Funders recognize that the effectiveness and impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are limited by the credit’s participation rate and many low-income taxpayers’ reliance on costly tax preparation services. At the same time, funders know that philanthropy cannot always take on the vital task of funding grantees to advance the work that addresses these challenges alone. Public sector entities (cities, counties, states) can be critical partners in this effort.
The EITC Funders Network is interested in helping its members explore ways in which the public sector is supporting EITC outreach and free tax preparation work and the ways in which private philanthropy works with the public sector in this arena. As an initial step to build greater awareness of the ways private philanthropy works with the public sector to support EITC outreach and free tax preparation work, the EITC Funders Network gathered a selection of funder case studies. Download the report: Through the Funder Lens: Public Sector, Philanthropic and Practitioner Collaborations that Strengthen the Impact of the EITC and VITA.
Concurrent to these funder interviews, Prosperity Now conducted interviews with practitioners from five tax preparation sites in a range of geographic regions with strong philanthropic and public-sector partnerships. The aim of these interviews – to better understand how Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites work with their local governments to increase EITC take-up and outreach and to provide financial stability services for low-income communities – informs the conversation on how public and private partners can work more effectively with VITA practitioners and advocates. Download the report: VITA Practitioner Perspectives: Public Sector, Philanthropic, and Practitioner Collaborations that Strengthen the Impact of the EITC and VITA.
Together, these interviews reveal the countless opportunities for strengthening collaborations and the importance of continuing transparent conversations among all three groups about challenges, resource needs, expectations and joint, long-term goals. We are hopeful that the interviews conducted for this project demonstrate just the first step in what we hope will be an ongoing discussion about ways to lift up best practices and maximize impact at the local level.