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News from Innovative Changes



We are very excited to announce that Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded us a two year operating grant, a grant for our loan fund, and a technical assistance award.  This comprehensive support will expand our loan fund from $125,000 to $200,000, thus enabling us to reach more people with our small dollar consumer loan and our credit builder loan.  We currently originate about 12 loans a month, and we will be able to double that to 24 a month with this support. If you have been contemplating becoming a referring partner of Innovative Changes, now is a great time to come on board.   Contact us to learn how easy it is to partner with us!


Our coaching work is becoming increasingly popular, and we are serving about 15 coaching clients each month.  Topics are based on the client's individual priorities, with credit repair being the number one topic of choice.  As one client recently shared, "Before we looked at my credit report together, I did not know where to even start.  Together we found the items that were hurting me and we were able to make a plan of action.  That meant everything to me."  Coaching is free, and needs to be scheduled ahead of time by calling our office.


Our financial household resiliency workshops are going strong.  We currently have 20 active participants in our public workshop here at the Lloyd Center, another engaged group attending classes on-site at Humboldt Gardens and our Spanish speaking residents of HomeForward will be attending Saturday classes at New Columbia later this month. We are scheduling now for 2013, so contact us if you would like us to bring our financial household resiliency workshops or seminars to a venue convenient for your clients.


When we launched our 3:1 matched savings program for post-secondary education this Spring we knew we had a great product to help people gain more education so they can get a better paying job.  Our first 24 savers are already enrolled and saving, and we are about to open up 25 more slots this Fall.   Click here for more information about our saving program.


November will find us informing our strategic planning process by synthesizing the great observations, advice and feedback that we have been collecting from clients, partners and funders.  Thank you for your generosity of time and wisdom.  We'll share our planning results with you in early 2013.  


All the best, 


Nancy Yuill

Angel's Story clientstory


angelAngel has been a client of Innovative Changes since 2010. Working to support a household of seven, she first came to us at a time when her husband was unemployed and they were falling behind on bills. Since Angel has a full-time job, her family didn't qualify for much assistance. Angel reflects "I was going through a bit of a rough patch and brought this up the someone at my rental agency [Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives] and they directed me to IC$.  It was very nice to know that though I'm considered over income I could still get help when I needed it."


Angel successfully paid her loan back and simultaneously starting confronting her budget head on. She worked to track her spending, cut down on shopping trips and plan meals for her family ahead of time. She has returned to take out loans since, but has maintained a commitment to watching her household money flow. Angel says, "I'm trying to be more conscious about the way I spend. I look at my bank statements a lot more and I identify where I've wasted, but also pat myself on the back when I've done well with my budget."


Juggling the priorities of a large household, along with her life goals is no easy task and Angel has taken this on with grace. Most recently Angel took out a loan to buy a new dryer. "Living in a household of seven, a washer is helpful in making the world go round for my family," she states. "The biggest lesson I've learned (and am still mastering) is to take care of your needs first. Your wants can wait." She continues, "I've also learned a lot about finding fun things to do that are inexpensive. I have found lots of things that we can do without paying an arm and a leg." For those of you who are curious of what those things are (like we were), Angel provided us with some examples which include: McMenamins movie theaters, miniature golfing, roller skating, swimming and walking around your own neighborhood and ones you don't frequent regularly.


Realizing that she is a money management role model for her family, Angel says that the main habits that she wants to pass on to her kids are "to not shop with their emotions, pay themselves first, take care of needs first, and don't try to keep up with the Jones' or anyone else."

As for herself, Angel has not let raising a family get in the way of her own personal determinations. In addition to her full time job, she is working to finish her bachelor degree at Portland State University. She urges anyone thinking of going back to school to take the leap as well: "I have a lot on my plate but this is something I need to do to better myself and my family.  There is a program for returning women here at PSU, at PCC, and there are also many scholarships available that are worth applying for.  When you know you're okay financially you can rest a little easier and concentrate on your studies until you reach your goal." In light of our upcoming IDA enrollment, we could not have said this better!


Partner Spotlight: Cassie Russell-Rupar, CASA of Oregon partnerspotlight


Cassie This fall, 25 more people will begin saving on a monthly basis into an IC$ Individual Development Account (IDA), a 3:1 matched savings account that can be used to fund their education. We have been able to offer these IDAs as a great resource for our clients and the community in partnership with the Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation of Oregon (CASA). CASA is the administrator of the Valley Individual Development Account program (VIDA) which is the largest IDA program in Oregon, constituting a collaboration of community development corporations, housing authorities and non-profit organizations that serve low income families throughout Oregon.  


CASA recently hired new staff who are dedicated to the IDA program and one of them happened to be an IC$ volunteer! Cassie Russell-Rupar has been writing for our client newsletter, Innovative Connections, for the past year, providing insight into topics ranging from money games for kids to recent economic legislation (see the upcoming issue!). At the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) Asset Building conference in Washington DC earlier this month, we got to connect with the CASA team outside of the daily hussle and bussle and talk about our ideas for the future of the asset building movement. Building off that momentum and since we will be working with Cassie a lot more to get these new savers on board, we checked in with her to get her take on her new role at CASA and the asset building field in general! Enjoy!


What's your role at CASA? What drew you to this work?
I am an Individual Development Account Program Manager, I work with our 60 partners to serve communities throughout Oregon. I oversee program enrollments and withdrawals, provide training to new staff, and work to make our systems more efficient. I was interested in working with CASA because my previous roles had been working directly with savers, I was really interested in being a part of such a large scale project.  


What are you most excited about delving into your work at CASA?

I am really excited to see the program grow! We are working on some changes that should help our partners reach more students and rural communities so that is really exciting for me. 


How does your work at CASA fit in with what we do at IC$?

Innovative Changes is a partner of CASA and we love working with the IC$ Team. I am very excited that IC$ is offering education IDAs to the community because as we know more and more people are returning to school. As someone paying back student loans I definitely wish I had access to such a fabulous program with great financial education before I had gone to school.


Where would you like to see the asset building field go over the next few years? Any inspiration from the CFED Conference?

The CFED Conference was a great opportunity to see where the asset building field is going. My main take away from the conference was all of the great things people are doing with technology and how that can make asset building more accessible for everyone. I would love to see more wide spread use of family based IDA programs so that asset building can be multi-generational. 


Financial Education Galore:fined


With two successful Financial Empowerment Clinics under our belts, and three Financial Household Resiliency series underway, we have been busy connecting with new class participants, engaging in rich discussions about money management and thinking about the future! It's not too late to sign up for a workshop on retirement or come to one of our Surviving the Holidays Debt Free seminars at a library near you! Read below for the details!


Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:


October Financial Household Resiliency Series

Tuesday, October 9th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

Tuesday, October 16th 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, October 23rd 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


These classes will be held at our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2010 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/ 


Upcoming Seminars:


retirement Saving for the Future and Retirement

Tuesday, November 6th, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall 6-7pm

When is the right time to start saving for retirement? How do you decide which long term goals to save for first and how do you start?  It is never too early to start planning for tomorrow today! The sooner you start planning for your future the better and every bit you save counts! Come to this informative seminar and join Financial Planner Jennifer de Thomas as she walks us through the basics of saving for retirement. Bring your questions, thoughts and ideas and prepare for a lively discussion on retirement and saving for the future! 

 The seminar is $5 and fee waivers are available for those who qualify. To Register: call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/


Surviving the Holidays Debt Free!

Tuesday, November 6th, Central Library,801 Southwest 10th Ave, 6-7pm

Saturday, November 10th, Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave, 10:30-11:30am

Wednesday, November 14th, Kenton Library, 8226 North Denver Ave, 6-7pm

party hats

During the holiday season family, festivities and fun can also bring stress. This seminar will equip you and your family with tools and resources to tackle the holiday season with minimal stress. 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 on holiday resources (food, gifts, clothes...etc) to help get you through during this time. So come, bring your family and start taking steps to get through the holiday season in an enjoyable way!

No cost and no registration required!

Going Back to School Just Got a Little Easier: Enroll in the IC$ Education IDA Today!ida

backpack The IC$ IDA program offers a 3:1 match for those saving to attend an institution of higher education. Savers must put at least $25 into an account every month, complete financial education requirements and plan to go back to school or already be attending school. Savers can save for themselves or a loved one. 


If you are interested in the IDA program, or know someone who may be interested, sign up for an IDA orientation today! The next orientations will be:


You only have to attend one.  The orientations will be held in 2010 LLOYD CENTER (on the 3rd floor between the food court and Nordstroms) and people can RSVP that they are coming by calling us at 503-249-5205 or emailing Misha,


For more information about the IDA program visit our website.



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 Wednesday, October 24th from 10:30-11:30am. 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$) loans and a great way to get to know more about IC$. 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. 
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!


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.

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Thank you for your support! 

In This Issue
Angel's Story
Partner Spotlight: Cassie, CASA
Financial Education Galore
IDA Spots!
Referrring Partner Orientation
You Can Help!
Quick Stats
As of 10/9/2012



421, averaging $467.48 for a total of $196,958.20

Revolved amount:  

Repaid loans: 222

Financial education clients:

New 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.