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Our Fall programs are in full swing at Innovative Changes! It is hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner, and we hope that our Fall Financial Education offerings-- including our Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) workshops in English and in Spanish-- will help participants to meet their financial goals throughout the holiday season and beyond! In addition to teaching five FHR workshop series at four different locations this month, we have also launched our first round of our Women's Borrowers Support Groups.  The women who have joined this pilot program will continue on to develop leadership and mentoring skills, and eventually become mentors to new clients.


In this newsletter, we are excited to introduce you to Laddie, who was referred to Innovative Changes by our partner Community Vision, Inc.  for assistance in covering the cost of a medical procedure for his beloved pet, Heidi, as well as to establish a credit history.  In addition to maximizing IC$' services, Laddie employed creativity and hard-work in solving this financial challenge.  Our partner spotlight this month features Violeta Rubiani, who has been working with IC$ for over a year to develop our Financial Household Resiliency curriculum for our Spanish-speaking clientele.  Through a partnership with Hacienda CDC, Violeta will be teaching our four part workshop series in Spanish beginning at the end of this month at our Lloyd Center office. 


Keep reading on for more information on all of the classes that we have to offer this month, including our upcoming seminars on Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment and Holiday Finances. Also, don't forget that Portland's Financial Planning Day is coming up on October 22nd, read more about what Financial Planning Day entails here
 Innovative Changes
Laddie's Story clientstory


Laddie R. has had his cat Heidi since she was a kitten. Now she's a full grown-around twelve year's old-and recently, Laddie found her crying around the house. He took her in to the vet and was shocked to hear that Heidi required a medical procedure that would cost him over $500. Not having the discretionary income to afford this, Laddie was in a difficult position: he couldn't stand by and watch his cat suffer, but, living on a fixed income, his budget was tight, how would he pay for the medical bills?


Laddie consulted with his case manager, Rebecca Miller, at Community Vision. Together they researched different veterinary services and resources, only to find that there are no programs that offer financial assistance for pets.  Eventually they decided that Innovative Changes might be a promising route.


"I was feeling very frustrated," says Laddie, "We called around to everyone trying to find help for Heidi and no one had funds. Then I met with Rebecca and she told me to call IC$."


Laddie met with Talia to discuss his situation, learn more about IC$'s program and discuss his options for making sure his cat got the health care she needed. He was excited when he heard that building credit was another component of IC$ programs. He had recently gone to his bank and been denied for a loan.


"I was shocked because I wanted to buy something and didn't qualify because I have no credit,"reflects Laddie.


Spotlight: Violeta Rubiani partnerspotlight

Innovative Changes strives to provide financial education in a way that is relevant and meaningful to different populations. IC$ created it's Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) curriculum with the idea that it could be adapted to be more culturally relevant to specific communities.Last fall, as part of our partnership with 
Hacienda CDC, we began delving into to the process of adapting our FHR workshops to reflect the financial needs of Portland's' Latino population. As part of this project we connected with Violeta Rubiani, who dedicated much of her final Masters in Public Administration (MPA) work towards actualizing this project. Violeta did everything from researching Spanish financial literacy curriculum, facilitating focus groups, translating our curriculum, creating new activities and materials and teaching the first pilot rounds of Spanish FHR classes. Violeta has since received her MPA degree and currently works for the Non-Profit Association of Oregon. She will be teaching the Spanish FHR classes again at the end of October at the Lloyd Center for a final stint before she heads off to Paraguay to continue her great work in the development world. Innovative Changes is indebted to her hard work and tireless efforts to see this project through to fruition! Keep reading below to hear more about Violeta's experience with this project, her advice for future curriculum adaptations and her future plans!

How did you become connected with Innovative Changes? What drew you to collaborating with us?


While doing my Master's in Public Administration at PSU, I took a class with Dr. Suzanne Feeney called Women's Development and Microfinance. Carmina was one of my classmates, and both of us went on to join the Summer Program in India. A few months later, when Carmina started working at IC$, she suggested (half jokingly) that I do my final project for the MPA with IC$, which resonated with me for two reasons: one, all through my studies I had focused my interests around credit building and credit models, consumer finances, and microlending and social enterprise - so IC$ was a perfect organizational fit for me; and two, that the skills I would develop and learn while working with IC$ could be applied anywhere in the world and across sectors - for-profit, nonprofit, social enterprise...


Well, that and Carmina insisted.


What were your initial steps in adapting our curriculum?


It's difficult to say what came first because the process wasn't linear by any means - everything was happening at the same time! Some of the first steps entailed talking with Talia and Carmina about the curriculum already in place and what they were looking for in the new curriculum. After going through the curriculum together and identifying some needed changes, the next step was translating it into Spanish, which then led to the changes for cultural relevance, etc. Early in the process, we conducted a couple of focus groups that also informed the content, and included partner organizations in the conversation to ensure we were really delivering a solid and complete "product."


Portland Financial Planning Day: Free Financial Help from the Expertsspecialevent


Portland's Financial Planning day, coming up on 

Saturday, October 22, from 10am-4pm, hosted by the City of Portland and the Financial Planning Association of Portland. It will be held at the The Portland Building, 1120 SW Fifth, 2nd floor, Portland. We have been on the organizing steering committee for this event and think that it is a great opportunity for low income individuals and households to get financial advice that they otherwise could not afford.


At the event, experts from the Financial Planning Association and highly qualified Certified Financial Planner™ professionals will be stationed at tables and will meet with attendees one-on-one to offer free personalized advice on a variety of financial topics, including - how to get through a financial crisis, getting out of debt, retirement planning, investment strategies, tax issues, insurance, and estate planning, among many others.     

There are no strings attached! All financial planners are participating as volunteers and they will not be selling products or services, or giving out business cards.  People can come with curiosity and and questions and/or  prepared with any financial paperwork related to their questions.  And, you can consult with as many different financial planners as you need.    


Walk-ins are welcome, but admission will be granted first to those who have registered online  here or by calling toll free at 877-861-7826.  We expect a large crowd, so we encourage you to register early.


Find out more about who will be there and what workshops will be offered here, check out this video to see what past participants have said about Financial Planning Day and click here for a the Financial Planning Day Flyer! 


We hope to see you there!

Financial Education Galore!  fined

Over the month of October we are teaching five different series of our Financial Household Resiliency Workshops! This Saturday, we will be finishing up our series at the Lloyd Center (open to anyone, see details below). We also have a slew of exciting seminars coming up! Keep reading for the dets...


Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment Plans Seminar

Tuesday, October 25th, 5:30-6:30pm

In this workshop participants will learn how to take an inventory of outstanding student loans, keep student loans in good standing, and create a manageable plan for repayment. Other topics of interest will include: the consequences of student loan default, how to rehabilitate student loans that are in default, the Income Based Repayment plan and its benefits, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Other Upcoming Seminars:

Holiday Finances 101

Tuesday, November 15th, 2012, 5:30-6:30pm, Lloyd Center Mall, 3rd Floor

The holiday season is a stressful time. This seminar will equip interested individuals, with tools and resources to minimize stress during through the holiday season. We will discuss topics such as: managing holiday stress, saving and budgeting for the holidays, figuring out what the holidays mean to you and how to bring your family together during the holidays in a low cost way. We will also have information from other organizations in the community that provide specific holiday resources (food, gifts, clothes...etc) for individuals and families during this time. So come, bring your family and start taking steps to get through the holiday season in an enjoyable way!


Tax Time 101: Be Prepared!


Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 5:30-6:30pm, Lloyd Center Mall, 3rd Floor

Please join Maggie Starr of CASH Oregon, Rebecca Flanegan, tax attorney and tax site manager and Talia Kahn-Kravis of IC$ for an hour packed full of information to get you ready to do taxes and ensure you are making informed choices when you are filing for and receiving your refund. Topics will include: An overview of taxes and the mechanics of filing your taxes, available tax credits, what documents you will need when filing, where to do your taxes for free or low cost and how to stay in control of your paycheck, refund and expenses throughout the year! 


*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.


The seminar will be held at our Lloyd Center Office:  

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-249-5205 or



Seemingly distant, but fast approaching, we will be hosting our Fall Financial Household Resiliency series in English and Spanish, open to everyone. Here is the schedule:


Financial Household Resiliency Workshops


Day 2: Saturday, October 15th 

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

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


Financial Household Resiliency Workshops in Spanish


Day 1: Saturday, October 29th   

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

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm                       


Day 2: Saturday, October 15th 

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 Lloyd Center Office:

 3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-249-5205/


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

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 Resiliency 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
Laddie's Story
Spotlight: Violeta Rubiani
Portland Financial Planning Day!!
Financial Education Galore!
You Can Help!
Quick Stats
Quick Stats
As of 10/13/2011



293, averaging $469.56 for a total of $132,630.48

Revolved amount:  

Repaid loans: 94

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.