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News from Innovative Changes
JULY 2012



We wish to extend a big Thank You to KeyBank for recently awarding us a grant to support our financial education program.  They share our vision that people who are economically self-sufficient have the ability to move through challenges and advance their aspirations.  Financial capabilities are central to navigating life's paths and achieving those dreams.


All of us at Innovative Changes hope you had a Happy Independence Day.  It's a great time to reflect on our country's founding principles; justice, liberty, equality - perhaps we take these concepts for granted these days, but their actual manifestation is just as revolutionary as it was 236 years ago.  Every day we work with people who are seeking a just and fair deal in their financial transactions.  They want the liberty to be free from predatory practices and untruths.  They seek equal opportunity to belong to and function in our society without paying excessive fees and charges.  We hold these principles dear, and strive to create a place where people can find unbiased information, have honest conversations about their financial situation, and access responsible products and services they can trust.


Talia recently attended the Grassroots and Groundwork Conference organized by the Northwest Area Foundation.  One of the many valuable sessions she attended was a presentation by Professor john a. powell on his paper, "Poverty and Race through a Belongingness Lens".  Professor powell's premise is that poverty is largely about social exclusion and lack of belonging.  This concept resonates strongly with us, as we want our clients, partners and stakeholders to have a sense of belonging to Innovative Changes and we want Innovative Changes to be a bridge to help people become included in the larger societal construct.  Partners like HomeForward exemplify the work needed to be more inclusive when they appoint residents, like Benita, to their Board of Commissioners.   


Creating a welcoming, trustworthy place is a never ending process, and it is a process that we are exploring a lot as we undertake our strategic planning work this summer and fall.  We will be asking many of you to participate in focus groups and interviews to help us learn what we can do better. Thank you in advance for your time.


All the best, 


Nancy Yuill

Benita's Story clientstory


Benita is a resident in the GOALS program of Home Forward. She came to Innovative Changes during its early stages in need of a loan. As a mother, grandmother, student and worker, she had a lot on her plate and was having trouble making ends meet. She met with Carmina to plan out her cash flow and took out a loan to pay off high cost debt, "debt that just seems to never get lower," says Benita. "The IC$ loan gave me a stable payment and a way to give everyone a piece of the pie, while fitting into my monthly budget."


Benita continued to stay involved with Innovative Changes. Always communicating with IC$ about what was going on, she was able to stay current on her loan even during hard times. In part, this communication was made easy because Benita took a work-study position through Portland State University at IC$ for a semester. Studying criminal justice, Benita is passionate about social issues and her particular focus "is on justice for the same people that use IC$ as a resource." As a work-study intern Benita helped IC$ prepare many of its program materials. "Through this I had more exposure to the processes of a nonprofit and the content of IC$ classes, so I learned a lot."


 Benita's commitment to her community was recently honored when she became Resident Commissioner to Home Forward. In this role, she serves on the Home Forward board and provides a lens into the resident perspective. She says, "I aim to increase the communication between residents and Home Forward. A lot of people making decisions don't live them, so don't know how it is. I can understand how policies affect residents because I am one." Benita hopes to bridge this gap.


Recently Benita took out a new loan to pay for her son's braces. She came to us with a well planned out case of why the loan was a good decision for her family right now and how she would incorporate this into her future expenses. She was not in crisis, this loan was very strategic. Benita reflects that through IC$ she has learned "to be more conscience of where and how I spend my money, to think before a purchase and consider all the factors of the debt." This was a sure case of her taking that to heart. Benita's future goals are to become self sufficient and continue working with, volunteering and engaging with residents and people that need services.


Innovative Changes is proud of the hard work Benita has put it to making changes in her life and in the community and looks forward to continue seeing her thrive!


Partner Spotlight: Mercy Corps Northwest partnerspotlight


Sarah CMercyCorps Northwest, not to be confused with its parent organization MercyCorps, assists low-income current and aspiring small business owners throughout Oregon and Washington in order to reduce unemployment, grow personal incomes and assets and increase economic growth. They offer an array of programs including business education, business loans, individual development accounts (IDAs), reentry transition programs for formerly incarcerated people and agricultural business development programs for recent immigrants and refugees. MercyCorps Northwest has been in partnership with Innovative Changes since our beginnings in 2010. Our programs complement each other nicely because personal financial management skills are key not only for household stability but for running a business too.


Recently, we chatted with Sarah Castagnola, IDA Program Manager at MercyCorps NW. IC$ has had the opportunity to collaborate with Sarah's program more and more since around the same time that IC$ premiered its IDA program, MercyCorps NW started offering education IDAs specifically for participants of its Reentry Transition Center. IC$ has begun providing the case management and financial education for these MercyCorps savers.


Sarah remarks that she is "excited to be offering education IDAs in partnership with IC$ and to integrate Mercy Corp NW's economic development program with the Reentry Transition Center." So far she says, "The first year has been successful and it is rewarding to offer assistance tied with education."


Sarah says that she was drawn to the work of MercyCorps NW because she "wanted to be involved in supporting small business and local economies in Portland." She had worked with women run cooperatives in the past and this seemed like a gratifying way to continue the work. She reflects that it has been "motivating to do this work and see people support themselves and support their families."


Innovative Changes is pleased to have the opportunity to connect with MercyCorps savers, assist them in being successful in reaching their goal of pursuing higher education and continue building our partnership with MercyCorps NW. Thanks for your great work Sarah!


Referring Partner Orientation

Would you like to become a partner of Innovative Changes? Interested in refering clients for our loans, financial education and individual coaching sessions? Want to learn more about our programs? Attend our Referring Partner Orientation webinar. 

The webinar orientation will take place on July 18th from 11am-12pm. If you or your coworkers are interested in participating please register here:

This orientation is required for anyone who would like to refer clients for Innovative Changes (IC$) loans and a great way to get to know more about our IC$. During the webinar we will go through IC$ programs and services, walk you through the process of referring a client and discuss what happens after you make a referral. 
Financial Education Galore:fined


We have several exciting seminars and events coming up this summer. If you find yourself with some free time or a hankering for financial knowledge, stop by one of our seminars, free financial empowerment clinics, financial household resiliency classes or stop in for a one-on-one coaching appointment!



Bankruptcy 101
Tuesday, July 17th, 2025 Lloyd Center Mall from 5:30-6:30pm   
Join attorney Elizabeth Hallock and IC$ to discuss the basics of bankruptcy. When is a good time to file for bankruptcy? What are the different types of bankruptcy? How will this effect your credit in the long term? Gain access to resources and more at this informative seminar!


Back to School Budgeting

Tuesday, July 10th at Albina Library 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2025 Lloyd Center Mall 5:30-6:30pm

Back to school time can be hectic. New routines, new teachers, new friends, new clothes: there is a lot of "new" to get used to. In this workshop on Back to School Budgeting we will go over tips and tools so that you can use the beginning of the school year as a time to reset, get organized and hone in on systems that will keep you and your household on track throughout the year. Budgeting is a key step to help you plan for unexpected expenses that come at the beginning, middle and end of the school year. Come to this workshop and start taking the steps that will lead to a more organized, prepared and enjoyable year!


Retirement 101

Thursday, August 16th, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall 6-7pm

Join Financial Planner Jennifer de Thomas as she walks us through the basics of saving for retirement. When is the right time to start saving? How do you start? Which plan is right for you? All these questions and more will be answered at this seminar!


Tackling Student Loan Debt

Tuesday, September 25th, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall 6-7pm

Are past student loans getting in the way of enjoying life? Do you have trouble keeping track of your debt? Come to this seminar and start taking steps to deal with student loan debt! 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.


Free Financial Empowerment Clinics: Save the dates!

September 15th 1-4pm at the Midland Library

October 6th time TBA at the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave

Have a question about retirement planning? Creating a will or long term financial plan for your family? Have you ever wanted to meet with a financial planner but can't afford one? Come to a financial empowerment clinic. At these clinics you get the chance to sit down with a professional, discuss whatever you want and receive pro-bono advice with no strings attached! There will also be workshops on budgeting, credit and saving and resources on other community programs and services that you can take advantage of!


No registration or fees required for seminars hosted at libraries. Please sign up for the Lloyd Center seminars and Financial Empowerment Clinics by calling or emailing Misha at (503)-249-5205/

Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:


We just finished our June series, but the financial education doesn't stop- not even for summer! We will be offering our 4-part series in English AND Spanish over the next 2 months- help us spread the word and sign up today! 


Talleres sobre Estabilidad Financiera

Cómo Llegar a Fin de Mes, miércoles el 18 de julio de 5:30-7:30

Ahorros y Presupuestos, miércoles el 25 de julio de 5:30-7:30

Servicios Bancarios, miércoles el 1 de agosto de 5:30-7:30

Introducción al Sistema de Crédito: Cómo obtenerlo, repararlo y protegerlo, miércoles el 8 de agosto de 5:30-7:30                

Los talleres se llevarán a cabo en Hacienda CDC

5136 NE 42nd Ave Portland, OR 97218

Para registrar pónganse en contacto con Emilia Callero 503-249-5205


August Financial Household Resiliency Series

Tuesday, August 7th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

Tuesday, August 14th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

Tuesday, August 21st 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, August 28th 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


These classes will be held near our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2025 Lloyd Center.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.  


To Register: visit our website or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/



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 to set up your monthly giving program.

Make a Donation button

Thank you for your support! 

In This Issue
Benita's Story
Partner Spotlight: MercyCorps NW
Referrring Partner Orientation
Financial Education Galore
You Can Help!
Quick Stats
As of 7/9/2012



378, averaging $464.77 for a total of $175,978.20

Revolved amount:  

Repaid loans: 200

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.