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Mission Statement

Ladder Up is committed to helping hardworking, low-income students and families access the financial resources and tools they need to achieve financial stability. By recruiting and training a workforce of more than 1,400 volunteers recruited from the Chicago area’s premier accounting, law, and financial service firms, banks, consultancies, and universities, Ladder Up provides free financial services to help students and families climb up and out of poverty.


Ladder Up is a Chicago-based nonprofit committed to helping hardworking families and individuals access the financial resources and tools they need to move up the economic ladder. Whether it is helping clients get the tax refunds they deserve, secure the financial aid that makes higher education affordable, or gain the knowledge to make sound financial decisions, Ladder Up provides free services to more than 18,000 clients annually and since its founding in 1994, has served 148,000 clients and created an economic impact of $295 million. Ladder Up offers financial services through two programs - the Tax Assistance Program (TAP) and Life-Improving Financial Tools (LIFT).

Through TAP, Ladder Up engages 1,400 volunteers, many from Chicago's top companies and universities, in helping low-income taxpayers prepare and file their Federal and state income tax returns. Many TAP clients are eligible for significant tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which alone can exceed $5,600.

LIFT comprises two programs - the Higher Education Access Initiative, through which Ladder Up helps students apply for financial aid for postsecondary education, and the Financial Literacy Program, which is designed to give high school students a foundation for sound financial decision making.


Average Review 1 reviews

Would you recommend Ladder Up?

by Leah C. (February 26, 2018)
When the first volunteer did not work the second time I came back with the last document I needed, the older man who worked with me, went above and beyond the service. I asked him a few questions about my research on taxes and what was suggested by city's small business classes I attended and learned that the info conflicted with what he knew. I would have had to pay hundreds of worth less than 1ยข USA dollars for the service I received. Thanks Ladder Up for the service.