Fremont Area Community Foundation (FACF) recently announced the results of its fall community grant round, awarding more than $2.6 million to local agencies and programs.

Among the wide variety of organizations and programs receiving funding was a $10,000 grant to Goodwill Industries of West Michigan for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) services in Newaygo County.

The VITA program offers free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income individuals and families. Trained and IRS-certified volunteers help taxpayers complete and file their returns, ensuring that individuals and families claim and receive all the tax credits they are eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

The EITC is recognized as the most effective federal poverty alleviation tool, yet 20% of eligible tax filers do not claim it. In Newaygo County alone, this translates to $2.4 million lost.

In 2015, VITA helped 376 taxpayers file their returns. The total economic impact of the tax refunds returned, as well as savings in tax preparation fees, was estimated to be $423,158.

“We are proud to partner with organizations providing critical services to people in Newaygo County,” said Carla Roberts, FACF president and CEO. “We are also grateful to the donors whose generosity makes these grants possible.”

The next round of applications for community grants are due on February 1. Eligible agencies must be located in, or directly serve, the people of Newaygo County. For more information and to view a list of past grants awarded, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.

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