Where We Started

The founder of Golden State Opportunity (GSO), Joseph Sanberg, grew up under circumstances familiar to many Californians. Raised by a single mom who struggled to make ends meet on her public-school teacher salary, Joe’s family lost its home to foreclosure after falling deeply into debt.

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a cashback tax credit for low-income workers, helped his family get back on its feet.

Even though his own family was able to escape the cycle of poverty, Joe knew there were millions of families like his who were living paycheck-to-paycheck, struggling to put food on the table and draining their bank accounts any time they had an unexpected expense.

Joe wants to fix the outrageous levels of inequality in this country – and help working families like his own. That’s why he led the charge for California to create its own state Earned Income Tax Credit, known as CalEITC, in 2015.

GSO was founded to ensure the success of the CalEITC and to continue the fight for financial well-being for all Californians. GSO’s flagship program, CalEITC4Me, utilizes innovative digital outreach and storytelling, grassroots organizing, media outreach, public advocacy, and mobile messaging to increase participation for both the CalEITC and federal EITC.

Today, GSO is a leading statewide advocacy organization working to end poverty and ensure everyone can meet life’s basic needs and invest in their future. GSO’s leadership and advocacy for low-income workers led California to establish the Young Child Tax Credit and expand CalEITC eligibility to include anyone 18+ and all ITIN holders, making CalEITC one of the strongest and most inclusive EITC programs in the country.

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