Center for Economic Progress

This morning I volunteered at the Center for Economic Progress. The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps hard-working, low-income families move from financial uncertainty to financial security. For over 21 years the CEP has provided free, professional tax preparation for low wage families and individuals. They also offer tax training to small businesses to establish sound business practices, build their knowledge of record keeping and self-employment tax laws.

The Center for Economic Progress was founded in 1990 by Michael O’Connor, a veteran public benefits lawyer. Formerly the Center for Law and Human Services, the agency first focused on helping homeless families and individuals access services. They operate volunteer-driven tax sites in 25 Illinois communities – making CEP’s free tax prep program one of the largest and oldest statewide programs of its kind.

The CEP is one the organizations that I really wanted to volunteer for this year. I first heard of them 15 years ago when a co-worker sent an email to everyone in the office asking for volunteers. In February I signed up online and tracked their volunteer newsletter for opportunities that fit my availability. Earlier this week I reached out to Nina Limbeck, the new volunteer services specialist, see if I could get in before my birthday next month. She got right back to me and set up a time for today.

My activities today included data entry & collating volunteering promotional material. It was easy completing the data entry work and Nina found more I could do for them. I really appreciate the work the CEP does and look forward to supporting their volunteer recruitment.

Do More Than Make It Through the Winter – Make A Difference!

Like many non-profit organizations the CEP relies on volunteers to achieve their mission. In 2011 more than 1000 volunteers in 25 Illinois communities completed 28,134 tax returns. They are currently recruiting volunteers to work one-on-one with low income families to help them move toward financial security. No experience is necessary and you can choose a position to fit your current skills or learn something new. All trainings are provided and you only need to commit to 20 hours of volunteering between January & April 2012. Register to volunteer, view training schedules and find a site near you at

This was number 44, and now six to go.