A weekly newsletter highlighting the NeighborWorks network
NeighborWorks Works - a weekly newsletter highlighting the NeighborWorks network
It's tax refund season: a perfect time for financial education
Green circle with white text that reads: 70% of U.S. tax filers received tax refunds in 2017
The April 17 income tax filing deadline is just a week away. By this point, most people have done their taxes, while others are waiting until the last possible moment to file. Understandably, a person's level of enthusiasm for completing his or her taxes may have something to do with whether or not a refund is expected. Most taxpayers, however, will receive money back from Uncle Sam. The Internal Revenue Service reports that 70 percent of the more than 150 million tax filers received tax refunds in 2017, with an average payment of $2,895. The agency expects similar results this year.
But most people aren't rushing to book a vacation or splurge on a new trinket or toy with their newfound funds. According to this year's annual tax return survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 49 percent of respondents plan to put their return into savings. Thirty-five percent will pay down debt, and 22 percent plan to pay everyday expenses.

Whether trying to invest for the future, save for a home or pay down debt, tax refunds can provide a boost in helping low- and moderate-income residents reach their financial goals. NeighborWorks America and its national network of members offer financial capability training, tools and other resources to help people in communities throughout the United States make informed decisions about their money.
Making the most of your tax refund
A group of adults and children stand in a square room, examining brochures
Around this time, many people receive the biggest chunk of money they will see all year—their income tax return. Saving just a portion of the refund can help people handle unexpected expenses or reach their financial goals.

Providence, Rhode Island-based NeighborWorks member, ONE Neighborhood Builders, offers individual financial coaching and a free electronic tax filing program. The high demand for these services was one of the reasons the organization recently opened its Elmwood Financial Center.
Getting your house in order: financial literacy by community design
Black men and women hold up their certificates for completing a financial literacy class
Several years ago, the Portland Housing Center in Oregon saw a 50 percent drop in the proportion of African Americans using its homebuying services compared to other demographics. The organization needed to find a way to bridge the gap with that group.
Interview with Megan Sandel: The secrets to hospital-housing partnerships
An elderly black woman holds up a plate piled with food
A news release late last year carried this headline: "Boston Medical Center is investing $6.5 million over five years to support a wide range of affordable housing initiatives."

That's music to the ears of any community development professional. Here, we tell how the deal came together and what others can learn.
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