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Your Real Estate Transaction Can Help Others Achieve Financial Stability

Since 1990, the Center for Economic Progress (CEP) in Chicago has provided free quality tax and financial services to as many as 20,000 Chicago residents in a year. Through their membership in  Investing in Communities®, most standard real estate transactions, such as buying a home or leasing office space, can also benefit CEP. With 70% or more of the referral fee going straight to charity, real estate transactions can become  free funding to support economic development in Chicago. The CEP received $8,728 through Investing in Communities when they signed a lease on their new office space. Residential sales can also generate funding for CEP, regardless of the broker the client chooses, provided the client starts with Investing In Communities before engaging a broker or agent.

In conjunction with their partners at Ladder Up – who they officially merged with in 2018 – the CEP is there for Chicago residents struggling to pay bills, save and manage money, pay off debt, and build credit. They offer personalized and free tax and financial services, a free legal clinic, along with the developmental tools and services needed to start making real, personal economic progress. 

Tax Assistance Program

The Tax Assistance Program offered by the CEP connects clients to a wide variety of vital tax services to assist with what can be a very confusing and time consuming process. Hiring a tax professional can be prohibitively expensive for Chicagoans who are just trying to make ends meet.

Fortunately, thousands of Chicago residents turn to the leading center for economic development in the city, and take advantage of the Center for Economic Progress’s Tax Assistance Program. This program’s services include:

  • Tax return preparation for the current tax year and prior years;
  • Customized credit reports;
  • Free legal clinics for clients facing pressure from the IRS or Department of Revenue;
  • Assistance in renewing or applying for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number without a valid social security card;
  • Tax assistance after the deadline.

These services, along with many others, enable Chicago residents to file their taxes correctly with confidence. Families trust the Center for Economic Progress and come back year after year, and in some cases, are even able to give back as volunteers themselves as in this story in the Chicago Tribune.

Financial Health Services

The CEP offers an assortment of valuable financial health services, such as:

  • Financial Coaching – coaching on how to manage personal finances through the Project Money Program
  • Savings Campaign – public awareness and education on strategies for saving money
  • Credit Building – The Center for Economic Progress provides year-round credit reports and tips for improving your credit score

These services and programs have been effective means of  getting clients out of debt and getting them on track for a future of financial stability, responsibility, and confidence. Together with its partner Ladder Up, CEP has made a “…total economic impact of $1.15 billion…” That’s a huge impact.

Buying, Selling, Leasing Supports The Center for Economic Progress

Now anyone who cares about ​helping people find badly needed financial coaching and tax services can turn virtually any brokered real estate transaction into funding for the The Center for Economic Progress​. Generate funding for the cause by using this free platform to choose among real estate agents that are appropriate for your residential or commercial real estate needs. Or use IIC to make arrangements with an agent you already have in mind. For example, the purchase or sale of $300,000 home can result in about $1,300 of free funding, which has a direct impact on our mission. Ready to start?


Location: Chicago, Illinois

Focus Area: Community Development, Social Justice

Budget: $1 million - $5 million

Total IIC Funding:

Want to help this charity with your next real estate transaction?

We respect your privacy and want to make sure you are totally at ease. By submitting, you are sharing your information with us only and we will not share it with or sell it to anyone else. We will contact you by email to get more information about your real estate needs. Then we will provide you with several agents suited to your needs and you may contact them -or not- as you choose. There’s no sales pitch or pressure. It's entirely your choice.


As a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization, Ladder Up is eligible to receive at least 70% of the referral fee when you use Investing In Communities (IIC) to sign up with ANY real estate broker to handle your residential or commercial property transaction. Referral fees are a common expense paid by brokers only to other brokers for much desired referrals. As a licensed broker with a charitable mission, IIC is able to accept referral fees and pass most of those funds to your charity of choice - at no cost to you.
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