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As the holiday season draws closer, budgeting and saving becomes all the more integral for households of any income level. Trying to prepare our clients for the increase of expenses that holidays and winter bring, we are teaching three workshops on holiday budgeting in collaboration with the Multnomah Library. This month is also a month of trainings for us. We will be training more volunteers on how to facilitate our Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Classes and, our Women's Borrower Support Group will be participating in a full day training on how to mentor and coach our clients. As we pass on our curriculum and lessons learned to new hands, we hope to reach more people and supply more households with the tools to become financially stable.


Keep reading to hear how our FHR classes have made their way to Salem! Chris Cook, Americorps VISTA at Salem-Keizer CDC discusses our partnership, the training of the trainers in IC$ FHR curriculum and gives  us the scoop on how the classes went with Salem-Keizer residents. Also, we bring you an interview with Myranda, an aspiring business owner who has worked diligently with Elizabeth Crowe, a volunteer financial coach, to keep a budget and save for her future goals.


Stay tuned for next month, when we bring you news of our new Executive Director!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Innovative Changes
Myranda's Story clientstory


MyrandaMyranda came to Innovative Changes last spring through a referral from MercyCorps Northwest. Although bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm, Myranda was having trouble keeping track of all her bills and expenses. IC$ connected her with Elizabeth Crowe an IC$ volunteer financial coach and together they have been budgeting and goal setting for the future. It's been exciting for the IC$ staff to take a backseat on this one and see what great work committed clients and volunteers can do!  Keep reading to hear more about Myranda's story and stay tuned for Elizabeth's story in an upcoming newsletter!


How did you find your way to Innovative Changes (IC$)? What brought you here?


I wasn't looking for something like IC$ when I discovered it, but I am so thankful I did!  I was working with MercyCorps NW, to become part of their IDA program.  One of the requirements for enrolling in the IDA program is to complete a business foundations class and work on a written business plan.  I have been interested in developing my own business for quite a while but my poor credit has always stopped me from being able to move forward.  It was very challenging to know that mistakes I made at 20-21 years old were negatively impacting my future, even though I tried to correct them.  I felt very frustrated knowing that I wouldn't be able to get a business loan when I couldn't even get a credit card...even a secured credit card.  During one of our sessions about funding and loans, the class facilitator mentioned a program in Portland that can help us with rebuilding our credit if we had a hard financial situation.  I was so excited to hear that something like this existed and e-mailed IC$ that night.  I received my referral through MCNW and I've been well on my way to establishing better credit since.  My hopes, in coming to IC$ are to obtain a credit score high enough to be approved for a business loan, learn the skills necessary to create and maintain a monthly budget (this is also required to get my loan-how convenient!), and to change my habits of not paying my bills on time.


What have you been working on in your coaching sessions/through your loan?


I have been working on setting up my monthly budget.  My work situation was changing so it took us a while to iron it out.  I feel confident that it's what I need.  We have factored in money that I save for my future business, my regular bills/expenses, my IC$ loan repayment, money for Christmas savings, and money that I need to save up $3000 for a trip to Venice and Paris next summer!  With my budget set, I don't spend frivolously and that ensures that they money is in my bank account to pay the bills as they arrive, rather than putting them off and forgetting.  Plus, the paycheck planner we created covers everything.


Partner Spotlight: Salem-Keizer CDC partnerspotlight

Chris Cook is the AmeriCorps VISTA at Salem-Keizer Community Development Corporation (SKCDC).  Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, she made the big move this summer after landing her position as an Oregon Micro-entrepreneur Network (OMEN) Asset Building Corps Member at Salem Keizer CDC and deciding that the Willamette Valley seemed like an ideal location. We sat down with Chris to learn more about her work at SKCDC and partnership with Innovative Changes.


Salem-Keizer CDC's mission is to help low and moderate income families attain financial self sufficiency through the provision of safe, stable, quality affordable housing, financial asset building opportunities and community & resident services.  At SKCDC, Chris coordinates financial education programs, is working to build an asset management plan for Salem-Keizer properties, and researches and develops processes for fundraising and volunteer engagement.


With three months on the job under her belt, Chris says that so far, she has "enjoyed meeting other people in non profit world, seeing the prevalence of VISTAs in the community and what they do after their year of service, and seeing how people have started partnerships and are working together to make positive things happen."

Innovative Changes got the chance to connect with Chris and SKCDC in September when Sarah and Carmina hit the road to Salem to facilitate a Training of the Trainers (ToT) session in our Financial Household Resiliency Curriculum. At this training Salem-Keizer employees and volunteers from local financial institutions gathered to delve into class content and learn IC$ methods and techniques for facilitating the four-part, eight hour series that covers basic financial management skills.


In October, volunteers from Bank of the Cascades and Maps Credit Union taught Salem-Keizer's first round of FHR classes to SKCDC residents and Individual Development Account (IDA) participants. There were seven people in total and Chris reflects that "the volunteers were wonderful- they rocked it! They explained everything to students who loved how accommodating facilitators were, and the information that they gained from the classes."

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...


Upcoming Seminars:

Holiday Finances 101 

Kenton Library on Saturday, November 19th from 4:00-5:30pm

Midland Library on Monday, December 5 from 6:30-8pm

Troutdale Library on Wednesday, November 30 from 6-7:30pm

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, Suite 2011

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! 


This seminar is $5. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.


*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.


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

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
Myranda's Story
Partner Spotlight: Salem-Keizer CDC
Financial Education Galore!
You Can Help!
Quick Stats
Quick Stats
As of 11/8/2011



298, averaging $467.89 for a total of $134,480.48

Revolved amount:  

Repaid loans: 100

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.