New Conversations, New Collaborations and New Innovations
By: Michael R. Roush, MA, National Program Director, Real Economic Impact Tour, National Disability Institute
Contributors: Elizabeth Jennings, Judy Stengel, and Dr. Johnette Hartnett, Real Economic Impact Tour, National Disability Institute
In 2004, a conversation began with the Internal Revenue Service and the National Disability Institute and together in 2005 we began visits to 11 cities in what was then called the TaxFACTS Campaign. From that conversation, the Real Economic Impact Tour was formed and for the past five years, that conversation has grown to include 100 cities throughout the United States. The mission of the Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) is devoted to building a better economic future for millions of low-income individuals with disabilities and their families nationwide. The REI Tour is also dedicated to the development of a roadmap out of poverty and to capture the power of collaboration and innovation. Goals for the 2009-2010 Real Economic Impact Tour include: 1) expanding EITC outreach and access to free tax-preparation assistance to EITC income-eligible taxpayers with disabilities, 2) increasing accessibility of current tax sites, 3) identifying asset building opportunities that support taxpayers with disabilities and 4) creating/supporting/building a sustainable disability workgroup within existing tax coalitions.
The Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) Mayor’s Leadership Academy was held in December of 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida to kick-off the 2010 season of the Tour and to highlight the goals. The Leadership Academy was attended by over 50 REI Tour cities and included federal, state, local and corporate partners that allowed an opportunity for the attendees to network, share best practices, and to identify new activities to implement in the 2010 tax season. Since the Leadership Academy, the REI Tour team has been traveling throughout the United States to witness first-hand the amazing work that local partners are doing within their communities to increase outreach on VITA services and EITC awareness to the disability community. “We are awestruck by the amazing work that is taking place and how the conversation that started in 2004 continues to grow and strengthen the REI Tour mission to capture the power of collaboration and innovation,” stated Dr. Johnette Hartnett, Director of the Real Economic Impact Tour. The following is a sample of collaboration and innovation at its best: To continue reading, please visit: http://www.wid.org/programs/access-to-assets/equity/equity-e-newsletter-april-2010/feature