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Innovative Change$ Email Newsletter
News from Innovative Changes
September 2010


This new fiscal year we've been regrouping to evaluate what is going well and what we can improve upon. Over the past few months, we've been holding discussions with our stakeholders, including clients, to examine our impact.

One area that has made a positive difference is our partherships with colleague nonprofits and other organizations. Our approach has always been and continues to be to leverage existing resources in order to maximize impact on our clients and our community. 

As an example of how these partnerships work well, this month we're highlighting Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). NAYA's mission is to "enhance the diverse strengths of our youth and families in partnership with the community through cultural identity and education," and its extensive programs include financial education for youth and adults. Like Innovative Changes, NAYA is a member of the Credit Builders Alliance, and refers people to us for loans and credit building. We appreciate NAYA's investment in the success of those they refer. For example, one mutual client improved her credit score by over 30 points in just four months by working closely with NAYA on her credit report and by making timely payments on the Opportunity Loan she took out with us, which she used to pay off high-cost payday loans. Read more about NAYA in the Partner Highlight.

We would also like to welcome Americorps VISTA volunteer Talia Kahn-Travis into our ranks. We're very excited about the value she brings to our team!

As the summer draws to a close and the economy continues to lag, we are experiencing an increase in demand for our services. Even as we ramp up our programs, a lot of our current and potential clients continue to struggle -- many are losing jobs, facing reductions in work hours, and feeling the impact of public benefits cutbacks. With the recession's impact continuing to take its toll, it is now, more than ever, important we succeed in our efforts.
Finally, we would like to thank our most recent donors, Wells Fargo and Umpqua Bank, and to welcome our most recent referral partner, The Giving Tree.
Thank you for your support.


Sarah Chenven
Program Director

Sabina's Story

Money treeFollowing a personal crisis in the winter of 2010, Sabina R. got
behind on her car payments and faced repossession. A loan from Innovative Changes helped her keep the car, which she used to commute to work.

In her job with the Housing Authority of Portland, Sabina would refer clients to Innovative Changes - now she is a client herself, albeit laid off from the City.

"I found the Innovative Changes services most beneficial because they help people improve their credit rating," Sabina said. "Now they've helped me too."

Continue reading >

Partner Highlight: Native American Youth and Family Center

NAYA logoFor over 30 years, Native American Youth and Family Center ("NAYA") has worked to enrich the lives of Native youth and families through education, community involvement, and culturally specific programming. NAYA offers a holistic set of wraparound services designed to create stability in the lives of their Portland-area clients to reduce their poverty.

Financial Skills Coach Ben Helgren heads NAYA's financial education, helping clients with budgets, credit repair, education, and counseling.

"When Sarah [Chenven] first approached me about developing the CDFI [Community Development Financial Institution], I was skeptical about how it would work -- I had little trust in payday alternatives." Ben said, "But they've proven to be a positive way for people to move forward financially and in their motivation to succeed. Without Innovative Changes, I'd be referring people to much more expensive alternatives, which would also force them to acquire more debt."

Continue reading >

Welcoming Talia Kahn-Travis

Americorps VISTA logoAs we continue our participation in Americorps VISTA, we're welcoming Talia Kahn-Travis as the second volunteer coming through the program to work with Innovative Changes.

We're excited about her continent-spanning experience teaching and coaching diverse populations. We believe Talia is going to add value to our education services, and she's going to help us manage our growing client workload.

We look forward to bringing you Talia's profile next month!

In This Issue
Sabina's Story
Partner Highlight
Welcoming Talia
Quick Stats
New Partners
Upcoming Events
Quick Stats
As of 8/31/2010



85, averaging $462.50 for a total of $38,850

Revolved amount

Loans Repaid       12

Financial education clients

New Partners

The Giving Tree

Read the full list of our partners >

Upcoming Events

No events scheduled in September.

Classes will start in October.

For more info, email Carmina Lass, or call her at (503) 943-5645.

Quick Links

Our Mission
As an emerging, nonprofit community development financial institution, Innovative Changes helps struggling individuals and families manage short-term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability.