EITC Funders Network eNewsletter
Issue 32 I September 2016 
A Note From the Coordinator

Dear EITC Funders Network,
As Election Day approaches, the American people are becoming increasingly focused on how candidates plan to approach improving the economy. A poll released earlier this Summer by the Children's Leadership Council  shows that Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to poverty reduction and to making child well-being policies a priority. In fact, adults across all demographic groups said the next President and Congress should invest more in programs - such as health, education, and nutrition programs -  that meet the needs of America's children and their families. 

From the research, we know that the EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are not only proven poverty-reduction policies , the tax credits have been linked to positive health, education, and earnings outcomes in the next generation . The credits enjoy bi-partisan support and both President Obama and House Speaker Ryan have called for expanding the EITC for childless workers, the only group currently taxed into or deeper into poverty by the federal tax code.

Yet, neither presidential candidate has announced policy positions on tax credits for working families. As a recent post from Tax Credits for Working Families points out, that's a missed opportunity. We'll keep our eye out for policy positions on these vital credits.


Ami Nagle, Coordinator
EITC Funders Network

Inside This Issue
  • News from the Field / Research News:
    • Linking EITC Expansion and Crime Reduction
    • VITA's High Accuracy Rating and Recommendations for the IRS
    • Family Student Loan Disparities Examined by Race and Ethnicity
    • KIDS COUNT Data Underscores the Importance of the EITC
  • Network Events:
    • Upcoming: Maximizing the Golden Triangle: Savings, the EITC, and Financial Coaching - Thursday, September 29th, 2016
    • Save the Date: Funder Discussion on Economic Opportunity, Two-Generation Strategies and Tax Credits - Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
    • Recent Webinar: Leveraging the Tax Moment to Build Financial Capability - June 9th, 2016
  • From our Partners:
    • Upcoming Asset Funding Network webinars:
      • Assets and Alternatives: Payday Lending Reform - September 7th, 2016
      • Prison to Proprietor: Entrepreneurship as a Re-Entry Strategy - September 14th, 2016
Interview with a Funder InterviewwithaFunder
Tom Keith
Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina

Tell us about your economic opportunity funding portfolio. 

The mission of the Sisters of Charity Foundation is to address the needs of the poor and underserved statewide - in all 46 South Carolina counties - and to strategically use resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy, and leadership. South Carolina has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, and grantmaking is one way we work to help South Carolinians live out of poverty. 

News from the Field / Research News News
Linking EITC Expansion and Crime Reduction
A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates the societal benefit in reduced crime and improved public safety of expanding the EITC for workers without dependent children.  The report notes that access to adequately paying jobs and the ability to make ends meet are key to successful reentry, a reduction in recidivism, and the prevention of new crime. Using a similar methodology to a recent paper from the White House Council of Economic Advisers that calculated the anti-crime impact of raising the minimum wage, CAP estimates that EITC expansion would generate an additional $1.7 billion to $3.3 billion in societal benefit from crime reduction and increased public safety. See also CAP's related infographic: How Could Boosting Wages Reduce Crime?
VITA's High Accuracy Rating and Recommendations for the IRS

The 2016 quality review results for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) are in, and the accuracy rating is one of the highest ever. The weighted accuracy rating of 94.61 percent marks a .49 percent increase from the previous year, and even exceeds the FY2016 accuracy-rating goal. Despite these impressive results, and perhaps because of them, the Quality Assurance Working Group (QAWG) - a working group of the Taxpayer Opportunity Network (TON) - annually sends recommendations to IRS-SPEC that could help free tax prep programs do even better. This year, the recommendations include making the VITA scope more flexible, establishing effective communications with TaxSlayer, and including VITA partners in IRS future state plans. Click here to see an overview of the "2016 Formula Five Recommendations for the IRS" or download the full document here.
Family Student Loan Disparities Examined by Race and Ethnicity

Research indicates that some EITC recipients use their refunds to help pay off debt - including student debt. Average student loan debt at graduation has been growing over the last two decades, but often this burden impacts some families more than others. A recent Urban Institute analysis of 2014 Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED) data takes a closer look at the racial and ethnic differences in loans that finance a family member's education expenses. The data confirms previous reports showing that black students are significantly more likely to have student loan debt than their white or Hispanic counterparts. However, the data also shows that the differences in rates for borrowing for a child or grandchild' s education are statistically insignificant. The authors of the report, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Family Student Loan Debt,  provide two possible explanations for this finding. First, racial disparities in wealth may constrain black families from using wealth as collateral in parental loan programs. Second, black students are more likely than other demographic groups to enroll in college later in life, when parents and grandparents may have less of a role in financing education. 
KIDS COUNT Data Underscores the Importance of the EITC

The 2016 KIDS COUNT data book, produced annually by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks all 50 states in multiple areas of child well-being.  The rankings also  make a strong case for state EITCs, as states with state credits tend to rank higher on overall child well-being. For instance, Minnesota and Massachusetts, which ranked highest, have enacted state EITCs. On the other side of the spectrum, Mississippi, which ranked lowest, does not have a state credit. As the data book notes, "state policy choices...strongly influence children's chances for success." State EITCs build on the proven success of the federal credit in increasing work and reducing poverty for working families and their children.  

Network Events NetworkEvents

Maximizing the Golden Triangle: Savings, the EITC, and Financial Coaching
An In-Person Funder Meeting at the Assets Learning Conference co-sponsored by the EITC Funders Network and the Asset Funders Network
Thursday, September 29th, 2016 
2:00-5:30pm EST
Washington, DC
Join the EITC Funders Network and the Asset Funders Network at the 2016 Assets Learning Conference (ALC) for a unique funders-only opportunity to explore the intentional linkages between savings, the EITC, and financial coaching.  This briefing will contextualize the linkages within a two-generation poverty reduction framework, offer best practices and lessons learned from the field, and foster the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.

Funder Discussion on Economic Opportunity, Two-Generation Strategies and Tax Credits
Co-sponsored by the EITC Funders Network, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, South Carolina Grantmakers Network, Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, and United Way Association of South Carolina
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
Columbia, SC

Please save the date for a regional funder conversation about tax credits for working families as part of a two-generation strategy to create economic stability for working parents and a brighter future for their children. More details coming soon! 

Leveraging the Tax Moment to Build Financial Capability
A webinar co-sponsored by the Taxpayer Opportunity Network, JP Morgan Chase, and the EITC Funders Network
On June 9th, the Taxpayer Opportunity Network, JPMorgan Chase and the EITC Funders Network co-sponsored an engaging discussion about leveraging the tax moment to build financial capability for low- and moderate-income taxpayers.  The webinar featured representatives from foundations, government agencies and practitioners sharing the lessons they've learned about tax-time financial capability integration and the questions they're still trying to answer. Speakers discussed program design theories and how to incorporate client-centered approaches into this work. The webinar wrapped up by sharing tools and resources that programs can apply to their work today.

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Webinar: Assets and Alternatives - Payday Lending Reform
Wednesday, September 7th (tomorrow!)
12-1pm EST

Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed small-dollar and payday loan regulations. The proposed regulations significantly rein in predatory lenders, but there is far more work to be done to enable innovation toward safe, affordable, accessible, and mobility-enhancing small dollar loans.  This presentation will examine the proposed legislation, who is using payday loans and small-dollar loan alternatives, and why the demand for them is so consistent. We will explore the role philanthropy is playing both on the policy level and how funders can support innovation in product and program development.

Webinar: Prison to Proprietor - Entrepreneurship as a Re-Entry Strategy
Wednesday, September 14th 
12-1pm EST

We invite you to join Asset Funders Network and experts from FIELD at the Aspen Institute on September 14, 2016, 1pm eastern for a national webinar highlighting the release of Prison to Proprietor, a new AFN Strategy Spotlight examining microenterprise strategies for the formerly incarcerated.

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