OUR WORK

Strategic Initiatives

Our Initiatives

In addition to our funded programs, United Way also supports several initiatives that improve our community.

 

United Way of Central Massachusetts is part of the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition. The Coalition has been operating the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in Central Massachusetts for nearly 20 years with support from the community.

 

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program makes tax credits and tax preparation more accessible to those who need it most. Workers who qualify for the EITC credit by making less than $57,000, persons with disabilities, seniors, and limited English-speakers can get FREE TAX PREPARATION by IRS-certified preparers.

 

VITA is more than a tax return – it’s about empowerment!

  • Helps clients claim valuable tax credits they’ve earned, including EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit)
  • Puts money back in taxpayer’s pockets by providing tax refunds and tax preparation savings
  • Helps taxpayers reduce their personal debt
  • Helps taxpayers invest back in our community
  • Connects people to additional services to build financial health and stability

2021 Tax Season

Congressman McGovern Speaks on the VITA Program by the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition

City Manager Augustus Speaks on the VITA Program by the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition

 

The 2021 tax season kicks off February 1, 2022. The Worcester Free Tax Coalition is offering both in-person and virtual preparation at four local sites.

 

Main South Community Development Corporation

Virtual support: 508-752-6181; vita@qcc.mass.edu

 

The Community Builders at Plumley Village

In-person support: 508-770-0508

 

Worcester Community Action Council

Virtual support: www.wcac.net/vita; vita@wcac.net; Apply online: www.GetYourRefund.org/WCAC

 

Worcester State University

Virtual support: www.worcester.edu/vita; vita@worcester.edu; Apply online: www.GetYourRefund.org/wsu

 

Click here for VITA flyers in English

Click here for VITA flyers in Spanish

Click here for payroll and envelope stuffers

 

What is the EITC credit?

The EITC is a federal tax refund for eligible working individuals and households. Through the Worcester Free Tax Coalition, United Way of Central Massachusetts is making this tax credit more easily accessible to those who need it most.

 

You must have earned income to apply for the EITC.  The EITC is a tax benefit for low to moderate-income working individuals and families. Workers who qualify for the EITC and file an income tax return can receive a refund, even if they had no income tax liability for the given year.

Why is the EITC important?

Each year, low-income families substantially increase their annual income by utilizing the EITC. In fact, the EITC lifts more families out of poverty than any other federal aid program, providing families an opportunity to increase savings, reduce debt, and finance education or training programs.

 

Reality of EITC losses:  Each year, EITC credits that go unclaimed by low- and moderate-income workers represent millions of dollars of lost revenue that would otherwise boost local economies.

United Way’s Role

Focus on Family Stability: United Way is connecting people and resources to improve the community by focusing on the building blocks for a good life: Education, Family Stability, and Health. Through the Earned Income Tax Credit Initiative, UWCM is addressing Financial Stability by helping taxpayers claim federal rebates and working to achieve its goal to reduce the child poverty rate in central Massachusetts. More about Family Stability.

 

What we’re doing:  We are part of the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition, which is working to create awareness about the EITC and engage volunteers to help prepare taxes for free. The Coalition recruits volunteers to serve at VITA sites and helps people claim eligible tax credits. Through financial education classes, we are also working with tax payers to increase knowledge about budgeting and credit repair.

 

Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition Members

 

Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition Supporters

Assumption University

City of Worcester

Cornerstone Bank

Country Bank

Digital Federal Credit Union

FDIC

Internal Revenue Service

MASSCAP (Massachusetts Association for Community Action)

Office of Congressman James P. McGovern

Quinsigamond Community College

St. Mary’s Credit Union

UniBank

Webster Five

AFL-CIO United Way Partnership

The AFL/CIO is dedicated to providing the best services available to its membership. With this in mind, they formed a partnership with the United Way of Central Massachusetts over 40 years ago. The partnership has provided solutions in creating a stronger community that provides a great place for union members to live, work, raise children and retire.  The partnership is an essential part of the solutions needed to continue strengthening the community.  Working together, the AFL/CIO United Way partnership provides members with the opportunity to shape their community through volunteer services and a direct link to information on health, and human services.

AFL-CIO Community Services Program

The Community Services Program coordinates many programs to benefit members of organized labor, their families and the community at large. Members of organized labor participate in United Way’s Day of Caring, organize the Handicapped Ramp Program, NALC food drive, the Holiday toy drive and other special projects. One of the most important roles of the Community Services Program is to design and provide training sessions for union members, their families and other community partners.

NALC Food Drive

On the second Saturday in May, the National Association of Letter Carriers hold their annual Stamp Out Hunger in America National Food Drive. Nearly 1,500 local branches in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands participate in the program. This food drive, the largest single volunteer day in America, depends on the generous efforts of letter carriers across the nation, as well as the outstanding support of the Campbell soup Company, America’s Second Harvest, local United Ways, and the AFL/CIO. By the end of the day, in addition to the daily mail, the NALC collected a record 70.9 million pounds of food for the hungry in America. NALC President William Young commented, “Many of the recipients are from working families, people who just need a helping hand to get through some tough times.” 

Handicap Ramp Program

Local union members volunteer here in our community identifying agencies, families and individuals who are in need of handicap – accessibility. They donate their time and supplies to construct ramps that significantly improve the quality of life for people in our community. Carpenters local 107 have been instrumental in organizing the engineering side of the handicap ramp process, and partner with the AFL/CIO Labor Director at the United Way to build secure, well-constructed ramps.

For more information on Labor Services, contact Paul SoucyDirector of Labor – AFL/CIO at (508) 757-5631 ext 212.

211:

Just as you would call 9-1-1 in an emergency, United Way of Central Massachusetts has partnered with other United Ways  across the state, to establish a free, confidential hotline to help with non-life threatening needs. 211 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about health and human services available in their community. It serves as a resource for finding government benefits and services, non-profit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities, donation programs, and other local resources.

Calling 211 is:

  • Free
  • Confidential
  • Available 24 hours-a-day / 7 days-a-week
  • Multi-lingual
  • Available immediately during times of crisis, to field calls regarding the event and to direct callers to services most appropriate for their needs
  • Is an easy way to find or give help in your community
  • Maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system saving that vital community resource for life and death emergencies

 

Visit Mass 211’s website to Learn more.

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