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United Way’s RealSense shares encouraging results in new report

March 2, 2018

By Diandra Thompson

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United Way of Northeast Florida’s RealSense, a nationally recognized financial stability initiative designed to save families money and promote responsible fiscal habits, shared encouraging results in a 2014-17 report. From free tax assistance to year-round financial education workshops, an estimated 245 dedicated volunteers helped more than 60,000 individuals and families find the path to prosperity.

Check out some highlights from the report:

Tax Assistance Outcomes

  • Over 63,000 tax returns prepared at no cost by RealSense and its partners
  • A total of $80 million in tax refunds received by taxpayers at more than 60 RealSense and partner tax site locations
  • By utilizing RealSense’s free services, taxpayers saved an estimated $14 million
  • EITC refunds received by taxpayers totaled over $22 million

Financial Education Outcomes

  • Over 3,000 individuals participated in RealSense’s financial workshops
    • Of workshop participants:
      • Having a checking account increased 57 percent to 80 percent
      • Having a savings account increased 55 percent to 77 percent
      • Expressed confidence in their ability to manage their finances on their own increased from 35 percent to 56 percent
      • Created a written family budget increased from 32 percent to 67 percent
      • Indicated their total debt had decreased increased from 17 percent to 35 percent
      • Used a check cashing service decreased from 25 percent to 6 percent

This success would not be possible without the support of generous donors and volunteers. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help build a stronger Northeast Florida as a RealSense volunteer or learn more about the financial services offered through RealSense visit unitedwaynefl.org/realsense.