United Way Becomes Community Lead for the VITA Program

Effective July 1, 2013, the Atlanta Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will become one of the supports offered by United Way of Greater Atlanta as part of the organization’s income division, one of four focus areas.   

Managed locally since 2007 by the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign (APC), a project of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB), VITA offers free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income families, helping them avoid costly income tax preparation fees, and helps to ensure that those who are eligible receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and other available tax credits.  Under the leadership of the APC, VITA has expanded its reach in metro Atlanta, managing more than 40 sites in 12 counties, and preparing over 72,000 tax returns with an economic impact of $168,000,000 in the metro region.  

The transition of the Atlanta VITA program from the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign to United Way of Greater Atlanta will take a few months. During the transition period of July 1-October, 31, VITA clients who need assistance should continue to visit the APC web site at www.atlantaprosperity.org for information on how to get help.  After October 31, VITA clients should visit www.unitedwayatlanta.org

Milton Little Jr., president of United Way of Greater Atlanta, said, “The Food Bank’s Atlanta Prosperity Campaign has managed the VITA program for the past six years, and they’ve done a tremendous job.  Not only have they significantly increased the number of low- to moderate-income taxpayers utilizing the free tax program, but equally important, the dollars being returned to the community have doubled.  People have reaped great benefit from the service, and that’s the primary goal.”

ACFB, in operation for 34 years, was founded to help manage the issue of hunger in metro Atlanta by providing food to nonprofit partner agencies (food pantries, community kitchens, shelters, and more) that feed Georgians who suffer from food insecurity.  The Atlanta Prosperity Campaign was created as an initiative of the Atlanta Community Food Bank to connect working families and individuals to money-saving programs and economic supports which will help them build and save for a brighter financial future.  The APC will continue this work through benefit screenings and other opportunities.

Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of ACFB, said, “The Food Bank began working with the IRS  during a critical period for VITA, but now—with our distribution of food and grocery products increasing to more than 40 million pounds a year—we need to focus on our primary mission of feeding people.” Bolling added, “We have every confidence that United Way has the skills and network to expand this program even further and will meet the needs of an ever greater number of working families.  United Way has been a supporter of VITA from the beginning, so for us, this is a perfect solution to continue the success of the program.”