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VITA makes economic impact through volunteerism

United Way of the Quad Cities and VITA make economic impact through volunteerism by offering free tax preparation services.

As part of program, $5.2 million was returned to Quad Citizens last year, saving a total of $1 million in fees.
Bettendorf, Iowa (March 11, 2019) – For the 11th year in a row, United Way of the Quad Cities, has partnered with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to help Quad Citizens with their tax preparations.
The program connects Quad Citizens with a household income of $57,000 or less with IRS-Certified volunteers who help prepare tax returns for free at 15 locations throughout the Quad Cities. In 2018, 6,400 Quad Citizens received free tax preparation, and $5.2 million was returned to them in federal income tax dollars through VITA.
“A cornerstone to financial stability is, for many, their annual tax return,” said Rene Gellerman, CEO & President of United Way of the Quad Cities. “With one in three Quad Cities families struggling to meet their basic needs, tax returns are the biggest paycheck many Quad Citizens see all year. They provide crucial windfall that helps people budget for large expenses and supplement their monthly income.”
According to Gellerman, the best part of this effort is the more than 170 IRS-certified and trained volunteers who drive the program.
“Last year, local VITA volunteers gave an astonishing 9,500 volunteer hours to help Quad Citizens with their tax returns,” said Gellerman. “Because of their volunteer efforts, families using the VITA program, on average, received a return of around $1,500.”
Janene Finley, associate professor of accounting at St. Ambrose University, is among the core group of volunteers for VITA and a “true inspiration to those she teaches,” according to Gellerman. She has been involved in the program for more than 11 years – training more than 300 students to volunteer at VITA sites around the Quad Cities. 
“There are two things I hope students get out of the experience,” she said. “Real-world experience and an appreciation for how much they have to be thankful for. Preparing someone’s taxes is a very personal experience and it really makes you realize just how much you have.”
United Way of the Quad Cities sincerely thanks the VITA volunteers for donating their time and talents to help Quad Citizens live their best possible life.