Our Mission

Golden State Opportunity (GSO) is a nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty by providing all Californians with the tools to build financial well-being and thrive.

How We Work

GSO is led by doers who educate, engage, and empower working families. Our groundbreaking, culturally relevant work in thirteen languages reaches millions of low-income Californians and connects them with the financial resources they need to survive and then thrive.

We get things done through grassroots advocacy and partnerships with community-based organizations, and what we learn from this on-the-ground work informs our policy advocacy. GSO began with a legislative victory led by and for low-income workers and families. Since then, we have fought to expand access to the CalEITC, federal EITC, higher wage jobs, and other anti-poverty solutions. But we know more needs to change.

Our work is along two complementary tracks — getting people the help they need right now and building the infrastructure to change attitudes toward people living in poverty and the policies that keep them there. That’s what makes GSO unique.

GSO leads comprehensive statewide campaigns to help families access public benefits, achieve financial stability and plan for the future through programs that uplift low-income Californians. What works in Oakland doesn’t always work in Salinas. That’s why GSO has partnerships with 40+ community-based organizations across the state led by trusted community messengers.

Our community of working families is leading the charge for public policies that end poverty in California. GSO won’t stop pushing for systemic change until everyone can easily access the resources they need to meet their basic needs and transform their lives with financial stability.

Our Impact

  • $1.24 Billion – Amount of CalEITC and YCTC money put back into the pockets of working families and individuals in 2021.
  • 6.59 Million – Number of people who benefitted from the CalEITC in 2021, including nearly two million children.
  • 40+ and growing – Number of community partners across California.

Why It Matters

Millions of Californians and people across the United States live on the brink of poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic is only making things worse. Living paycheck to paycheck is expensive due to unexpected costs, high fees, predatory landlords, and predatory lending. Increasingly, there are two Americas divided by haves and have-nots.

Everyone should be able to afford life’s basic needs: food, housing, and health care. Generational wealth and opportunity should be accessible to all, not only the wealthiest among us. We can make this goal a reality if we give people a hand to escape poverty traps and build financial well-being. With policies that support low-income workers, including a fair minimum wage, public benefit reform, and continued expansion of the federal EITC, we can begin to end poverty.

Decades of research show that  tax credits have a positive impact on children, their families, and their communities by:

    Improving infant and child health outcomes

    Increasing student academic performance

    Reducing the likelihood of childhood neglect

    Helping women afford to remain in the workforce

    Stimulating local economies

    Lifting families above the poverty line, and disrupting generational cycles of poverty—particularly for children of single parents and children of color.

One of the most effective tools to lift families out of poverty is the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a cashback tax credit for low-income workers. We help Californians make sure that money isn’t left on the table.

The EITC is the nation’s most effective tool for reducing poverty after Social Security, and it lifts more children out of poverty than any other federal policy. Now, more than ever, hardworking families across California need access to this critical anti-poverty tool. 

Families that are living paycheck to paycheck, or falling further into debt, need to stabilize their finances through the EITC, public benefits, and avoiding high-interest debt. Financial security and well-being for families will ensure that everyone can afford life’s basic needs and invest in their future.

GSO is here to help.

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