On April 11, the Lewiston-Auburn CA$H Coalition recognized its volunteers for serving 1,595 residents of the L-A area during the 2012 tax season. IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, CA$H coaches, greeters and tax prep appointment schedulers were lauded for their assistance to low- to moderate-income families within the Lewiston-Auburn area.
The L-A CA$H Coalition’s assistance in 2012 resulted in $2,162,000 in Federal and $436,000 in State refunds claimed. Taxes were prepared free of charge at Lewiston’s Multi-Purpose Center and Auburn City Hall from January 21 to March 31. From its inception in 2004, the Coalition has facilitated the claiming of over $15 million in refunds, providing a boost to household budgets and positively impacting the local economy.
Community partners who comprise the Coalition also promote the Earned Income Tax Credit, a Federal credit for low- to moderate-income workers that’s often referred to as the nation’s largest anti-poverty initiative. In addition, Coalition members provide asset-building information to interested individuals on topics including as savings accounts, budgeting classes, home ownership, debt management, business start-up, individual/family development accounts, etc.
Speakers for the evening included Lewiston Mayor Robert E. Macdonald, who praised the volunteers for their “wonderful example of civic engagement.” Lewiston Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau touted the fact that, year after year, L-A CA$H is the stand-out coalition of 10 that exist statewide.
Mark Millar, Division Director for Casey Family Services, praised the effective outreach and follow through of the Coalition, and IRS representative Tess Armstrong summed up the remarks by commending the Coalition for consistently striving to assist area families.
Lewiston’s Community Relations Coordinator/Coalition Co-Chair Dottie Perham-Whittier delivered a PowerPoint presentation that gave an overview of the Coalition’s outreach and successes during the 2012 tax season. She stressed that the Coalition advocates self-sufficiency and financial stability and that the Coalition was used a resource this tax season by 267 individuals who requested information to enhance their financial situations.
Site Coordinator KC Geiger and Head Start Training Coordinator/Coalition Co-Chair Chris Adler presented certificates to the following volunteers for their service during the 2012 tax season: Richard Beaulieu, Nancy Bisson, Cheryl Black, Paul Blanchard, Lisa Bolen, Ronald Bunker, Bob Cavanagh, Roland Danico, Melody Fish, Yolande Gay, Judy Gervais, Gerry Langelier, Monica Lee, Frances Lodge, Lou MacDonald, Paul Maheux, Claudette Martel, Gerry Martel, Andy Michaud, Dick Moore, Carole Ressler, Marge Schwietering, Matt Sullivan, Janet Sullivan, Antoine Tolton, Sue Tymoczko, Bob Wailus, Arias Wan, Bryan Thomas, Jill Lorom, Jaimie Gutshall, Jennifer Allen, Libby Bernier-Michaud and Laurie McDonnell.
The top volunteer preparer for the 2012 tax season—preparing 199 returns—was Lou MacDonald.
AARP District Director Frances Lodge praised the positive relationship between CA$H volunteer tax preparers and AARP volunteer tax preparers, calling the coordination between the two groups “seamless.” When AARP’s completed tax returns were added to the Coalition’s, well over 2,000 returns were prepared locally, free of charge, during the 2012 tax season. Lodge also praised the efforts of Site Coordinator KC Geiger.
The CA$H Coalition is currently funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Key Bank, and a statewide VITA grant. Coalition partners are the City of Lewiston, City of Auburn, Internal Revenue Service, Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Androscoggin County, Androscoggin Head Start and Child Care, Women, Work, and Community, Key Bank, Pine Tree Legal, Money Management International, Casey Family Services, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Lewiston Adult Education, Lewiston Housing Authority, Auburn Housing Authority, Maine Migrant Workers, AARP Tax Aide Program, United Somali Women of Maine, Volunteers of America, HUD and retired seniors.