We all want our children to thrive. Fundamentally, we want our children to have a warm, safe place to sleep; nourishing, full meals; and relationships that fill them with love and joy. Today, however, more families are experiencing financial stresses that make them have impossible choices between paying rent, putting food in their children’s bellies, and being able to spend quality time with their little ones.
Missing any one of these basic needs makes it incredibly difficult for our children to meet their full potential, also harming our communities’ future. While the complex issues creating these situations can feel impossible to resolve and immobilizing, we can actually find hope in progress made over the past two years.
Over 2 million children were lifted out of poverty across the nation as a result of the 2021 expansion of the Child Tax Credit, according to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This brought improvements for families in the Northland, too.
As a mother of three (ages 16, 10, 8) Michelle DeFoe describes the Child Tax Credit as being extremely helpful for her family living in Duluth. “One of the main things that it really helps our family with is transportation.…That is very important to getting my kids to school, grocery shopping…Healthier foods is one of the things we use [the expanded Child Tax Credit] for.” The credit for children 5 years of age and under was up to $3,600 and up to $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17.
Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation stepped up to ensure families throughout the Northland were able to benefit from this opportunity, particularly families who earn too little to qualify for the typical Child Tax Credit. Reaching families to ensure they knew of their eligibility and were able to access supports to receive the expanded Child Tax Credit through trusted, community-based organizations was a collective effort. Partners included Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA), Community Action Duluth, Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, and Ecolibrium3, as well as DanSan Creatives.
Over $2,486,000 in federal tax refunds were generated throughout the region for over 1,800 households, as a result. A $50,000 matching grant from EITC Funders Network, generous support from Steven Goldfine and investment from DSACF made these efforts possible. The return on investment goes far beyond the 25x monetary value when we consider impact on children’s lives and our communities’ future.
These financial supports help our children thrive. As DeFoe explained, “It’s important for our family to just kind of get by and improve our everyday living….Any extra that we can put back into American families will not be a wasted resource.”
For videos on the impacts of the Expanded Child Tax Credit, please visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLk0DBwxisHbJkYr8YsIZFPeyBEPruKxu0.