Alaska USA Foundation Donates $26,000 to Nonprofits Serving Children
Dedicated to sharing the positive impact credit unions have on people and their communities.
SECU Foundation Provides $5 Million in Grants to NC Baptists on Mission for Disaster Relief
Dedicated to sharing the positive impact credit unions have on people and their communities.
Hometown Credit Union Proudly Supports “Project HOPE”
Dedicated to sharing the positive impact credit unions have on people and their communities.
SECU Foundation Provides $40K Mission Development Grant for Veterans Program and New Center
Dedicated to sharing the positive impact credit unions have on people and their communities.
Robins Financial Credit Union Volunteers with Ronald McDonald House
Dedicated to sharing the positive impact credit unions have on people and their communities.

Lakota FCU Providing FREE Tax Filing Assistance

For the past six years, Lakota FCU in Kyle, South Dakota, in partnership with Lakota Funds, has provided Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to their community on the Pine Ridge Reservation. VITA not only saves individuals and families the cost of commercial tax preparation, but offers alternatives to Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) and promotes the use of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These are key strategies that have a positive impact in this low-income service area.

Lakota Funds and the Lakota Federal Credit Union have several staff members who are IRS-certified each year, including Tony Taylor and Tawney Brunsch with Lakota Funds, and Beatrice Curry, Kalee Larson, Lacee Lawrence and Lexxi Hunter with Lakota Federal Credit Union.

Last tax season, staff prepared 502 returns, bringing a total of $1,348,451 in refund dollars back to the community! This was more than had ever been returned before. Of that, $543,744 was a result of the EITC. The credit union says they expect this year’s numbers to be comparable.

“Our close partnership with Lakota Funds and a strong community need has driven this effort,” says Shayna Ferguson, Manager of Lakota FCU. “While the credit union has been involved for the past six years, this is Lakota Funds’ 12th year of delivering free tax preparation services on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

She continues, “Through a survey we conducted, we found that tax refunds are a critical resource that help the low-income families we serve to stay afloat financially. The majority (72%) of survey respondents said they planned to use their refund to catch up on bills, and 41% planned on using it to buy groceries. As a mission-driven organization, we feel that saving our community members on commercial tax preparation fees and helping them to maximize their tax refund is a critical piece of our work.”

Currently, the free tax preparation services are offered in the main branch office in Kyle, and Lakota Funds is offering the service weekly in their office as well. In addition, the credit union has brought the service out to the community in seven rotating locations throughout the reservation to help mitigate some of the travel barriers their community members face. The tax assistance service is also offered (along with all of the credit union’s services) on the Rolling Rez, making it accessible to members throughout the reservation.

Lakota Federal Credit Union was NCUA Chartered in August of 2012 and officially opened their doors in November of 2012. As of December 2019, they have 2,936 Members and $5.4 Million in assets.


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