EITC Funds

To help improve efforts to protect, expand and create new state EITCs, the Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce (GIST) and the EITC Funders Network oversee three funds:
  • The EITC Rapid Response Fund (EITC RRF) was established in 2012 and focuses on quick infusions of support to help an existing effort overcome a communications challenge or opportunity.  Awards are made on a rolling basis and range from $15,000-$30,000.
  • The EITC Policy Development Fund (EITC PDF) was established in 2015 and provides multi-year support to state-based policy groups laying the groundwork to develop or improve state EITCs. Awards are made in the early Fall at $75,000 a year for two years.
  • The EITC Campaign Fund (EITC CF) was established in 2017 and focuses on supporting a year-long effort where a window of opportunity to promote or defend a state EITC seems urgent.  Awards are made in the early Fall and range from $30,000-$50,000.

The three funds are guided by an advisory group, supported by three national funders and administered by GIST and the EITC Funders Network in partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Hatcher Group.

Virtual Fund: GIST and the EITC Funders Network support a “virtual fund” structure. That is, we provide a table around which multiple funders can align support for key ideas and grantees. Sometimes these funds are pooled with GIST while other funders work collaboratively but deploy their own funds directly.

Why the EITC: Millions of people are working hard and still struggle to make ends meet. Working families living in poverty need both immediate relief and support that will help increase their children’s chances to move out of poverty in the future.  The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) puts money back into the pockets of working families to help them to reduce the impact of poverty today— so that they are able to buy groceries, pay utility bills, and buy school supplies—and also helps them begin to break the cycle of poverty for future generations by getting additional education and training, better transportation, and saving for their children’s education. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is known as the nation’s largest federal anti-poverty program. In 2013, the EITC lifted about 6.2 million people out of poverty, including about 3.2 million children.

Polling and Message Testing: In 2012, The Fund contracted with a national polling firm (Hart Research) to support new research on EITC messaging through focus groups and national polling. In 2013, The Fund provided technical assistance to Rapid Response Fund awardees to implement this new messaging. Findings from this research are available upon request.

In 2015, The Fund built on these polling and focus group findings by contracting with a messaging firm (Topos Partnership) to explore the set of messages that might shift how people think about the EITC. This research, using deep “talk-back” message testing in several locations across the country, explored how people think about the EITC as a mechanism to reduce poverty and their reactions to messages regarding fraud and abuse of funds and other key message points. See findings from this research here.

Technical Assistance from National Partners: To help shape the work of The Fund and deliver technical assistance to state groups, The Fund also provides support to two national field partners – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and The Hatcher Group. Each year, these national partners work collaboratively to prepare a scan of the state EITC policy field and identify opportunities and challenges that The Fund could work to address. National field partners also provide direct technical assistance to awardees and share learnings with the field.

Evaluation: In 2016, the fund hired two consultants to conduct an evaluation of the RRF and PDF. Evaluation activities include document reviews, awardee surveys and interviews, group data collection at convening(s), funder and leadership team interviews, awardee coaching on data collection, awardee capacity assessments, surveys of a subset of awardees’ peers/partners, funding landscape analysis, and in-depth case studies. The evaluation began in Summer 2016 and will conclude in February 2017. See RRF evaluation outcomes and lessons learned here. PDF evaluation activities are still underway. Findings and lessons learned will be available in early 2018.  


EITC Rapid Response and Policy Development Fund Overview and History