Helping Other People be Empowered!!!

H.O.P.E, Inc's mission is to serve low-income single parents working to obtain a college degree by providing assistance in subsidized housing, child care assistance, social services, and life skills.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We're Running!!

H.O.P.E. Inc. Joins Peachtree Corners Festival 5K Run on June 8, 2013

By Lisa McGloiry
H.O.P.E. Inc.

H.O.P.E. Inc. is excited to join the Peachtree Corners Festival 5K Run on June 8, 2013 as one of their charity partners!  The event starts promptly at 7:30 a.m. at the Peachtree Elementary School, 5995 Crooked Creek Rd NW, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092.

In an effort to give back to the community, the Peachtree Corners Festival added a special Charity Challenge, giving its community of volunteers, sponsors and participants the opportunity to make donations for the charity of their choice.  Through this effort, the Festival hopes to raise over $25,000 for their charity partners, which includes H.O.P.E. Inc.!

H.O.P.E. Inc. is taking on the challenge by participating in the run this year and we’re asking for more sponsors!  Our goal is to raise $2,500 through this effort! We currently have 13 sponsors and we need more. With less than four weeks until the run, we’re asking for your immediate help. As our organization continues to grow, we are always looking for new events and fun ways to continue our mission: to help serve low-income single parents obtain a college degree.  By helping to provide these individuals with assistance in subsidized housing, child care, social services, and life skills, H.O.P.E. Inc.’s services will help them to finish their education, earn the skills to become employable, join the workforce and become more productive members of our society. 

You can be confident that 100% of any donations made to H.O.P.E. Inc., whether small or large, will go directly to help single parents in need. Your donation is going to a great cause and will go a long way in helping us to reach our $2,500 goal! Won’t you consider making a donation today, or sign up to register for the Peachtree Corners Festival 5K Walk on June 8, 2013 right here on our website!

So please take the time to sign up here on our website and help us reach our goal of $2,500!   Let’s run for the single parents in need of childcare and rent assistance so they can stay in school and create a better life for their families! Please spread the word! Please sign up or donate today! H.O.P.E. Inc. hopes to see you at the Festival on June 8th!

Remember that by supporting H.O.P.E. Inc. you are providing hope and help to single parents earn a college degree!  Please come out and support us!  We’ll have a booth at the Festival and a special “Meet and Greet” session where you have the opportunity to meet with board members, our supporters, sponsors, friends and me. It’s going to be a fun and exciting day as we run for a good cause and help build up our community!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why do I need an emergency fund?

Why do I need an emergency fund?

By Sarah C.

Now that you have a regular budget, consider earmarking money each month for an emergency fund.  This money should be set aside in a savings account that you don’t touch for regular monthly bills.  Instead, it’s there when something unexpected arises – like an unforeseen car repair, or medical bill, or job loss.  Rather than going into debt by using a credit card or loan, your emergency fund allows you to pay for the expense without derailing other financial goals. 


For example, if you charged a $1,000 emergency with a credit card that carries an 11% interest rate, and repaid the minimum payment ($40), it would take six years to pay off the debt, and you would have paid $258 in interest.  That’s six years of paying for yesterday’s problem and not being able to plan for the future.  Not to mention the other things you could have done with the $258.


Ideally, your emergency fund should have enough money to cover 3-6 months of living expenses.  That can be an intimidating number when you’re starting off, especially if you are also paying off debt.  So start with a goal of $1,000.  Then, when your other debts are paid off, work on increasing your emergency fund so it can cover you for a few months just in case.


When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can seem impossible to find extra money to fund an emergency fund.  But that’s when you need it the most, because the impact of any financial set-back – extra debt, higher interest rates, etc. – is amplified in a tight budget.   Knowing you have money available can also reduce personal stress you feel about finances.  Tax refunds are a great way to jump-start an emergency fund, so if you’re expecting money from the IRS this year, pledge to put some aside for emergencies.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tax Time!!

Tax Time

By Sarah C

Now that 2013 is here, it’s time to think about taxes.  Whether you’re getting a refund or not, it’s a good idea to file your return early.  In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent returns filed by identity thieves.  They file tax returns, obtain your refund, and disappear before you (and the IRS) realize someone has already filed a return in your name.   And, even without the concern of identity theft, if you’re getting a big refund, you want that money as soon as possible!  Here’s a quick guide to getting your taxes done early.


First, gather key documents.  You need three types:

1.      Identification documents – social security cards for you and any dependents.

2.      Income documents -W-2s, 1099s (from investments, bank accounts, or social security money received), and any other record of income.

3.      Expense documents – receipts for any expenses that might be tax deductible.  This includes student loan interest, certain child care expenses, mortgage payments, property taxes, qualifying health care expenses*, and charitable contributions.  Your records could be documents sent from the government (for student loan expenses) or cancelled checks, receipts, or other records of payment.   Some of these deductions will probably only apply if you itemize deductions, but you should gather everything just in case.  You will also need records of any contributions to retirement accounts, which can reduce your tax burden.


Second, figure out how you’ll prepare your taxes.  If you’re comfortable doing it yourself with an online program, go for it!  H&R Block offers free filing if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) was less that $57,000 and you are younger than 52.  See their website for info.  The IRS also trains volunteers who will prepare your taxes for free if your AGI is under $51,000.  Search  for “VITA” (tax volunteer program) or call 800-906-9887 for a VITA location near you.


Third, if you are getting a refund, make a plan for the money!  More than 80% of filers get a refund.   Some tax preparers will offer you an “immediate” tax refund, but these carry a very high interest rate, so beware.  The IRS processes refunds quickly and deposits the money directly into your account, so it’s better to wait the 5-7 days for the full amount than take the quick money.


If you are due a refund, it means more money has been withheld from your paycheck than was necessary, and you’re getting it back at tax time.  You may want to change your W-4 withholdings so you get that money throughout the year, rather than as a refund.  However, some people count on this big check to pay down debt, save for emergencies, or otherwise invest.  Identify how you’ll spend the money before it arrives, so it’s used for a purpose and doesn’t just flow through your fingers.  Then, make that money work for you!