WNDU_logoLast year, four million dollars was returned in tax refunds, all thanks to the United Way tax assistance program.

This year it continues and will help anyone that makes 52 thousand dollars a year or less.

This is the eighth year for the program. It's not just in St. Joseph County but five counties in Michiana. Last year volunteers filed 26-hundred returns electronically.

People are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 211.

Dawn Chapla from United Way of St. Joseph County says, “We figured we saved over a million dollars in prep fees and loan fees and those loans are one of our big targets. We don't want you to borrow your own money just to get it back sooner than a few days. We can usually get your return back from the federal government in 7 to 11 days. Why pay 400 dollars of your own money to get your taxes when you can keep it all and have it work for your own family?” Keep in mind United Way doesn't handle businesses.

However, this year there is a free service on-line so people can file their own taxes just by going to their website.
Also students from Saint Mary's and Notre Dame volunteer their time to do taxes for free. It helps them get some real life experience and helps out the community. The program is known as "TAP" which stands for the "tax assistance program."

It was started in the early 70's, about the same time earned tax income credit was developed. Anyone that makes 40 thousand dollars can show up for help.

Students file paper forms, not electronic ones, so they can practice what they've learned in the classroom.

TAP program manager and Saint Mary’s accounting professor John Cerjnul says, “The calculation and determining the eligibility and the amount of income is very complicated, very complicated. So students are determining if they are eligible and B, how much they will get. This is money the federal government says they are entitled to.”

Students and CPAs typically volunteer at various libraries in St. Joseph County. They helped five thousand people last year.

Unlike United Way, since there are experienced CPAs on hand that are trained on how to properly handle complicated tax problems. Click here to watch the video!

Source: WNDU

Chronicle_of_PhilanthropyThe Chronicle of Philanthropy recently released an article about the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty coming up in 2014. The article features perspectives from Avi Poster, co-founder of a grass-roots antipoverty coalition in Nashville, who explains that next year is an ideal time to get policy makers thinking about how to help Americans who are struggling to make ends meet. Click on the image to the left to read the full article.

AlfredAs a recent retiree from IUSB, I am discovering that retirement can be a poignant time for reflection. I’ve been recalling past successes and understanding how challenges often led to “fine-tuning”. Consequently, I’ve especially been musing about how the contributions I’ve made during my career as a professor and Vice Chancellor will fuel future generations in our community. Certainly, the mark of life well lived is realized through the countless relationships we build along the way and the impact of our investments throughout our community.

Many of us who have entered our retirement years remember how our parents taught us the value of “making everything we touch, better.” Clearly, this perspective has influenced the way in which I have lived my life and the way in which I now plan to enjoy my retirement years in our community.

Regardless of our age in years, I’m sure each of us wants to help create positive, lasting progress for our community. As a board member of United Way of St. Joseph County (UWSJC), I am working with the board, staff, and community partners to identify and address the biggest issues confronting our community. We know that the way in which social issues are addressed will create either long-term success or long-term struggle for our community.

The UWSJC Board of Directors believes that the epidemic of poverty is the root cause of most social issues (i.e. the lack of education, crime, lack of employment or preparation for employment). Did you know that, in our county, 20,000 children under the age of 18 lives in poverty (that is, 1 out of every 3 children.) Indeed, the ripple effect of poverty upon all is us---at every age, every circumstance and in every season of life-- is staggering!

In this season of my life, I am determined to leave St. Joseph County better — for our children, grandchildren, and future generations of children ---who call our community, home.  By investing my time, skills and funds in our community through United Way, I am confident that I will leave it better than when I arrived. By choosing to invest in the future through donating, advocating for those without a voice, and offering my time through volunteering, I’m making an investment that will be experienced for years to come. My legacy.

Many of you became involved with a United Way in this or another community in America. Perhaps you were a donor and a volunteer for your company’s annual workforce campaign. However, if you’re like many people our age, you may have lost touch with United Way. Or, you may be discovering United Way for the first time. Regardless, I hope you will join me in considering how you can leave your mark on our community. There are so many ways you can help our community through United Way.

So, please GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER –as if our community depended on it. Because it does!

Thank you.

Alfred J. Guillaume. Jr., Board Member, United Way of St. Joseph County

Click here to see the UWSJC ad featuring Alfred that is running in the South Bend Tribune.

Crowe_SymbolCongratulations to National Philanthropy Day Award Winner, Crowe Horwath. Crowe Horwath, who was nominated by United Way of St. Joseph County, was awarded for their philanthropic efforts as a corporation. Earlier this year, Crowe Horwath was also recognized at United Way's Alexis Coquillard Event for their investments and service to our community through United Way. 


Pictured: UWSJC President and CEO Kay Ball, Crowe Managing Partner Gary Fox, Stacey Kuharic and Amy Dermody