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Saving for the Future with SaveUSA

by CNCS Staff

The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City has made SIF-leveraged investments to leading job training non-profits to expand and scale evidence-based innovations that are designed to break the cycle of poverty and build economic self-sufficiency in diverse communities across the country.

Led by a collaborative including the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), the policy institute MDRC, and eight cities, including Cleveland, OH; Kansas City, MO; Memphis, TN; Newark, NJ; New York City; San Antonio, TX; Tulsa, OK; and Youngstown, OH, the SIF funding provides a unique opportunity for these cities to work together to expand and test five promising anti-poverty programs piloted by the CEO.

One of the five programs the Mayor's Fund/CEO SIF will expand and test is SaveUSA. The SaveUSA program offers eligible individuals a 50 percent match if they deposit a portion of their tax refund into a “SaveUSA Account” and maintain the initial deposit for approximately one year.

The Mayor's Fund selected sub-grantees in four cities to implement the SaveUSA Account program. These sub-grantees have extensive experience providing volunteer income tax preparation assistance and other asset development efforts to help low-income individuals break the cycle of poverty and build economic self-sufficiency.

In 2010, the SaveUSA sub-grantees completed over 95,000 tax returns, securing over $187 million in refunds and credits for low-income families. During the first year of operation, the sub-grantees enrolled over 1,600 filers in the SaveUSA program. Together these participants pledged to save more than $855,000 (an average of $530 per person).

Angela is one of the 1,600 SaveUSA participants. Angela enrolled in the SaveUSA program in New York City. As a mother of two with a third on the way, Angela wants to begin saving for her children.

Angela works in retail and earned less than $10,000 in 2010. As an Earned Income Tax Credit recipient, Angela received a refund of $6,800. She chose to put $500 of this refund into her new SaveUSA Account. With the SaveUSA 50% match she will be able to increase these savings to $750, enough to save for a potential medical emergency for her children.

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