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Innovative Change$ Email Newsletter
News from Innovative Changes
APRIL 2011



"April showers bring May flowers" rings true for us here at Innovative Changes. As for the showers, we are busy splitting our time between two offices, managing a growing case load of clients, teaching classes, hosting seminars and planning for new exciting projects. Which brings us to the flowers part: a new project on our horizon -- Women's Borrower Support groups. Made possible by a recent $10,000 grant from the Portland Women's Foundation (thank you!), we will be convening small groups of women borrowers to engage in financial education and leadership training so that they can go on to mentor other IC$ borrowers. This will deepen our ability to reach out to women experiencing hard financial times while trying to support a household. In turn, their work with us will greatly benefit future IC$ clients. 


We are kicking off a series of Spanish Financial Household Stability classes this month in a partnership with the Housing Authority of Portland and Hacienda CDC, and we are also happy to welcome Reianna DeRosa to our staff as our new Spanish speaking part-time Program Coordinator. Stay tuned for a profile of Reianna next month! 


In this issue please find information about our upcoming financial education opportunities, a profile of our partner, Metropolitan Family Services and profile of a committed client living in Innovative Housing Inc. (IHI) housing. Hey, did we mention that April is National Financial Literacy Month? Find out more about it here!


Sarah Chenven
Program Director

Loretta's Story


Loretta is a resident of IC$'s founding agency, Innovative Housing Inc (IHI). She was referred to IC$ by Emma, herIHI resident service coordinator, in August 2010. Loretta wanted to build her credit and make sure she was able to save and budget her money. Early on she met with Carmina Lass, IC$'s Financial Education and Loan Program Manager, to come up with a plan to rebuild her credit and get on track with her expenses.


"Meeting with Carmina was awesome. We sat down, looked at my credit history and were able to get four items off my report," says Loretta.


Loretta then went on to strategically take out two loans over the past eight months with IC$. She also attended our Fall Financial Household Stability workshops. She now finds herself able to save money more and is slowly building her credit to work towards her life goal: purchasing a home.


"IC$ has been great for anytime I felt in hole, like when I was on maternity leave. I couldn't get rent in on time and my loan payment was also due.  IC$ worked with me to not have me be late on credit reporting and my rent. They were flexible so that my loan stayed current and they really helped me when I was in a bind."


Partner Highlight: Metropolitan Family Service

Metropolitan Family Service works to strengthen families and individuals while enhancing their participation in community life. They have multiple services for people of all ages from kids to seniors, that focus on education, parenting, health, mobility and independence -- and parallel to us at IC$ -- financial stability.



We spoke with Abby Becic who splits her time between two different Metropolitan Family Service programs: Ways to Work and Credit Coaching. 


Ways to Work is a national program that allows qualified working parents who are unable to find funds elsewhere and have credit barriers, qualify for loans up to $6,000 to purchase, repair or refinance a car. This critical access to reliable transportation allows a parent to get their children to school, maintain job stability and provide for their household.  


"When Ways to Work clients have an unforeseen financial emergency, like a car repair, Innovative Changes has been a great resource to refer our clients to.  IC$ can provide a loan for the repair so that the family can stay on track with work and other family commitments," said Abby.

The Ways to Work comprehensive lending process is similar to IC$'s loan program in that clients participate in budgeting and other financial education. Abby and MFS Program Coordinator, Aliza Kuperstock, are there to support their clients in the often overwhelming process of searching for, purchasing or repairing a car. 

Financial Education Galore!  SLs

As we said, we are busy teaching lots of classes. Over the next couple of months we will be teaching several Financial Household Stability workshops in English and Spanish for residents of the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP). If you are interested in learning more about these workshops please get in touch with Carmina at [email protected].


In addition to the HAP classes, we will be hosting our own Spring series at our new convenient office at the Lloyd Center: 


Financial Household Stability Workshops: 


Day 1: Saturday, April 16  

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm                  Day 2: Saturday, April 23 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm


Class flyer is available here.  

Also, we have two exciting seminars coming up which we encourage you to attend, help get the word out, suggest a topic and/or volunteer to teach one! 


Saving, Investing and Risk Management Seminar:


April 6th, 4:30-6pm

This month we'll be joined by Chris Kiichle, a financial advisor at Pacific Capital Resource Inc. Investing can be intimidating, but rewarding. Chris will give us insight on how to leverage savings in a sound and informed way. Participants will leave equiped with tools to plan ahead for a successful financial future.



New Banking Regulations and How They Impact You!:

June 7th,  5-6:30pm

Scott R. Hartley, Branch Manager at Sterling Savings Bank, a partner of IC$ will discuss new banking regulations and how these effect you as a banked or prospective banked person. He will address consumer rights when dealing with financial institutions and more. This seminar will be great for service providers and anyone interested in learning more about how to use the banking system to your advantage and avoid excess fees. 

* Stay tuned for more details on this exciting seminar!

**These seminars are part of our ongoing monthly seminar series covering special topics of interest to our clients. For more information about our seminar visit our website here.


Our classes and seminars will be held at our new location:  

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2201 Lloyd Center, Portland


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-943-5620/[email protected].


The classes and seminars are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify. 

April is National Financial Literacy Month!

 Last year in the beginning of April, President Obama declared the month to be Financial Literacy Month. In a press release he stated:

"While our Government has a critical role to play in protecting consumers and promoting financial literacy, we are each responsible for understanding basic concepts:  how to balance a checkbook, save for a child's education, steer clear of deceptive financial products and practices, plan for retirement, and avoid accumulating excessive debts...During National Financial Literacy Month, we recommit to teaching ourselves and our children about the basics of financial education."

IC$ is pleased to participate in Financial Literacy Month by continuing to offer seminars, classes and workshops that prepare families to manage their finances in an informed and strategic way. If you would like to get involved in our education program by teaching, suggesting a seminar topic, donating or getting trained in our curriculum please contact [email protected]
You Can Help!

Innovative Changes is able to keep its rates low because of the donations it receives from those who care about Oregonians. Please help us continue to meet our clients' needs by making a generous donation today.
  • $25 allows an individual to attend our 4-part Household Stability financial education class on cash flow planning, budgeting, saving, banking, and credit.
  • $100 keeps a family warm this winter by covering their heating bill.
  • $150 covers 6 months of intensive individual financial coaching for 1 family.
  • $500 helps a family make car repairs to commute to work.
  • $1,000 keeps a family facing eviction housed.
Your gift will make a difference. Thank you from all of us at Innovative Changes for your generosity this holiday season.

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In This Issue
Loretta's Story
Partner Highlight: Metropolitan Family Service
Financial Education Galore!
April is National Financial Literacy Month!
You Can Help!
Quick Stats
Quick Stats
As of 4/5/2011



186, averaging $467.47 for a total of $86,950

Revolved amount  

Repaid loans 

Financial education clients

 Read the full list of our partners >  
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Our Mission
Innovative Changes exists to help low-income individuals and families, and those who otherwise lack adequate access to capital and/or financial services, manage short-term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability.