Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro) has graciously received a $100,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to implement the Pay Yourself First program to educate and empower individuals to save their tax refund for long-term goals, emergency financial situations, and improve their financial stability.
Pay Yourself First compliments Wayne Metro’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that provides free tax preparation services and resources to educate families in making informed financial decisions. VITA encourages greater levels of savings and helps to improve lower income residents of Wayne County to achieve personal economic stability through coaching and year-round tax preparation services.
Mia Cupp, Director of Development and Communications at Wayne Metro, said the grant will help countless low-income families save during tax season and throughout the year.
“Providing access to education, financial coaching and tax preparation helps empower families to take control of their finances and use those important earned income tax credits to improve their situation. They can have a backup plan in the event of a car problem, an appliance needs replacing, or someone gets ill and needs to take time off work,” Cupp said.
“This is likely the largest sum of money they’ll receive all year and it really is an opportunity to get ahead. Through this grant, JP Morgan Chase is helping to make a profound impact on how we move people from being dependent on supports to being independent, self-reliant, and thriving.”
Since 2003, Wayne Metro has increased its number of tax sites from 2 to 32 and the number of returns from 80 to 4,145 in the 2014 season. Last year the tax program was also able to provide services in every region of Wayne County, ranging from Belleville to Harper Woods and including the City of Detroit resulting in $1,157,650 in refunds to low-income residents.
Last year the Agency received a grant that allows for year round and tax preparers can go back as far as three years.
“The service is free, this is a judgement-free zone, and we can go back and help folks receive up to three years’ worth of refunds they are eligible for. That could be thousands of dollars. To me, that is a game-changer!”