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Implementing the Earned Income Tax Credit at AccountAbility Minnesota

Jodi Sandfort (University of Minnesota)

May 2011


This teaching case highlights the leadership and management of a small nonprofit organization, AccountAbility Minnesota, grappling with an emerging problem of economic injustice.  It describes the expansion of a significant federal policy focused on rewarding work among low-income families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) grew substantially throughout the 1980s and 1990s, becoming the most significant anti-poverty policy of the federal government.  While AccountAbility Minnesota was established in the early 1970s to provide free accounting services to low-income people, the agency had not grown substantially to respond to its changing environment until a new executive director was hired in 2002. The case opens three years later, with the Executive Director considering new information about increasing reports of predatory financial products targeted at the very customers served by the organization. She must decide how to respond to this growing problem, given her small organization, the risks involved, and limited investment capital.   

Winner of the Snow Foundation Award for Best Case or Simulation in Collaborative Nonprofit Management.  

400 Eggers Hall