Consumer Action awards second phase of MoneyWi$e mini-grants

Published: Friday, October 05, 2012

Consumer Action awarded the second phase of 2012 MoneyWi$e mini-grants to nine community organizations that attended MoneyWi$e trainings and/or used MoneyWi$e materials in their communities.

Each group receives a $7,500 mini-grant to support their innovative financial empowerment projects in diverse communities. (Grant application is by invitation only.) This phase was open to groups in the northern half of the Capital One footprint. (MoneyWi$e is a national financial literacy partnership between Capital One and Consumer Action.)

The agencies selected have demonstrated successful use of the Consumer Action/Capital One MoneyWi$e curricula as part of innovative outreach programs to diverse groups, including veterans, immigrants, shelter residents, youth and formerly incarcerated (re-entry) clients. In a variety of settings, from face-to-face counseling sessions to group workshops, the organizations use MoneyWi$e materials to educate consumers about personal finance basics, including banking, credit and budgeting, to help them save and plan for short- and long-term financial goals.

The 2012 Phase II MoneyWi$e mini-grant recipients, and their plans for the grant funds, are:

HomeFront, Inc., Buffalo, NY. The grant recipient’s target audience is prospective or current low- and moderate-income (LMI) homeowners. HomeFront will help clients create and use a spending plan/budget and establish and maintain accounts at banks or credit unions for at least six months.

HOPES CAP, Inc., Hoboken, NJ. The group will teach basic financial management principles to a target audience of low-income individuals of all ages through a combination of workshops and one-on-one counseling. Clients will be taught how to establish and improve credit and will be assisted in establishing an actionable plan for first-time homeownership, vehicle ownership, small business ownership or higher education.

Latino Economic Development Corporation, Washington, DC. The organization will assist homeownership clients in a target audience of primarily low- and moderate-income, Spanish-speaking immigrants to improve their credit scores, improve money management practices and develop savings plans.

Money Management International (MMI), West Long Branch, NJ. The credit counseling agency will conduct money management workshops for homeless veterans who are receiving housing and supportive services through Common Ground, assist the applicants to complete a secured credit card application, and provide them with the initial deposit for the secured card.

Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc. (DBA “Novadebt”), Freehold, NJ. Novadebt will provide Manna House transitional shelter residents with assistance in developing a personal financial action plan. The group will provide one-on-one counseling and group workshops using MoneyWi$e materials, assist clients in requesting credit reports, and help them dispute any inaccurate information in the reports. Novadebt also will work with its partner banks and credit unions to give unbanked residents an opportunity to establish bank accounts.

Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC/DC), Washington, DC. The OIC/DC target audience includes a diverse community of low-income, homeless, unemployed and underemployed people, including the disabled, youth, immigrants, the elderly, single parents, ex-offenders, public housing residents, former drug addicts, business owners and new and potential homeowners. OIC/DC will: assist its clients in opening a savings or checking account at a reputable financial institution and will provide a one-time account start-up stipend; help clients create and implement a realistic budget plan; and help clients obtain and interpret their credit reports.

Urban League Affordable Housing and Community Development Corporation, Jersey City, NJ. Targeting an audience of low- and moderate-income individuals and families, the organization will work to increase their knowledge of credit, banking basics, and household and/or micro-business budgeting. The group also will assist community members in creating their own household budget and savings plan.

Veterans Enterprise Training & Services Group (VETS Group), Washington, DC. Targeting unemployed or underemployed veterans, the VETS Group will conduct full-day training workshops and one-on-one counseling to help clients establish or review and maintain good credit, establish and maintain a bank account and budget, and learn how to protect their identity. VETS Group will provide some participants with funds to open a checking or savings account at the bank of their choice. Clients also will be taught how to monitor their accounts online. Trainings will be held on how to place a fraud alert, credit freeze or password on a credit file. In addition, a select number of participants will learn the basics of starting a small business. These clients will be taught how to select a legal structure for the business and develop a business plan.

City of Rockville Community Service Division, Rockville, MD. This grant will be used to assist low-income residents, applicants for the Rockville Emergency Assistance Program, residents of low-income housing managed by Rockville Housing Enterprises, parents of children enrolled in the Linkages to Learning Program at Maryvale Elementary School, local shelter residents, residents referred by the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Emergency Assistance Program and city/county residents referred by the Emergency Assistance Coalition. The agency will offer money management workshops and provide participants with one-on-one sessions with a certified financial planner.

“Our mini-grant program is unique and highly effective. We require grantees to provide us with bi-monthly reports during the education phase,” noted Consumer Action Executive Director Ken McEldowney. “In addition, grantees track graduates for an additional three months to determine how they have improved handling finances.”

 

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