Mission and Vision
The Arizona Assets Alliance is a state-wide collaboration supporting the economic empowerment of Arizona’s working families through collaboration, education and advocacy. Therefore, the Arizona Assets Alliance is dedicated to expanding the number of individuals and families participating in the Earned Income Tax Credit, financial education, Individual Development Accounts and other programs aimed at supporting persons with low to moderate income to accumulate assets.
The Arizona Assets Alliance, formerly known as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Task Force was instituted in 2003 by Governor Janet Napolitano in an effort to help Arizona families get access to free tax preparation services, promote and educate individuals on tax credits they may be eligible for, and support organizations spearheading these efforts. Specifically, the Task Force was established to provide statewide leadership in promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable credit worth an average of $1,800 per household. Approximately 20% of Arizona’s families do not claim the credit each year, leaving millions of dollars in tax refunds on the table.
The Task Force made great strides in supporting working families to access EITC and free tax preparation. In the 2007-2008 tax year alone, Arizonan’s saved a total of $23,736,600 in tax preparation fees. Since 2003:
- The number of tax returns prepared at free tax preparation sites has increased from 20,000 to 75,000, a 289% increase.
- The average refund has increased 48% from $994 to $1,468.
- The total refund amount to Arizona taxpayers has increased from $7,000,000 to $16,000, 000 equating to an increase of 123%.
In 2009, the EITC Task Force transitioned into the Arizona Assets Alliance in an effort to re-envision the purpose and direction of the Task Force collaboration. Prior to the initiation of the transition, it became apparent there were other critical components to the personal financial wellbeing of Arizonans outside of the EITC credit. Providing access to public and private benefits, raising consumer financial education and savings levels, growing individual development accounts and being strong advocates for fair consumer products are some of the other critical components and proposed initiatives for the newly formed Arizona Assets Alliance. In 2010, the Arizona Assets Alliance officially organized and the Arizona Community Action Association is serving the Alliance in the role of an Administrative Support Agency.
The Arizona Assets Alliance is currently focused on four distinct initiatives to collectively serve Arizona’s working families and the individuals that support them in the transition to financial independence.
- Creating a seamless and coordinated supportive network that works together to advance the goal of increasing assets for working families
- Identifying statewide needs of working families, increasing public and political awareness of those needs, advocating on their behalf
- Cultivating, leveraging and distributing new funding sources to expand statewide asset building efforts
- Providing access to professional development training opportunities for partner entities including information sharing activities pertaining to best practices
The Arizona Assets Alliance is looking for public and private entity partners committed to formally participate in the statewide collaborative who are committed to increasing financial stability and asset development for Arizona’s working families. Benefits of Alliance membership include direct access to:
- Industry Updates: receive industry news alerts, as well as information on upcoming professional and organizational development opportunities including conferences, trainings, and funding opportunities.
- Policy Updates: stay connected with the latest Action Alerts, policy information and legislative strategies that are impacting asset-building initiatives in your community. These updates include ways to get involved in advocating for these important issues.
- Training and Technical Assistance: Support offered to organizations and institutions interested in starting or expanding asset-building activities (i.e. individual development account programs, community tax centers, financial education, small dollar consumer loan products, etc.) in their communities
- Strengthening the Asset Building Movement in Arizona: By becoming an active member of the Arizona Assets Alliance you are supporting our work and helping to expand our network to reach working families throughout the state.
Alliance meetings are held on a quarterly basis both in person and telephonically to ensure participation from Members outside of the Phoenix-Metro area. Core activity workgroups meet in between quarterly meetings to work on Alliance initiatives.