Our mission and impact
We empower people with the greatest need to obtain financial security.
Creating Assets Savings and Hope (CASH) is a community coalition of over 40 organizations, working together to improve life for low-income working families in Monroe County.
Families file tax returns
Total tax refunds
Total EITC benefits to working families
Learn more about our impact
Hear from our clients
“The Department of Social Services told me I owed $42,000 when I sold my home. After getting help from CASH, we decreased the amount to $20,000. The volunteers at CASH were a huge help.”
—Laurie, mother and homeowner
How we work
CASH offers two major programs, along with a variety of additional resources for our clients.
Free tax preparation (VITA)
(Also known as the Volunteer Low Income Tax Assistance program or VITA.)
CASH offers free tax return preparation services to low income workers including those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] to ensure they collectall credits for which they are eligible. By providing this service, CASH helps low-income workers avoid expensive paid preparer fees which can amount to hundreds of dollars. Clients are also protected from paid preparers who encourage clients to purchase expensive financial products, and predators who engage in theft of refunds and identities.
CASH uses the “tax return moment” as an opportunity to connect clients with a wide variety of resources that can improve families’ financial wellbeing, such as on site opening of ESL savings and prepaid card accounts, savings programs, health care, financial literacy, public benefits, and job counseling services.
CASH collaborates with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester to offer the Coach Program. With the help of trained volunteer coaches, the program provides confidential one-on-one and group financial coaching to help participants reach financial goals.
Topics include setting financial goals, managing debt and credit, budgeting, and more.
CASH operations two types of sites:
- Super Site: Includes volunteers and staff, open 7 days a week, 8-10 hours per day serving 10,000 clients
- Agency partner sites: Includes volunteers and staff, open 7 days a week, 8-10 hours per day serving 10,000 clients
CASH has operated VITA sites within Monroe County since 2003. Before CASH, more than a dozen organizations acted independently to produce approximately 1,000 tax returns.
In 2002, the United Way of Greater Rochester brought these organizations together and CASH was created. Since 2003, CASH volunteers have prepared more 155,000 returns returning $253M in total tax refunds; $122M of those refunds include EITC benefits. We have saved low income families over $38M in tax preparation filing fees and opened over 4,900 bank/prepaid card accounts and encouraged families to save $325,000.
CASH serves approximately 25% of Monroe County’s EITC claimants and 6% of taxpayers with an income of less than $50,000. The County’s low-income households are concentrated in the City of Rochester, where more than 30% of residents have income below the poverty level.
Since 2004, CASH has partnered with local banks and credit unions to open bank accounts on site. CASH began offering clients the option of opening a prepaid card account in 2009. The impact on the direct deposit rate was significant, rising from 59% in 2008 to 81% in 2016. CASH also participates in a national tax time savings incentive program – SaveYourRefund.
Anyone who saved at least $50 was eligible to participate in a weekly prize drawing. More than 180 CASH clients entered the promotion, and 10 were selected as $100 winners and one was a grand prize finalist and received $500.