Non-Profit Doorways to Dreams Fund Sponsors Unique Promotion Helping American Tax Filers Save Small to Win Big
AUSTIN, Texas, May 2, 2014 – A single mom in Texas who works two jobs was awarded a $25,000 Grand Prize by the non-profit Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D). The prize was part of an innovative savings challenge called SaveYourRefund that encouraged taxpayers around the country to save at least $50 of their tax refund for a chance to win cash prizes.
For SaveYourRefund Grand Prize Winner Sharon Jones, this money is not just a reward for saving during tax season, it’s a foundation for a new life. “This Grand Prize will help me grow and help with what I visualize for myself and my family – a solid foundation for education and a solid foundation for home,” she said.
Jones is going back to school to get her bachelor’s degree in the fall and, with the help of Habitat for Humanity, has spent the last few months building a new house for her family. “This money will help me pay for my tuition and transition into my house,” she said.
Why SaveYourRefund Works
Lack of savings is a widespread, growing and persistent crisis in America. Adding to the problem is the fact that low-income households spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes on lottery tickets.
“We aim to give entrants the same sense of excitement that buying a lottery ticket does: a shot at the jackpot,” said Tim Flacke, Executive Director of D2D. “The opportunity to win can be a powerful motivator for people to save. Even for those tax filers who didn’t take home a prize, by participating in SaveYourRefund they have already won by taking a positive step towards saving for their families’ future,” he said.
The promotion was free to enter and open to any tax filer who used IRS Form 8888 to save at least $50 of their tax refund. This year, more than 2800 people entered and saved a total of $2.6 million. In addition to Sharon Jones, 100 participants won weekly $100 prizes.
A Broad Coalition of Support for Savings
SaveYourRefund was supported this year by a broad coalition of public, private, national and local partners.
Congressman Rubén Hinojosa is Co-Chair of the Congressional Financial Literacy Caucus, and served as Co-Chair of the SaveYourRefund campaign this year.
“Setting aside money for the future is a key and necessary component to achieving the American dream,” he observed. “Many Americans don’t realize that tax time is their key moment to save. Up to 80% of Americans receive a tax refund, and for many people, that money is about 20% of what they will earn all year.”
SaveYourRefund is sponsored and funded by Intuit Inc, CapitalOne Investing for Good, The Ford Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“We are so proud to be participating in this innovative opportunity that encourages people to save more of their hard-earned money,” said Susan Mason, Director of the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation. “At Intuit, we are focused on empowering individuals to make sound financial decisions. Partnering with programs like SaveYourRefund provides even more tools to help people with these decisions, specifically around maximizing their refund and setting aside dollars for a rainy day.”
“SaveYourRefund adds the excitement of winning to the less exciting practice of saving, which is absolutely essential to helping low-income individuals and families get on a path to financial stability,” said Beadsie Woo, a senior associate and economist at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “This contest is one of many ways we hope to encourage people to develop the habit of saving even just a little bit of their income,” she added.
“We know from both research and experience that families at all income levels want to save, and that tax time can be a great opportunity to set aside savings,” said Amy Brown, Program Officer at the Ford Foundation. “But we also know that when budgets are tight, it can be hard to put savings goals into practice. SaveYourRefund is designed to get people over the hump, helping them to achieve their savings goals. The Ford Foundation has been proud to partner with D2D on a variety of initiatives that support economic opportunity while recognizing the challenges that families face.”
About Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund
The Boston-based Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund is a national non-profit financial innovation lab working to improve the economic well-being of millions of financially vulnerable American families. For more information, visit http://www.d2dfund.org.
About IRS Form 8888
IRS Form 8888 allows tax filers to split their refunds so that they can easily and directly allocate a portion of their refund in a savings product. Beginning in 2010, using the same form, refund recipients could request that a part of their refund be issued in inflation-protected U.S. Savings Bonds purchased either for themselves or for others (including children).