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News from Innovative Changes
MAY 2011



It is official: Innovative Changes received its Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund Certification!


What does this mean? Functionally, not much will change. We are continuing to do the hard work we have always done by helping make a difference in the lives of households such as Roshaunda's and are as committed as ever to our partner-referral model (see this month's story on partner Proud Ground).


With this new designation, however, we are now eligible for highly competitive additional sources of operational subsidy and loan capital from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Furthermore, the certification process itself lends a level of credibility to Innovative Changes organizationally, and we are proud to have joined the ranks of CDFIs nation-wide.


We are also honored to report that we received a $10,000 operating support grant from Bank of America, and a $3,000 grant from the Women's Care Foundation with which, in conjunction with funding from the Portland Women's Foundation, we will initiate our new Women's Borrower Support Groups initiative. 


As always, we are pleased to bring you updates about our program and our progress. 



Sarah Chenven
Program Director

Roshaunda's Story


Last summer, Roshaunda was referred to Innovative Changes through the Housing Authority of Portland's GOALS program.  She had gotten into a car accident and had to take off work for several months. All the while, as a single mom, she still was supporting two children and recovering from injuries incurred during the accident. Through an Opportunity Loan with IC$, Roshaunda was able to pay bills and rent while she waited on compensation from her insurance company.

This plan worked out: she made ends meet and once her insurance money came in, she was able to pay off the loan right away. Now she is back in her position of seniority as a bus driver for Trimet. Through this initial lending experience, Roshaunda learned the importance of good money management, and realized that there was a lot more that she wanted to work on with IC$. 


"Consulting with Sarah and the people at IC$ is an eye opener," she says.  "They make you look into things deeper than you normally would. Loans can set you backward if you're not careful. At IC$ they really help you plan everything out so that you can make sure what you are doing is right."


Partner Highlight: Proud Ground

proud groundYou may have seen Edward Gutierrez pulling a sleek black suitcase up to your neighborhood school, park or church for a community resource night, festival or even concert. Where ever there are people, Edward is ready and willing to get the word out about affordable homeownership. Edward is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Proud Ground, an organization that exists "to remove the barriers between families and affordable homeownership." Proud Ground works with lenders, builders and other community partners (including IC$) to serve low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers toprepare them for buying a new or existing home. Not only does Edward dedicate much time to bringing information to communities all over the city, he also teaches Proud Ground's homebuyer information sessions held at various locations throughout Portland several times a month.


Edward recently referred a woman to IC$ who was a homeowner in the past but who, due to a lot of adversity, lost her home. "She has a lot of potential and is eager to get back into homeownership," Edward remarked. This client went on to take out a credit builder loan with IC$ and is building up her credit so that she can qualify for a mortgage again. As a result, says Edward, this client will be completing the application to join the Proud Ground program soon.

Financial Education Galore!  SLs

Throughout April we taught our Household Financial Stability workshops twice: at the Lloyd Center and at the Housing Authority of Portland's (HAP) Humbolt Gardens. We also piloted our Spanish classes at HAP's Hillsdale Terrace. In May, Hacienda will be hosting the Spanish classes and in June we will be teaching them at Humbolt Gardens again. If you are interested in learning more about these workshops please get in touch with Talia at


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


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. 

*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.


In addition to the classes mentioned above, we will be hosting our own Summer series, open to anyone, at the Lloyd Center in July. Here is the schedule:


Financial Household Stability Workshops: 


Day 1: Saturday, July 23   

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

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

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

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


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/


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

Women Borrower's Support Groupsspecial


Day after day we see the ways that socioeconomic barriers affect every aspect of our lives, and how many of our women borrowers face many of the same barriers. We believe that when given access to the right tools and resources, women are the best poverty fighters. Female financial prosperity has been tied with large multiplier effects on the rest of the community. Group-based lending, in which borrowers work together to learn from and support each other, is a model that has been used to successfully open doors to financial systems for women worldwide.


Starting in the fall of 2011, Innovative Changes (IC$) will convene two small groups of women borrowers for ongoing financial education, peer learning and leadership building. Each group of women will meet twice a month to share experiences around challenging and often taboo personal financial issues that they face in their lives. After three months the women will then have the option to mentor other clients involved in IC$ programs. 


To find out more about our Women Borrower Support Groups check out the program flyer or contact Talia:

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
Roshaunda's Story
Partner Highlight: Proud Ground
Financial Education Galore!
Women Borrower's Support Groups
You Can Help!
Quick Stats
Quick Stats
As of 5/9/2011



209, averaging $458.61 for a total of $95,850

Revolved amount  

Repaid loans 

Financial education clients

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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.