into your communications work. 

CFED's Taxpayer Opportunity Network (TON) webinar
December 2015

CFED's Taxpayer Opportunity Network hosted a discussion with the National Disability Institute (NDI) highlighting best practices and available resources to help increase the accessibility of VITA/TCE sites to all individuals.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) webinar
December 2015
Uncertainty about how to pay for college shouldn't prevent students and families from applying from the beginning. Unfortunately, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be an intimidating process. Like claiming the EITC, a tax return is required to apply for federal aid. Free tax help programs can help families do both.  This training explored various approaches to connecting families with college students to federal financial student aid.
About the EITC Funders Network
The EITC Funders Network brings together funders interested in the Earned Income Tax Credit, free- and low-cost tax preparation, and asset building. The Network seeks to increase awareness of EITC-related projects, foster collaboration, share information about the current status of EITC-related work, and help shape the future of the field. 

The EITC Funders Network is generously funded by:
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation