Innovative Changes is off to an exciting start for 2012, as we continue to help individuals and families manage short term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability. In the past month I have been able to experience a few of the wonderful partnerships we enjoy, from conferring with the Black Parent Initiative on how to help black parents navigate and participate more fully in the economy to planning with Hacienda CDC on how to provide more financial household resiliency workshops in Spanish. We had a very productive trip to visit our partners in Salem and I've had the pleasure of meeting with some of our wonderful funders such as Meyer Memorial Trust and the Northwest Health Foundation.
As tax time approaches we are excited to work with our strategic partner, CASH Oregon, to provide a tax preparation seminar and financial education throughout the tax season to the over 3,000 tax payers expected to circulate through the Lloyd Center tax super center!
Looking ahead we are planning for a series of events to celebrate National America Saves week, starting February 19th. We'll have a very exciting announcement to make that week, so be sure to get connected to our twitter feed and facebook page for up to the minute news. One of the most important behaviors for savings comes from advice from one of our inspiring credit builder clients, Tamera, who has drastically changed her life around (featured here). She advises people to "pay attention to the little things and pick carefully what you choose to spend your money on". As we like to say, pay yourself first.
In addition, be sure to check out one of our special partners, Multnomah County Library, in an article about Joanne Kahn here.
Moving from local to national, Innovative Changes welcomes the appointment of Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). The federal agency's mission is right in line with our mission of helping families and individuals achieve and maintain household stability. As Director of CFPB states in his inaugural speech, "the financial marketplace can be a place that helps people find and seize opportunity, not condemn them to failure, by working every day to help fashion a more resilient economy and a stronger country." Read more about their work and their request to hear your story in our related article and on their web site.
As we move into this new year, with a renewed sense of purpose and hope, we at Innovative Changes wish you strength, resiliency and peace of mind as you work to fulfill resolutions and seize opportunities that will help all of us achieve and maintain household stability.
All the best,
Last fall, Innovative Changes presented on budgeting, saving and building credit to a group of female students returning to college at Portland State University (PSU). This college success and survival course taught through the PSU's Women's Resource Center aims to support non-traditional students in pursuing their degree, creating community and adjusting to and thriving in an academic setting. At that session, we meet many inspiring women working to use education to create positive change in their lives. Many of the women followed up with IC$ to proactively budget their student income, plan ahead for paying back student loans and build their credit. Among them, we met Tamera who wanted to establish credit for the first time in her life.
"In the past, I did crime for a living so I didn't need credit," says Tamera. "I was addicted to drugs and institutionalized. I spent time in a penitentiary, so realistically I didn't have a use for bank accounts, credit or standard financial institutions."
Tamera has been clean for 6 years now and has been working hard to put her life back on track. But, when she got out of prison, Tamera states that her biggest challenge was lack of information.
"I didn't know what was out there." So when IC$ came to the returning women's class she jumped at the opportunity to learn more about credit. She sat down with Talia, who assisted her in accessing her free credit reports. Together, they reviewed the reports, made sense of what was on there and made a plan to build her credit. "I learned about the different types of credit, how to build each one, what to have open and what not to do," Tamera says of her experience working with IC$.
|Partner Spotlight: Multnomah Library
to deliver financial education programs to diverse communities across the Portland Metro Area. In particular, we co-taught, collaborated and got to know Joanne Kahn, the library's Financial Literacy Coordinator. IC$'s growing partnership with Multnomah County Library's Financial Literacy initiatives has helped IC$ to expand our reach in the community as well as to further develop our repertoire of financial curricula. Keep reading to learn more!
What is your role at the Multnomah County Library?
I joined the library in 2010 as Financial Literacy Program Coordinator. The Library Foundation had recently secured a grant from Smart Investing @ your library, a national partnership between the American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Smart Investing grants are awarded to select libraries across the country to increase financial literacy in our communities. My job is to achieve our grant goals, which include developing programs for low-income families and at-risk seniors, creating a Personal Finance section of our web site, training library staff, and piloting the use of mobile computing as a way to deliver workshops.
I first became interested in financial literacy when teaching my own daughters how to manage a checking account and use debit and credit cards. Knowing that many children needed those skills, I began volunteering through Banking on our Future in K-12 schools, and that experience led to my work with the library.
What type of activities have you organized since being at the library? What has been successful? What has been challenging?
Previously, there was no information on personal finance on the library's web site, so the new Smart Saving site is an enormous step forward. By partnering with several local organizations, including Innovative Changes, we have also provided dozens of public programs and covered a wide range of financial topics, on money management, credit, foreclosure, social security, and retirement finances. Upcoming events are posted on the Smart Saving site. A large portion of my work is outreach. Because the library had existing outreach channels through retirement communities and Head Start centers where we deliver library services, we used those relationships to begin delivering financial literacy programs. The Head Start programs we have done with Innovative Changes, especially on Teaching Children about Money, have been very successful. The most challenging activity for me has been the tablet-computer-based class for seniors, about post-retirement finances, which broke new ground on how the library does outreach.
|Financial Education Galore!
Teaching Your Kids About Money
Tuesday, February 7th 2012, 6pm-7pm, Lloyd Center Mall, Suite 2011
One of the best gifts you can give your children is teaching them the skills to manage money. Passing on good money management habits is a concrete way that you can set your children up for a successful future; even if you are living on a tight budget. In this workshop we'll discuss key ways to get your finances in order so you can serve as a model for your children. We will also cover activities and tips for teaching your kids about money and ways to save for all the extra expenses that come with having a kid (back to school, birthdays, college, etc.). It's never too early to start learning and never too late to start teaching! Now's the time to start your kids on a path to success!
This seminars are $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)-firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency Workshops:
We will hold our winter round of FHR workshops every Wednesday from February 1st to February 22nd, 5:30-7:30pm.
Wednesday, February 1st, 5:30-730pm: Making Ends Meet
Wednesday, February 8th, 5:30-730pm: Budgeting and Saving
Wednesday, February 15th, 5:30-730pm: Hands-On Banking
Wednesday, February 22nd, 5:30-730pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
Our classes and seminar will be held at our Lloyd Center office:
3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center.
To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-email@example.com.
The classes and the seminar are open to everyone. The classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.
|Consumer Finance Protection Bureau get Pro-Consumer Leader
In early January President Obama appointed Richard Cordray, former Attorney General of Ohio, as the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (www.consumerprotection.gov). As reported in the New York Times, the "The appointment means the bureau will have a strong pro-consumer leader and can now exercise its full powers - regulating consumer products and practices both at banks and nonbanks, including mortgage brokerages and student loan providers."
The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans - whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products, including payday loans and check cashing services. The bureau will ensure that consumers get the information they need to make the financial decisions they believe are best for themselves and their families-that prices are clear up front, that risks are visible, and that nothing is buried in fine print.
As Director Cordray said in his inaugural speech, "The stakes are high. Consumers need to be able to fully understand the costs and risks of borrowing and they need to be able to comparison shop for the best deal. Consumers deserve to have someone who will stand on their side, who will protect them against fraud, and who will ensure they are treated fairly.
The new Consumer Bureau was created to make sure that these things are achieved for all Americans. The good news is that we have already gotten started. Over time, we'll judge the success of our efforts by whether consumers are being treated more fairly and with more clarity and candor in the financial marketplace. The financial marketplace can be a place that helps people find and seize opportunity, not condemn them to failure, by working every day to help fashion a more resilent economy and a stronger country. Join us work with us, help us make it so, visit us at www.consumerprotection.gov and tell your story today."
Visit the bureau at www.consumerprotection.gov to learn more and tell them your story!
|America Saves Week is Coming....
America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the America Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. Typically, over 2,000 organizations participate in the Week reaching millions of people.
Stay tuned for more information on Innovative Changes' participation in America saves week!
You Can Help!
You care about helping people achieve and maintain household stability. Now you can join our efforts at Innovative Changes as we expand our reach to serve more clients. Your generous donation will be put to good use!
Be a credit builder:
- $50 covers the cost to deliver and manage a credit builder loan so a borrower can establish and/or increase their credit score.
- $150 provides the capital for credit builder loan for an individual to establish or increase their credit score. (Your donation can be made in monthly installments of just $12.50).
Be a stabilizer:
- $75 covers the cost to deliver and manage a responsible, small dollar installment loan so a borrower can work through a short-term financial need in a manner that sets them up for success.
- $600 provides the capital for a responsible, small dollar installment loan so a borrower can take control and move forward to improving his or her situation. (Just $50 per month).
Be an asset builder:
- $25 sponsors an individual to attend our 4-part household resiliency financial education class on cash flow planning, budgeting, saving, banking, and credit.
- $120 covers 6 months of intensive individual financial coaching for one family.
- $150 Funds the costs of developing and delivering a monthly financial seminar on topics such as tax time preparation, consolidating student loans and talking to your kids about money.
- $500 Enables us to reach more clients with more workshops, coaching and seminars.
Monthly giving program:
Whatever amount you can afford, you can set it up for monthly automatic payments to ease your cash flow. If you have bill pay service with your bank you can set up Innovative Changes to receive regular monthly payments. If you prefer, we can process a monthly ACH transaction on your behalf. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your monthly giving program.
Thank you for your support!
As of 1/12/2012
315, averaging $467.62 for a total of $147,300
Revolved amount: $98,246.58
Repaid loans: 126
Financial education clients: