Working together to increase public support for state EITCs.

To help improve the efforts to protect current and create new state EITCs, Economic Opportunity Funders (formerly known as GIST) and the EITC Funders Network administer and oversee the EITC Rapid Response, Campaign and Policy Development Fund. The three funds are guided by an advisory group, supported by two national funders and administered by EOF and the EITC Funders Network in partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and The Hatcher Group.

To date, $954,000 has been awarded to 20 state networks in rapid response funds, $900,000 has been awarded to five state networks in policy development funds and $150,000 has been awarded to three state networks in campaign funds.

Why the EITC?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) puts money back into the pockets of working families struggling to make ends meet.  It helps provide immediate relief— so that they are able to buy groceries, pay utility bills, and buy school supplies—and helps them begin to break the cycle of poverty for future generations by getting additional education and training, better transportation, and saving for their children’s education. The EITC lifts more than 6 million Americans, including 3 million children out of poverty each year, making it one of the nation’s largest and most successful anti-poverty programs. In additional to the federal EITC, 29 states and the District of Columbia have established state EITCs.

To help improve efforts to protect, expand and create new state EITCs, we oversee three funds:

Rapid Response Fund

Rapid Response Fund

The EITC Rapid Response Fund (EITC RRF) was established in 2012 and focuses on quick infusions of support to help an existing effort overcome a communications challenge or opportunity. Awards are made on a rolling basis and range from $15,000-$30,000.

Campaign Fund

Campaign Fund

The EITC Campaign Fund (EITC CF) was established in 2017 and focuses on supporting a year-long effort where a window of opportunity to promote or defend a state EITC seems urgent. Awards are made in the early Fall and range from $30,000-$50,000.

Policy Development Fund

Policy Development Fund

The EITC Policy Development Fund (EITC PDF) was established in 2015 and provides multi-year support to state-based policy groups laying the groundwork to develop or improve state EITCs. Awards are made in the early Fall at $75,000 a year for two years.

Additional work of the EITC Pooled Fund:

Polling and Message Testing

The Fund has supported several messaging research efforts to support awardees and the field.

In 2012, The Fund contracted with a national polling firm (Hart Research) to support new research on EITC messaging through focus groups and national polling. Findings from this research are available upon request.

In 2015, building on the polling and focus group findings, The Fund contracted a messaging firm (Topos Partnership) to explore the set of messages that might shift how people think about the EITC. This research, using deep “talk-back” message testing in several locations across the country, explored how people think about the EITC as a mechanism to reduce poverty and their reactions to messages regarding fraud and abuse of funds and other key message points. See findings from this research here.

Technical Assistance from National Partners

The Fund also provides support to two national field partners – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and The Hatcher Group. Each year, these national partners work collaboratively to prepare a scan of the state EITC policy field and identify opportunities and challenges that The Fund could work to address. National field partners also provide direct technical assistance to awardees and share learnings with the field.

Evaluation

The Fund supported a retrospective evaluation of the Rapid Response and Policy Development Fund. Evaluation activities began in Summer 2016 and concluded in March 2018.  Evaluation activities included document reviews, awardee surveys and interviews, group data collection at convening(s), funder and leadership team interviews, awardee coaching on data collection, awardee capacity assessments, surveys of a subset of awardees’ peers/partners, funding landscape analysis, and in-depth case studies.

RRF evaluation outcomes and lessons learned.

PDF evaluation outcomes and lessons learned.

EITC Data Interactive

Supported by the EITC Pooled Fund, the Tax Policy Center has updated and improved the EITC Data Interactive. This tool will be incredibly helpful to funders and grantees seeking to better understand the reach and impact of the federal EITC in local communities across the US.

The tool allows you to use the geographic filters to find and download the number tax filers who received an EITC for specific ZIP codes, states, cities and towns, counties, metropolitan divisions, state legislative districts, and congressional districts.