Wellness Wednesday: Extension Grant Seeks to Expand Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
AAFCS is excited to introduce one of our 2018 award recipients this week, Joan Koonce, CPFFE, Professor & Financial Planning Specialist, University of Georgia (UGA) Extension, whose background and professional interests align directly with our FCSfit Year Two theme, Financial & Resource Well-being.
Leading a team of 19, Joan is the project leader for, Improving Household Finances of Rural Households through Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), chosen to receive the Excellence in Extension Grant of $5,000 from AAFCS.
About the Project:
Household finance in the rural South is incredibly dynamic with the highest rates of poverty and the highest number of persistently poor counties in the country. However, rural communities face increasing challenges in recruiting and retaining the diverse human capital needed to facilitate community financial literacy and collaborative/supportive institutional networks. The proposed project seeks to use virtual technology to expand an existing Virtual VITA program in Georgia, with these objectives:
- Provide free tax preparation and e-file services to rural communities;
- Save taxpayers money by not having to pay for tax preparation services and refund anticipation loan fees;
- Encourage taxpayers to save a portion of their refunds; and
- Provide tax and other financial information and resources to taxpayers.
Working with UGA undergraduate students and graduate students in the financial planning program and teaching and research faculty, Extension faculty will implement the Virtual VITA project, pilot-tested during the 2017 tax season.
As a financial planning specialist with UGA Extension, Joan conducts professional development trainings and provides support for local Extension agents in the areas of risk management and insurance, savings and investments, taxes, retirement, and estate planning. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University with a major in Consumer Economics and a minor in Business Finance. She is an Accredited Financial Counselor, Certified Personal and Family Finance Educator and also completed the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Professional Education Program and is the co-founder of UGA’s CFP® program.
We hope you join us at the upcoming 109th Annual Conference & Expo, where Joan will be presented with this award at the Awards Dinner on June 26!