Free Tax Help for Sacramento and Placer Families

VITA volunteer helps a local resident file her taxes through United Way-led programs

Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2016 can receive free tax help in person through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance effort led by United Way California Capital Region in Sacramento and Placer counties. The program will kick off with a Super Saturday event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers will inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify, such as the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

For information and a list of Super Saturday events and weekday tax help sites, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA or call (916) 498-1000. Sacramento residents can call 2-1-1. VITA is a national IRS program that offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns.

Local households that made $64,000 or less in 2016 can qualify to file their state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provides local residents with free, easy tax help they can trust so they can maximize refunds and credits. The site helps people save an average of $200 in tax preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address and income forms. The nine-year-old program is available in all 50 states.

“We want to make sure more Sacramento-area households are financially healthy, and that starts with not spending unnecessary money on tax preparation and making sure they receive all of the refunds to which they are entitled,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO.

Both the in-person and online filing opportunities are designed to help households receive the maximum credit of $6,000 through EITC and Cal EITC. This is the second year that California is offering a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, however if they do file, they can claim state and federal EITC credits for which they are eligible. Those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or the Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed, as a law requires the IRS to hold those refunds until Feb. 15.

“We want to encourage people to plan ahead for this delay instead of signing a refund anticipation loan that will end up being very costly in the long run,” Bray said. “And don’t pay a preparer if you qualify for free services. You won’t receive your refund sooner.”

Sponsors of United Way’s tax help programs include the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, United Way California Capital Region and Wells Fargo. For a list of partners, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these tax help programs to ensure more households are financially healthy. This work is part of United Way’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

United Way Honors Five Local Donors and Volunteers

Five of United Way California Capital Region’s donors and volunteers were honored by the local nonprofit last week for their commitment to United Way’s Square One Project that is ensuring local students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond. Honorees included Al Goldberg of Natomas, Amber Lovett of East Sacramento, Jim Shetler of Galt and Sandy Smoley of Midtown Sacramento. Del Paso Heights-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was United Way’s fifth honoree.

At the recognition event held at restaurant Mulvaney’s B&L in Midtown Sacramento, United Way California Capital Region President and CEO Stephanie Bray told the guests and honorees, “All of you in this room have played a powerful role in changing people’s lives this year. None of this would have been possible without your time and financial commitments, which will continue to fuel our Square One Project in coming years.”

Goldberg was named Young Leaders Society Member of the Year for his dedication to United Way’s Young Leaders Society by reaching out to new members, promoting events and bringing ideas to the group. Lovett received the Women in Philanthropy Member of the Year Award for her work getting United Way’s Women in Philanthropy off the ground 15 years ago and her continued dedication to the group as a donor. Shetler received the Boje and Price Award for Outstanding Volunteerism for his service on the group’s board of directors creating a five-year strategic plan in addition to being a top United Way donor. Smoley received the Frances Wisebart Jacobs Live United Award for her longtime commitment to United Way since 1967 through a women’s group, leadership on the board of directors and donations to United Way’s Women in Philanthropy.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was honored with the Cornerstone Award for achieving outstanding results in the company’s United Way campaign and making volunteerism and community engagement part of its company culture. The company has contributed countless volunteers and more than $273,000 over the last five years.

“I know we have a bright year ahead as we continue to work together to make sure kids succeed in school and beyond,” Bray said. “But it’s going to take all of us. By bringing together companies, schools, government and individuals across the region we know that we can bring about that change.”

United Way California Capital Region has launched the Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

United Way Launches 20-Year Project to End Poverty

Through a Facebook Live video this morning, United Way California Capital Region announced that all of its work for the next 20 years will focus on ending poverty by increasing the number of local kids who graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond. United Way’s Square One Project will bring together the organization’s work over the last decade as the project focuses on educational milestones for children and the resources they need to succeed in school, including early literacy support, access to nutritious food, stable homes, support systems and more.

“This is our most ambitious project in our 90-year-history,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “If we want to see real change happen in our community, we have to break the cycle of poverty that’s passed down from one generation to another. There is one place in the community where we can do that best – and that’s school.”

Sacramento-area kids who graduate from college are 62 percent less likely to live in poverty than those who drop out of high school, according to United Way and the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development. United Way’s Square One Project is bringing together community leaders, schools, government, nonprofits, volunteers and donors across five counties to make sure kids stay in school, stay on track, have high expectations for what they can achieve, and have strong support systems.

United Way is launching the Square One Project through a partnership with Robla School District in Sacramento. To make sure kids can come to school every day, United Way and Robla School District are providing case managers at schools through a grant to help the 500 homeless families in the district secure stable housing and other support. United Way’s Healthy Meals ensures kids have enough to eat in their after-school programs so they have fuel for their brains. United Way also is providing tutors to help kids meet reading and math milestones so they stay on track. United Way’s Young Leaders Society is helping families start saving for higher education by raising matching funds for college savings accounts so that kids have high expectations of continuing school.

“We’re excited to be one of the first school districts where the Square One Project has launched,” said Ruben Reyes, superintendent, Robla School District. “This is a district with a lot of need, but a lot of awesome kids who are going to do amazing things in our community, thanks to our work with United Way.”

Through the Square One Project, United Way also will work with school districts throughout Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties to fill gaps in resources so kids have the best chance at success.

“We know ending poverty starts in school, but it’s going to take whole communities to make this happen across our region,” Bray said. “I hope everyone will find their way to join us at Square One so kids can create a better life for themselves, their community and the next generation.”

To donate or volunteer for United Way’s Square One Project, visit www.squareoneproject.org.

1,000 Volunteers Needed for United Way’s Day of Caring

United Way's Day of Caring

A thousand volunteers are needed to spend one day caring for the community on Sept. 11 by signing up for one of 37 volunteer projects happening across the region on United Way’s 3rd Annual Day of Caring, sponsored by Nationwide. The event, which kicks off the fall fundraising campaign, will start at 8 a.m. with a breakfast and rally at Cal Expo. Volunteer projects will begin at 9:30 a.m. To sign up: http://www.yourlocalunitedway.org/dayofcaring.

“This is what United Way does best – bringing together companies, volunteers, nonprofits and more to make a collective impact in our community,” said Stephanie McLemore Bray, United Way president and CEO. “This high-energy day has grown each year because people like having an opportunity to dig their hands in and care for their community.”

Last year, 662 volunteers completed 32 volunteer activities across five counties. Many of the participating nonprofits have expressed gratitude for the help volunteers bring on the annual Day of Caring.

“United Way has been a wonderful community partner for us throughout the years,” said Suzzanne Castaneda, public relations representative for nonprofit Atkinson Family Services. “We have made lasting relationships with the volunteers we get on Day of Caring. Many have continued to help up make a difference in the lives of our foster youth and our community long after Day of Caring is over.”

For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought people together as first responders on needs in the Sacramento region and changed the lives of hundreds of children, families and adults. Now United Way is mobilizing nonprofits, companies, schools, government and individuals across the region, state and country to make a collective impact in the areas of education, financial stability and health in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

24 Local Nonprofits and Schools Honored by Intel Folsom

Intel honors United Way at its Intel Involved Celebration

Bringing together hundreds of employees with dozens of local nonprofits and schools where they have volunteered, Intel held its annual celebration of its Intel Involved Matching Grant Program on Monday. Five hundred fifty Intel employees gathered with 24 local nonprofits and schools to celebrate the program that combines financial and volunteer support. When employees volunteer with schools and nonprofits, their volunteer hours are matched with dollars from Intel.

“One of Intel’s objectives is to be an asset to our site communities,” according to Intel Director of Regional Public Affairs, Jonathan Williams. “Nothing exemplifies that more than the thousands of Intel volunteers who support schools and nonprofits across the Folsom-Sacramento area. I am so proud of our volunteers for both the amazing work they do and longstanding relationships they have developed with education and community leaders across this region.”

The event included check presentations to local nonprofits and school districts, prizes and a tour of Intel’s Innovation Center and lab facilities. In 2014, more than 3,000 Intel Folsom employees participated in the Intel Involved program – more than half of the employee population. They donated more than 240,000 volunteer hours to local nonprofits and schools that resulted in matching grants totaling nearly $2 million, including $216,755 to Folsom Cordova Unified School District and $193,570 to San Juan Unified School District.

“There’s a reason Intel is the top member of United Way’s Million Dollar Giving Club,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Their generosity in the community is unparalleled, and it’s great for employee morale and business that Intel gives to organizations that its employees care deeply about. This is a model program for giving, and we are grateful to be a recipient.”

The Intel Involved Matching Grant Program aims to recognize and motivate Intel employees, globally, to engage in outreach and volunteerism to make communities a better place to live, work and play. Its objective is to support employees giving their time and talent to qualified nonprofits, non-governmental organizations and schools. After a minimum of 20 hours has been accrued by Intel employees volunteering at a school or qualified nonprofit, a donation match grant of $10 per hour volunteered is triggered from the Intel Foundation with a maximum of $15,000 per school and $10,000 per nonprofit each year.

For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought together nonprofits, businesses, donors, volunteers, community leaders and more to meet the community’s greatest needs, give immediate aid and find lasting solutions for future generations. United Way mobilizes members of the community to be first responders in repairing the education level, financial stability and health of everyone in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties through donation and volunteer opportunities. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

Intel Folsom Donates 2,357 Books to Local Kids

Intel Folsom donates books to Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento

Volunteers from Intel Folsom loaded children’s books into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento’s library after raising 2,357 books from the Intel Kids Book Drive this spring that benefited two nonprofits: Reading Partners and the Boys & Girls Club. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento is a nonprofit partner in United Way California Capital Region’s education initiative that is working to improve children’s reading across the region. Intel members of United Way’s Young Leaders Society also created and distributed bookmarks for the Boys & Girls Club kids. For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought together nonprofits, businesses, donors, volunteers, community leaders and more to meet the community’s greatest needs, give immediate aid and find lasting solutions for future generations. United Way mobilizes members of the community to be first responders in repairing the education level, financial stability and health of everyone in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties through donation and volunteer opportunities. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.