Santander Bank recently awarded a $300,000 grant to the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) to support the Boston Tax Help Coalition (BTHC). This funding is supporting our tax program by paying for tax trainers and site coordinators, credit building and credit reports, ASL interpreters for work with the Deaf community, and subway advertising in neighborhoods where there is great need for free tax preparation. It is also supporting a relatively new initiative, Bank On Boston, which is a national program that identifies non-predatory accounts for low income residents so as to engender trust in financial institutions for those who may lack experience or had bad experiences in the past.
For 19 years, Boston residents have benefited from free tax preparation which allows them to save several hundred dollars which would otherwise go to paid prepares. Over the years, the BTHC has added asset building opportunities that benefit taxpayers and assist them in reaching their long term financial goals, such as the Financial Check-Up (FCU), a light touch credit building intervention. Last year, the BTHC prepared nearly 13,000 tax returns, as well as providing the FCU service to 4,149 taxpayers. Of these participants, 2,339 received a full FCU with a credit report analysis while all were offered free financial coaching at the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment. Participants surveyed report that increasing knowledge of their credit enables them to better able to manage personal finances.
Santander is also a Bank On Boston supporter. For several years they have been opening starter accounts for residents at our free tax preparation site at Dorchester House. In the current tax season they will open accounts and help to provide banking opportunities to taxpayers who are in need of banking access.
Santander is a longtime partner of the Boston Tax Help Coalition and the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment. It has been engaged in building strong families and neighborhoods for many years in conjunction with our work. We celebrate our partnership with them.