EITC Funders Network eNewsletter
Issue 46 | March 2020
A Note from the Coordinator
Dear EITC Funders Network,

COVID-19 is on everyone's mind. In many ways, the spread of the virus is shining a spotlight on existing inequities and highlighting the need for more inclusive and equitable public policies in our country. As Family Values @ Work, a network of 27 state coalitions working for paid sick & safe days, family & medical leave insurance and other policies that value families at work, states: As COVID-19 arrives in the U.S., one thing is very clear: This nation will only be as healthy as our most vulnerable and least cared-for residents."

Federal and state EITCs and other tax credits fit squarely into efforts to ensure economic security for low-income workers -- delivering much-needed cash infusion directly into the hands of workers who might be experiencing work disruption or extra expenses due to COVID-19. This moment also provides the opportunity for policymakers to consider ways to strengthen these policies and other elements of our social and economic safety net. 

While we are firmly keeping our eye on EITC and tax credit policies and programs (see the link to our recent policy webinar ), we also wanted to share just some of the many resources making the links between economic public policies and public health in this moment.

Stay safe. Stay connected. And please don't hesitate to reach out with any thoughts or questions.

Sincerely,

Ami Nagle
Coordinator
EITC Funders Network
ami@eitcfunders.org
ICYMI:
The EITC Funders Network's Annual Policy Webinar


The EITC Funders Network held its annual policy webinar on March 3rd. Rebecca Thompson, Director of the Taxpayer Opportunity Network and Samantha Waxman, Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities presented a look back at the successes and challenges of 2019 and what these mean for the upcoming year. This year's look at federal and state tax credit policies shone a spotlight on ways states have and can protect low-income residents through tax credit advocacy. Learn more here or check out the recording below!

Interview with a Funder
Danielle Goonan
Director, Economic Opportunities Investments & Grantmaking,
U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative


The focus on the EITC and CTC is relatively new for The Rockefeller Foundation. What intrigued you about focusing in on tax credit work?

We ultimately decided to focus on the EITC and CTC as our first policy area because combined, they have lifted more Americans out of poverty than any other program except Social Security. In addition to being fundamentally bipartisan they are two of the most effective tools for boosting the incomes of hardworking women and men.

Also, there was an opportunity for us to experience what it is like to provide support in a way that strengthens the capacity of state and national coalitions, and funding these organizations to expand their education and outreach campaigns. What we learn will help inform our ongoing policy agenda and think through how we can best support coalitions doing this work.


Research News & News from the Field
The EITC and Minimum Wage Policies Work Together
A new report by Jesse Rothstein from IRLE at UC Berkeley and Ben Zipperer of the Economic Policy Institute shows that the EITC and the minimum wage are complementary policies that, in many cases, may be more effective together than either is on its own.

“Policy discussions often treat EITC expansion and raising the minimum wage as alternatives, from which we should choose just one. However, this is a misconception,” said Rothstein. “EITC and the minimum wage policies complement one another to boost a worker’s earnings more than wages alone can.”

Access the full report: The EITC and Minimum Wage Work Together to Reduce Poverty and Raise Incomes (Economic Policy Institute, January 2020)
2020 Tax Season: Spotlight on Consumer Protection for Taxpayers
The 2020 tax season is underway, and advocates from the National Consumer Law Center have issued their annual advisory on taxpayer consumer protection issues including tax-time financial products, the lack of upfront pricing for tax preparation services, and private debt collection.

“Tax time is such a challenge for low-income and other vulnerable taxpayers,” said Michael Best, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “Taxpayers just trying to get refunds they are owed face an obstacle course starting with incomprehensible forms and tax laws and ending with profit-seeking preparers and lenders looking to intercept a piece of their refunds.”

Access the full report, including a list of resources and free tax preparation resources: 2020 Tax Season: More Delays and Higher Costs for Struggling Taxpayers (National Consumer Law Center, January 2020)
Updated Resources on "Public Charge" Regulations Are Available
On February 24th, the "public charge" regulation - which essentially institutes a wealth test on the immigration system - took effect. Litigation is proceeding in the lower courts, but in the meantime, the regulations are continuing to sow fear and confusion in immigrant communities, harming the health, nutrition, and housing of immigrant families nationwide. The Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign continues to publish updated, accessible resources for service providers, advocates, and impacted communities.

Access the resources: Know Your Rights on Public Charge (Protecting Immigrant Families, updated February 2020)
How Are Tax Filers Using their Refunds?
A new report lays out the findings from research conducted by Prosperity Now, the Social Policy Institute at Washington University and SaverLife (formerly EARN) on the behaviors and outcomes related to savings and the financial-wellbeing of LMI tax filers.

Key takeaways from this research include:

  1. Low-and-moderate income tax filers are saving at higher rates than previously measured.
  2. Households use their tax refund in a variety of ways and for numerous reasons. Savings is just one of the uses of the refund and not the most important one for many filers.
  3. Savings interventions and supports offered at VITA sites are not being consistently implemented across the field.
  4. Taxpayers who both intended to save and, subsequently, successfully saved some of their tax refund experienced fewer financial hardships and increased financial well-being in the months after tax filing.
Access the full report: Evaluating Tax Time Savings Interventions and Behaviors (Prosperity Now, January 2020)
ICYMI: Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens
by Rinku Sen and Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity

This new guide provides grantmakers with reflections, frameworks and tools that will help them course-correct as a result of missing critical elements of racial justice and recognizing problematic outcomes from racial equity-related efforts that produced new challenges and inequities. It includes experienced funders' stories and how-to tips on advancing foundation practices to achieve racial justice.

Upcoming Partner Events
AFN logo standard
Towards Health Equity:
Measuring Health Outcomes in Community-Based Programs

April 1, 2020
12pm-1pm ET


Join AFN on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 12 pm ET, for AFN’s spring Expert Insights briefing on what it takes to measure health outcomes in ways that address healthy inequities and resonate with the health care sector. Hear from report co-authors, Jessica Mulcahy with Success Measures at NeighborWorks America and Lindsay Eilers with Enterprise Community Partners, to inform your investment strategies for advancing health equity.
ICYMI: Recent Field Events
Taxpayer Opportunity Network:
December 2019


Last year, Brookings Institution launched a pilot to get voters registered in both Cleveland and Dallas. As a part of this initiative, the Taxpayer Opportunity Network hosted a webinar to showcase the program, answer any questions, and lay out the process of getting involved in this year’s program.
Tax Credits for Workers and their Families and Prosperity Now
Capitol Hill Policy Briefing: Making Tax Time Work for Everyone
February 2020

TCWF and Prosperity Now hosted a Capitol Hill policy briefing on how policymakers can improve the tax time moment and make refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) work for all taxpayers.

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: 
Entergy
The Piton Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Anonymous