Washington, DC - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and United Way Worldwide (UWW) have announced nearly $1.5 million in grants to 12 recipients to extend the reach of community-based financial education programs across the country.
The grants were awarded by the FINRA Foundation as part of a new program, Financial Education in Your Community, which is administered jointly with United Way Worldwide.
In 2008, United Way focused its strategic leadership efforts on impacting the well-being of the nation's communities and announced an ambitious 10-year goal of cutting by half the number of lower-income families that lack financial stability. "We are proud to partner with United Way to expand the ability of community-based organizations to provide unbiased financial education resources and innovative programs for hardworking individuals and families," said FINRA Foundation President John Gannon. "Community groups have a unique opportunity to reach their neighbors with the information they need to make sound financial decisions that help them save and grow long-term assets."
One- and two-year grants were competitively awarded to local United Ways and other non-profit community groups that will undertake creative projects to help identify best practices for providing working individuals and families with the information they need to take action toward increasing their financial stability. The projects leverage strategic partnerships and successful existing programs, and target a diverse group of clients from areas of the country that have been hit hard by the economy.
"United Way is committed to helping working individuals and families overcome the financial hardships caused by today's difficult economic conditions," said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide. "We are pleased to partner with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation to bring critical financial education resources to underserved communities and help families start down the path toward financial independence."
Grants were awarded to:
- Appalachian Community Enterprises, Inc., Cleveland, Ga., $103,510; to partner with the local Head Start program to provide a series of basic money management workshops for low income families in North Georgia. Workshops will be presented in English and Spanish using a unique "storytelling" model that engages adult learners in entertaining, participative activities that aid in knowledge retention.
- Center for Community Development and Civil Rights, Phoenix, Ariz., $141,000; to launch a four-week financial education class that capitalizes on key elements of the successful American Dream Academy Parent Education Program. The American Dream Academy partners with schools and districts in low-income areas and trains parents to become effective partners and advocates of their children. The financial education class is being developed in response to demand by program participants for additional educational components that teach the life skills needed to rise above low-income status.
- Coastal Coalition for Children, Inc., Brunswick, Ga., $145,558; to partner with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and local social service agencies to incorporate basic financial education into existing client programs and provide bilingual workshops for the general public.
- Four Bands Community Fund, Eagle Butte, S.D., $50,000; to partner with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills to provide credit repair and other financial education for the staff of 12 community organizations and the people they serve and to undertake a reservation-wide public awareness campaign to highlight the financial education services available through community partner organizations.
- RISE Foundation, Inc., Memphis, Tenn., $144,986; to deliver their Common Cents and Making Cents workplace financial education programs for the staff members of 54 nonprofit organizations that partner with the United Way of the Mid-South.
- United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Buffalo, N.Y., $150,000; to lead the efforts of the Cash Coalition-composed of more than 60 local organizations working together on issues of financial stability-in undertaking a two-pronged approach to providing financial education at neighborhood and organizational levels.
- United Way Capital Area, Austin, Texas, $150,000; to provide, as part of a larger "Bank on Central Texas" initiative, guidance to employers on how to implement workplace financial stability strategies, including direct deposit, automatic savings through payroll deductions, a default requirement to opt-out of deferred savings plans and EITC outreach. Foundation Communities, a local nonprofit partner, will offer employers the ability to provide free financial education workshops and one-on-one financial coaching for employees.
- United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Hartford, Conn., $150,000; to expand the one-on-one budget coaching program of the Hartford Asset Building Collaborative to meet the needs of neighborhood groups, faith communities and workplaces.
- United Way of Chester County, West Chester, Pa., $77,172; to pilot test an effort to reach low- and moderate-income working individuals and families through childcare providers. During the pilot, financial education workshops and one-on-one coaching will be offered to the families and staff of seven child care centers located in low-income neighborhoods in Chester County.
- United Way of Dane County, Madison, Wis., $150,000; to pilot a financial coaching program for low-income individuals and families using the Grow Your Green money management program and workbook. Grow Your Green is a basic financial education program developed by educators at the University of Wisconsin-Extension of Dane County.
- United Way of the Midlands, Omaha, Neb., $121,672; to collaborate with four local nonprofit organizations offering comprehensive financial education to low-income families headed by single mothers. Among other features, the grant program will pilot an innovative, open-source financial management software program specifically created for nonprofit organizations and their clients.
- United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas, $112,500; to implement a neighbor-to-neighbor financial education program and a public education campaign for people living in low-income neighborhoods with a high preponderance of alternative service providers.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.