JPMorgan Chase professionals will help United Way develop a strategic marketing and outreach plan to increase the number of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers through a new consultation pilot project.
United Way’s VITA program was one of only three projects selected by JPMorgan Chase through an arrangement with Social Venture Partners Dallas.
VITA centers across Tarrant County are part of United Way’s Earn Well initiative to help low-income working families on the path to financial stability. IRS-certified staff and volunteers assist families who earn less than $53,000 to prepare and file their tax returns; helping them obtain all eligible tax credits and avoid tax preparation fees. The volunteers also refer families to other financial stability assistance, such as financial coaching, GED classes and job training.
Through 7,033 tax returns prepared this year by VITA volunteers, almost $11.5 million in refunds was distributed to Tarrant families. This included more than $5 million in Earned Income Tax Credits.
Additional volunteers are needed to keep up with the increasing demand for VITA services. Skilled professionals from Chase will consult with United Way to craft a plan that will result in 150 to 200 new retired and “empty-nester” VITA volunteers trained and ready to start the new tax season on January 19. United Way’s goal for 2016 is to have enough new and returning VITA volunteers to prepare 9,000 federal tax returns that will bring $13 million (including $6 million in Earned Income Tax Credits) to local low-income working families.
“We believe that with the assistance of JPMorgan Chase employees to help us develop a strategic plan and outreach steps, we can create a growing volunteer base that will enable the VITA program to serve more and more families each year,” said United Way Executive Vice President Marilyn Jones. “We are delighted to partner with them in this pilot project.”