CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (1/24/11)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has awarded the University of Virginia Community CU an Innovation Grant of $8,000 to expand the credit union’s role in supporting the earned income tax credit (EITC) in its community. The credit union was one of 11 credit unions across the nation to receive an Innovation Grant from the NCUF. “One of our primary goals as a credit union is to improve the financial well-being of the people who live in the communities we serve,” said Alison DeTuncq, credit union president/CEO. “These days, with household budgets tight, we know that the earned income tax credit can make a real difference. The grant from the NCUF will help us reach more people.” This is the second time that the credit union has been recognized for supporting greater access to the EITC. In 2009, it won first place in the Virginia competition for the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award for ensuring that more eligible taxpayers in the Greater Charlottesville Region received their maximum EITC benefits. The award is sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association. As part of the Thomas Jefferson Area EITC Coalition, the credit union co-hosted luncheons and training sessions to involve employers and developed an EITC toolkit that organizations can use to increase awareness of the EITC among their employees and patrons. In 2009, the credit union’s three UVA Community CU branches were designated Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites and credit union employees were trained to provide free basis preparation services for individuals. One of their responsibilities was to determine if their clients were eligible for the EITC, which can amount to more than $5,600. The credit union will use the Innovation Grant to add two branches to its VITA network, said Rebecca Cardwell, UVA Community CU director of community relations. “In the process of helping workers retain more of their income, the coalition’s efforts are also aiming to create an economic stimulus of more than $1.5 million for our community,” Cardwell said.