Financial stability benefits more than a family — it benefits his or her neighborhood and entire community. When we are on solid financial ground, we are more likely to have access to good-quality heath care, provide a good education for our kids, and contribute to our local economy. That’s why UWCT focuses on lasting income solutions (that go beyond charity) to help people build skills and education necessary to get, keep and advance in a good job. And that's why we are establishing strategic partnerships from all sectors to offer financial wellness, coaching and planning to help anyone better manage income, savings and assets.
UWCT is engaging Central Texans, and we are bringing people together to solve community problems. Long-term economic success is not possible without an investment in long-term human success. Working together, we are building strong neighborhoods — all over Central Texas— where individuals and communities can thrive.
UWCT Impact Strategy Highlights
The United Way of Central Texas (UWCT) and its partners—Extraco Banks, the Central Texas Housing Consortium, Helping Hands Ministries, Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, City of Temple, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—created a new community-wide public, private, faith-based partnership—called the United Way SOAR (Savings, Opportunities, Assets, and Results).
The SOAR Collaborative promotes self-sufficiency among low- to moderate-income populations in Central Texas through an incentivized savings and financial literacy program. The SOAR Collaborative offers program participants Individual Development Accounts—called Boost Accounts—that are special savings accounts to assist low income people on their path toward asset ownership through a matched savings and financial education program. Boost Accounts reward the monthly savings of people who are trying to buy their first home or pay for college. For each dollar participants save towards the purchase of their asset, they will receive a match of two dollars, up to a $500 savings goal over 24 months. Participants are also required to attend financial literacy classes to learn the importance of long term assets, savings, how to budget, how to manage debt, and gain credit worthiness.
This UWCT program is funded in part through a grant from BBVA Compass Foundation and a grant from the US Department of Health & Human Services Assets for Independence Program.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
During the Tax Season, (February – April 2017) the VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $50,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Our IRS certified VITA volunteers provide basic income tax return services without charge, ensuring 100% of the tax refund goes directly to the customer.
When tax season arrives, volunteers with UWCT’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program dedicate themselves to preparing hundreds of tax returns for Central Texas residents in need. With the help of many community partners, these IRS-certified volunteers return over a million dollars to our community and save our co-workers, neighbors, and friends hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax preparation fees.
In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
For more information on scheduling an appointment, or to become a volunteer, click here.
This UWCT program is funded in part through a grant from BBVA Compass Foundation.
Community Loan Center
UWCT and partner agencies are working to build a local alternative to payday and auto title loans for individuals and families who need emergency money, and have no where else to turn. The model boasts a 95% repayment rate through setting up a payroll deduction system with local employers. All repayments are reported to the credit bureaus, increasing the client's future credit worthiness, and participants are eligible to take part in financial education trainings.