Today in Silicon Valley, a single parent caring for two children must make $30 an hour to cover the most basic living expenses. This fact helps illustrate how one-third of California households currently have no savings. On the financial brink, these families live in fear they could lose their paycheck if they have to take time off to care for a sick child or parent, or if their car breaks down. It is stressful and the majority of Californians living under these conditions are women and children. For 20 years, Opportunity Fund has provided innovative solutions to tackle this enduring problem to help families build stronger financial futures.
For many low-income families, there's one time of year day each year they have any when there is "extra" cash on hand - tax time. is the day they file their taxes. Many of our clients earn a refund, so Opportunity Fund's staff have been on the front lines in the community for the past few months, encouraging low-income people in the Bay Area to put their tax refund into an Opportunity Fund microsavings account. Those efforts culminated earlier this week (Tax Day!). The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to low-income families, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. For weeks, we've been camped out at the VITA sites, helping people learn how to use that money to start saving.
By depositing their refund into an Opportunity Fund savings account, they begin to save for the future. Every $1 saved is matched by $2 from our community of donors - everyday people like you who believe in giving a boost to enterprising Californians. This translates into a student like Chris having enough money to focus on his studies at San Jose City College in order to transfer to Cal State Long Beach.
A savings account opens the door to college and financial stability. Opportunity Fund leads the nation in microsavings. In the past 20 years we have helped 4,600 Californians living on the financial brink to invest $16.2 million in savings. Most importantly, we have educated families by giving them options and incentives to start building toward a brighter future. Using their tax refund to save is a great way to start.