– Inspirations –

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

- Dr. Seuss


The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps low-income, working families as a trusted provider of tax and financial services. Everything we do, from direct service to informing public policy, improves the financial stability of those we serve.


We offer a full-range of services to help families acquire the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to make sound financial choices.

Tax Help

CEP provides low-wage workers with free, high quality tax preparation and an alternative to paid tax preparers. In 2013, we operated volunteer-driven tax sites in more than 15 Illinois communities and helped 16,000 families file their taxes for free – making CEP’s free tax prep program one of the largest in the country.

We serve families who make less than $50,000 and individuals who make less than $25,000.  Based on these income guidelines, we can help one in three Illinois residents.

Tax Clinic

Through our tax clinic, we provide free, professional representation to low-wage taxpayers facing an IRS controversy.  We also offer tax training for small businesses, such as childcare providers, to establish sound business practices, build their knowledge of record keeping and self-employment tax laws.

Our Tax Clinic has helped over 2,080 low-income families since 2000.  In 2011, we have assisted 137 clients and saved them over $670,000 in federal tax liabilities.

Financial Services

We help promote financial education and sound money practices — helping cut ties to predatory financial services.

We provide year-round workshops and one-on-one financial coaching to help clients set financial goals; create a spending plan; access safe and affordable bank products like bank accounts and small dollar loans; and review and correct credit reports and improve credit scores.

Opportunities Available with Center for Economic Progress

Bring Economic Security To Working People In Evanston!

Ever wished there was something you could do to help working families get ahead financially? Do you believe that when neighbors help neighbors whole communities can be lifted? Join us!…


Ongoing Opportunities:

Every year there is a high need for individuals interested in volunteering at our free tax preparation locations during tax season, generally from late January to April 15th.

Tax Preparer - Work one-on-one with tax site clients, preparing federal and state income tax returns and providing basic counseling on tax law and credits. All training is provided.

Tax Site Specialist - Aid in the overall flow of tax sites by helping with administrative activities, including client intake and outtake, copying and filing documents and child care. Site managers determine volunteer roles depending on the needs at each site.

We have several more volunteer opportunities that open up as positions become available. Contact us to learn if these opportunities are available at this time.

Tax Representative - Represent low-income clients on federal and state income tax issues. Attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents are able to take cases.

Financial Coach - Coaches work one-on-one with low-income adults to provide instruction and guidance on participant-selected goals related to building savings, reducing debt, and understanding and improving credit. Coaches primarily meet with participants at scheduled workshops and may have the opportunity to schedule follow-up one-on-one coaching sessions to help participants meet long-term goals.