Program Areas | Family Economic Supports

Annie E. Casey Foundation, National Tax Assistance for Working Families Campaign:
Creation of a Data-Collection
System and Data Analysis

Helping families emerge from poverty by building income and assets is the goal of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Family Economic Success Initiative. The initiative's centerpiece is National Tax Assistance for Working Families—a program to help low-income working people claim tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), to which they are entitled. In 2008, 41 campaigns—including a dozen Casey-run campaigns and others operated by affiliates—worked with numerous tax-preparation sites around the country to prepare hundreds of thousands of tax returns. So far, they have yielded $142 million in EITC payments and more than $350 million in total refunds.

The Casey Foundation asked Metis Associates to devise a data-collection system that would measure not only how much money people were saving on taxes, but the program's reach and impact on the community. Metis developed an automated system that enables all of the local sites to send their data to Metis for aggregation and analysis using a "one-touch" system. A significant challenge posed by IRS rules was to manage this extensive information without using participants' names or Social Security numbers. Metis helps individual sites to develop reports for themselves by customizing software applications for them.