Using the Tax Code to Improve Economic Security — 3-Part Learning and Discussion Series for California Funders

The Tax Equity Funders Network, Northern California Grantmakers, the Asset Funders Network of the Bay Area, and the League of California Community Foundations are hosting a three-part virtual learning and discussion series for California funders on improving economic security, wealth-building opportunities, and equity for low-income Californians through the tax code. This series, sponsored by Blue Shield of California Foundation, is informed by our recent scan of the CA tax credit ecosystem, and responds to California charitable foundations’ interest in learning about and addressing the challenges faced by low-income Californians at tax time and the potential to use tax systems to improve equity.

The purpose of the series is to:

  • Build awareness among California grantmakers of new initiatives, gaps, and opportunities in the tax awareness, outreach, and tax preparation space.
  • Identify areas of potential alignment among California grantmakers.

The potential of charitable foundations in this environment is significant. The tax code is one of the largest tools federal, state, and local governments can use to provide families with economic security and wealth-building opportunities. Yet the IRS estimates that only 75% of eligible households in California claim the federal EITC, and take-up of CalEITC is likely lower. The tax code systematically disadvantages women, people of color, immigrants, and low-income families, and is compounded by the financial impact of filing itself. According to the Tax Policy Center, 54.5% of low-income taxpayers use paid preparers to complete their taxes, which makes affording basic needs even more difficult.

The series will focus on:

  • Session 1 (February 26, 10-11:30 PT) – systems improvements (including direct file, data matching, automatic eligibility) 
  • Session 2 (April 10, 1-2:30 PT) – outreach, engagement, and communications 
  • Session 3 (June 12, 1-2:30 PT) – topic TBD by participants 

Please use this link to register for the series, to answer some brief questions about your work as a funder in the tax equity and access ecosystem, and to gather feedback on topics you’d like to discuss with your funder colleagues.

This program is for funders and philanthropic advisors whose primary activity is grantmaking. Staff from philanthropic networks are also eligible to join.


Sasha FeldsteinPolicy Director, California Immigrant Policy Center

Teri Olle, California Campaign Director, Economic Security Project

Jesse Rothstein, Professor of Public Policy & Economics, Carmel P. Friesen Chair of Public Policy, Faculty Director, California Policy Lab, University of California, Berkeley

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