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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Financial Counseling

Mission: The center for economic progress (cep) helps low-income working families as a trusted provider of tax and financial services. Everything we do, from direct service to informing public policy, improves the financial stability of those we serve.

Programs: Tax servicesoperating one of the largest and oldest statewide volunteer income tax assistance (vita) programs of its kind, cep provides low-income families with free, high quality tax preparation and an alternative to paid tax preparers.

tax cliniccep provides free, professional representation to low-income taxpayers facing an irs controversy. Through its year-round tax clinic, cep also offers education and outreach on the earned income tax credit (eitc), taxpayer rights and responsibilities, innocent spouse claims, worker classification, and collection alternatives.

financial capabilitycep provides year-round workshops, coordinates a tax-time savings campaign, and offers one-on-one financial coaching to help clients set financial goals, create a spending plan, access safe and affordable bank products like bank accounts, review and correct credit reports, and improve credit scores.

other programsin 2013 cep was awarded a grant from the illinois department of public health to provide outreach and enrollment assistance as a participant in the affordable care act (aca) in-person counselor program. Cep embedded enrollment activities into its core program services, and worked to maximize health insurance coverage among our clients and promote improved health outcomes and reduced financial stress and risk.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I been volunteering with CEP for their free tax sites around Chicagoland. Their service, training to volunteers and helping low income families to get their taxes done are awesome.

Review from CharityNavigator

Nina3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Center for Economic Progress is fabulous! The staff is dedicated to their mission and is thoughtful, respectful and conscientious toward one another, the volunteers and most importantly the clients that receive their services. I learned how to prepare taxes, a skill I thought I’d never learn. I would highly encourage anyone to volunteer; no tax experience is necessary!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CEP's tax project is a great program that helps low income families get tax assistance - it's an extremely rewarding volunteer experience in that you can see the impact that your time has on the families that you're working with. The folks running the program believe in their mission and are passionate about their roles. As a whole, clients are very appreciative of the service and are a pleasure to work with. The other volunteers and staff are incredible and strive to make sure every volunteer has a positive experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great volunteer experience. I was trained in very little time to be proficient in tax software and knowledge of tax refunds and deductions, as a hither fore tax-illiterate person myself. Not only did I feel empowered to help others get money back that they needed, but I also felt far more tax literate myself. It's a great project to be a part of.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i'm a volunteer here. We help individuals and families who work hard and have low income. It's my pleasure to work for them. And the CEP provide almost everything they can to help those people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Center for Economic Progress provides real solutions to helping families achieve financial security through both their tax clinics and opportunities to promote financial literacy. The organization gives opportunities for volunteers to get involved and really make a difference through direct interaction and tax prep in the communities they serve. The staff is passionate and works hard to provide a meaningful experience for all involved in the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From my experience with CEP, I've encountered some of the most passionate, driven people in any industry. The organization has such tangible and effective impact that rivals few. They understand the importance of keeping track of their efforts so that they can properly communicate their message to the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I learned so much volunteering as a tax preparer, and it was a really great experience to talk with clients and help them directly. I would recommend the volunteer experience to others that are interested in making an impact.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To know this organization is to rate it five stars. The dedication of the poeple who make the Center the successful is due to sharing the vision and the staff truly cares.

CEP provides services and information that community members otherwise could miss like opportunitiies banking, savings accounts and money management.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I love that this organization puts money back into the hands of low income families. Preparing income taxes for these families gives me tremendous satisfaction, and a greater insight into the lives of those who live in poverty. Knowing that I am saving these families hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars is a great feeling. The organization provides good training and solid backup while on site. I find that I miss doing tax returns after the tax season ends...something I never thought I would say!

Review from Guidestar