Friday January 26, 2007
Will Use $25,000 Grant to Help Families Build Assets
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Mayor Jerry Abramson today accepted an award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the city’s commitment to financial literacy and education.
Louisville is one of three cities honored by the organization. Other winners include Avondale, Ariz., and the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa. Louisville will receive a $25,000 “Dollar Wi$e” grant along with its award. Avondale and the Quad Cities will each receive $15,000.
Louisville garnered high marks from the conference for its commitment to increasing the number of families claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) deduction on federal tax returns.
Following a 2002 report that showed Louisville working families were leaving more than $26 million on the table by not applying for the deduction, the city partnered with the Louisville Asset Building Coalition to raise awareness of EITC and to provide free tax preparation for working families.
“We know that by concentrating on financial education in Louisville, we are helping our residents start a savings account instead of creating additional debt,” Abramson said. “The additional refund from the tax credit is real money that changes real lives.”
Over the past five years, local families utilizing the free tax preparation services have received more than $18.5 million in refunds – $8.2 million of that total is a direct result of increased EITC deductions.
Louisville Metro Government also sponsored a “Dollar Wi$e” week last September to highlight financial-education and asset-building opportunities available in the community. The city partnered with Citi Card, The Housing Partnership, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis- Louisville Branch, Junior Achievement and other community organizations to offer savings and financial-planning workshops for elementary school children and home ownership classes for working adults.
During “Dollar Wi$e” week, the city held events with Jefferson Community and Technical College and the Kentuckiana College Access Center to highlight Louisville’s many postsecondary opportunities, discuss financial aid and help students enroll in higher education classes.
Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Asset Building Coalition will use the $25,000 grant to create a community-wide directory of financial-education resources, host an asset-building summit, and hold family financial-planning workshops, which will feature lessons tailored specifically to adults and children.
The “Dollar Wi$e” campaign works with mayors to teach citizens about personal financial management. The grants are the result of a $1 million donation by Countrywide Financial Corporation to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.