Through our grantmaking, we are expanding the capacity of organizations to help Texans create prosperity. Our Innovation and Investment Fund awards grants to Texas-based entities to develop new asset building programs or expand successful ones. We award grants annually and grant applications are by invitation.
Our grantmaking priorities
- Projects that serve underserved individuals and Texas communities.
- Projects with potential to scale and/or offer new learning opportunities.
2013 OpportunityTexas Innovation and Investment Fund Grant Recipients
- The OpportunityTexas Tax-Time Savings Project (TSP) includes two different projects: the Savings Bond Incentive Project and the Opportunity Savings Project.
- Savings Bond Incentive Project - Our project partners are Foundation Communities in Austin and the United Ways of Texas. This project provides modest incentives to VITA clients to encourage them to save a portion of their tax refunds by purchasing at least one U.S. Savings Bond through Tax Form 8888. In 2013, the project is distributing a $25 grocery or discount store gift card to filers that purchase at least $100 in U.S. Savings Bonds with their tax refund. Local United Ways carried out the project in 37 VITA sites in the following nine communities and regions: Corpus Christi, Dallas, Longview, Lubbock, Brownsville, Wichita Falls, Central Texas, Tarrant County and Victoria County.
- Opportunity Savings Project - In 2013 TSP added this project in partnership with the Texas Credit Union Foundation. The project is providing a matched savings account offered at VITA sites operated by Border Federal Credit Union in Del Rio and Coastal Community Credit Union in Galveston.
- Through the Opportunity Savings Project, filers are encouraged to save a portion of their refund in a savings account opened at the VITA site and build savings in the account over approximately a one year period. Filers will have the opportunity to enroll in the Opportunity Savings Project at the VITA site. The filer will open an Opportunity Savings Account, managed by the participating credit union, into which the filer will need to deposit a minimum of $250 of their refund. The filer will have two choices for an up-front incentive -- a $25 gift card for depositing between $250-$499 into the Opportunity Savings Account or the option of a $50 dollar gift card for depositing $500 or more into the Account. At the end of the project year, January 15, 2014, if the participant has a higher balance in their Opportunity Savings Account than their initial deposit and have participated in one financial education class, they will receive a 1:1 match on their net savings up to $100. The hope with this new initiative is to encourage savings throughout the year in order ingrain a strong habit of continued savings.
2012 OpportunityTexas Innovation and Investment Fund Grant Recipients
2011 OpportunityTexas Innovation and Investment Fund Grant Recipients
Read our April 2011 blog post, which highlights Foundation Communities' project, and our February 2011 blog post, which highlights the tax time savings project of Greater Longview United Way, one of United Way of Texas' grantees.
We will provide updates on our website on the projects we are funding, lessons learned, and best practices, which will help organizations share experiences and inform organizations of innovative approaches to increase economic opportunity.
Read our report, Texas Saves at Tax Time 2011, which outlines best practices to operating a tax-time savings project.