I don’t know how my mom raised three kids by herself and earned her college degree at the same time. Even with two jobs, my mom struggled to manage on such a tight budget — especially when her child support payments didn’t show up. She didn’t have a lot of time for financial planning and she could have used some help. As an adult, I love to see nonprofit organizations working to help women get by and even get ahead.
Navigating tax forms can be overwhelming. Luckily, organizations across the state want to help women with taxes and other financial planning. The Triangle’s Compass Center for Women and Families provides financial literacy education, career exploration and preparedness, legal information, and domestic violence crisis services in Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake counties. Ann Gerhardt, executive director at Compass Center, says, “Last year, we assisted more than 1,000 individuals through our self-sufficiency programs.” Many times, women who come in seeking help are in need of a number of different services. For example, domestic violence victims often need assistance with planning their personal financial self-sufficiency as well.
The cost of legal services too often discourages women from getting help. Legal Aid of North Carolina provides free legal representation to eligible clients in all 100 counties in North Carolina. Seventy-five percent of Legal Aid clients are women. Staff and volunteer attorneys help clients take action against domestic violence and avoid mortgage foreclosures. They also serve as advocates for children in the public school system. “We break through the barriers that keep people priced out of the justice system and stuck in poverty,” said George Hausen, LANC executive director.
WHO PAYS FOR THESE SERVICES?
Nonprofit organizations receive money from the state budget (your tax dollars), along with other grants and donations from people who support their work. They rely on that money to build their own budgets, serving as many clients as funding allows. When budget cuts cause shortfalls, these nonprofits have to spend more time fundraising and less time serving clients. They’re thankful for the state and local support they get and they work hard to stretch resources as far as they’ll go.
At the end of the day, our elected representatives ultimately decide how tax dollars get spent. North Carolina’s primary elections will take place on Tuesday, May 6th. Women make up 54% of voters in our state, but those numbers only have impact if we cast our ballots. Sign this Vote Together 2014 pledge card and share it with as many NC women as you can. You’ll receive voting reminders and other helpful information about navigating the voting process in 2014.