MoneyWi$e Stipend Report - Phase Two

This MoneyWi$e Financial Literacy Outreach & Education Report is based on final mini-grants and bi-monthly reports and applications submitted to Consumer Action by community-based agencies receiving mini-grants (stipends) during the second round of the 2010 MoneyWi$e Financial Literacy Outreach & Education Stipend Program. The Second Phase ran from Oct. 25. 2010-April 15, 2011. MoneyWi$e is a financial literacy partnership of Consumer Action and Capital One Financial Corporation.
Published: Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Consumer Action awarded 10 grants of $5,000 each to the 10 organizations described in this report for work to be conducted between Oct. 25 and April 15, 2011.

This report provides a snapshot of each stipend agency’s mission and services and describes their stipend projects. The report also describes the stipend program’s effectiveness in reaching consumers and in providing them with information, resources and tools needed to make decisions about personal finance. For example, in the Program Outcomes section of the report, the graphic shows the number of consumers who took concrete steps to change or modify behavior when dealing with their personal finances. Some highlights include 4,280 consumers who established or updated budgets or spending plans, 2,678 consumers who ordered credit reports, and 1,209 consumers who opened new accounts. These and other outcomes reported by stipend grantees are aligned with the MoneyWi$e program goals and objectives.

Notably, these outcomes are also substantively aligned with the framework presented by the Financial Literacy Education Commission (FLEC) in Promoting Financial Success in the United States: National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2011. The 2011 National Strategy notes that financial difficulties of individuals and families can dramatically affect the financial health of local communities and regional markets. This stipend report provides specific examples of how MoneyWi$e stipend projects made a positive impact on consumers and their communities in several regions within Capital One’s footprint.

For example, the City of Rockville, Maryland provides emergency housing and utility assistance payments to low-income residents. During the stipend period, the city enrolled applicants who were repeatedly seeking financial assistance into MoneyWi$e workshops. As a result of attending workshops, 79 unbanked consumers opened bank accounts, 125 consumers without savings began to add money to their savings accounts and 143 established or updated their budgets. The City of Rockville reported that their financial education efforts resulted in a 30% drop in repeat applicants seeking housing and utility assistance.

The stipend program of Washington, D.C.-based So Others Might Eat (SOME) yielded another good example of the impact of the MoneyWi$e program on communities. SOME reached 53 homeless families housed in four of its shelters. The agency reported that 80% of residents who completed MoneyWi$e classes took concrete steps to improve their personal finances. Specifically, 21 residents opened checking accounts, 36 residents opened savings accounts, 51 residents added money to savings accounts and 53 adhered to their budgets. SOME reported that the increased knowledge gained during the MoneyWi$e training program empowered several participants to seek higher paying jobs. These examples demonstrate the vital role that personal finance education plays in helping to ensure the financial health and stability of individuals, families and their communities.

Most of the community agencies receiving the MoneyWi$e stipend grant were able to leverage the funding to form collaborations, allowing them to increase their reach and their community impact.

For example, Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) collaborated with Good Shepherd Family Housing, Lorton Community Action Center and Northern Virginia Family Services. The partnering agencies required their clients to participate in NOVAUL’s MoneyWi$e educational program to maintain annual residency recertification. NOVAUL also marketed the program to churches and industry professionals. NOVAUL’s collaboration illustrates how stipend grantees found creative ways to reach a broader audience and increase participation.

The MoneyWi$e educational modules contain core principles of personal finance that every consumer should know at various stages in life and during key life events. This report includes selected success stories narrating the progress made toward financial empowerment by individuals who received MoneyWi$e education at critical moments in their lives.

Collectively, stipend grantees reached a total of 12,572 clients and ordered 17,047 MoneyWi$e publications.

Agency and Stipend Program Summaries

Bexar County Family Justice Center Foundation San Antonio, Texas

The Bexar County Family Justice Center is a collaborative of 40 onsite and offsite partners whose services to families struggling with domestic violence include protective orders, civil legal services, medical care, prosecution, victim advocacy, child protective services, law enforcement, life coaching, job training, housing, basic needs and more.

Stipend Project: The Family Justice Center’s program, called “Project Dove,” targeted domestic violence victims and their families, as well as advocates and volunteers. Clients received three one-on-one sessions on topics related to financial abuse, financial fundamentals, credit basics, budgeting, and saving (including IDA accounts). A fourth session (led by a Capital One representative) was provided in a group setting covered long-term budgeting and savings strategies, banking activities and safety deposit boxes.

City of Rockville Division of Community Services Rockville, Maryland

The Division of Community Services, funded by the City of Rockville provides for the well-being of individuals and families through the identification of the human service needs of all city residents.

Stipend Project: The City of Rockville Division of Community Services targeted the municipality’s low-income residents who either re-applied to the city for funding under its emergency assistance program or were referred to the city by social services agencies. These residents were living in shelters and low-income housing managed by the City of Rockville. The project’s goals were to use stipend funding to offer a mixture of financial education opportunities (i.e., group and one-on-one sessions) to Rockville’s most financially vulnerable residents.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, Inc. (CCCS) Dallas, Texas

CCCS of Greater Dallas is a HUD-approved housing and credit counseling and education organization. CCCS operates 19 branches in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma. CCCS also provides bankruptcy counseling and education. CCCS is part of the HUD intermediary Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) providing foreclosure prevention counseling services to clients nationwide via the Homeowners HOPE Hotline.

Stipend Project: CCCS conducted financial education workshops for the staff and parents of Head Start Greater Dallas. Head Start staff attended sessions for their own benefit and were trained on how to improve their clients’ knowledge. Head Start parents received one-on-one and group educational services to encourage effective budgeting, review and correction of credit reports, managing credit and saving. CCCS reached a low-income audience made up predominantly of single heads of household for whom English is a second language.

Empowerment Seminars, Inc. San Antonio, Texas

Empowerment Seminars is a nonprofit based in San Antonio, Texas. Its mission is to empower youth, young adults, senior citizens, civic groups, individuals and nonprofit organizations through collaboration and sharing information. Empowerment Seminars carries out its mission through free interactive presentations, one-on-one counseling, and group discussions. Topics covered include drug abuse prevention, financial literary and personal development.

Stipend Project: Empowerment Seminars targeted low-income youth, young adults and seniors in San Antonio where Empowerment Seminars estimates that 40% of the population is at or below poverty level and the annual median income is $25,000. The project’s goal was to reach its target audience through extensive media campaigns and to provide the target audience with a series of interactive MoneyWi$e trainings, presentations, rallies and seminars. Empowerment Seminars sought to improve the financial status of its target audience by providing personal finance education.

Garrett County Community Action, Inc. (GCCAC) Oakland, Maryland

Garrett County Community Action’s mission is to enable people in need to improve their quality of life by becoming more self-sufficient. The agency provides a variety of services such as housing for individuals, families, older adults and the disabled. It also owns a number of housing developments and community facilities and offers them to low-income residents.

Stipend Project: Garrett County Community Action targeted applicants who applied for rental, energy, and child care assistance. The agency used the MoneyWise curriculum to provide all applicants with a series of workshops on basic banking, money management, credit and savings techniques. The project’s goal was to reduce target audience dependency on subsidies by assisting them to better manage their resources, thereby allowing them to move towards self-sufficiency.

North Texas Housing Coalition, Inc. (NTHC) Dallas Texas

North Texas Housing Coalition’s mission is to promote safe, quality, and affordable working class housing in North Texas. NTHC is a HUD-certified counseling agency and a certified Community Development Financial Institution. NTHC’s financial education workshops educate consumers as well as empower them to take control of their financial situation and to better understand their spending habits. NTHC also provides home ownership preparation through one-on-one home ownership counseling, foreclosure prevention workshops, counseling and homebuyer education classes.

Stipend Project: NTHC provided financial education to low-income families and individuals participating in the agency’s nine-month financial education coaching program. NTHC helped clients establish relationships with banks, manage finances, use credit wisely, improve credit scores, reduce debt and prepare for homeownership. Program participants attended classes and workshops and received monthly counseling.

Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) Alexandria, VA

Northern Virginia Urban League’s mission is to enable Northern Virginia African Americans and other disadvantaged people to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights through program services and advocacy. NOVAUL’s services include housing counseling, youth academic enrichment and financial literacy programs serving low to moderate income clients.

Stipend Project: Northern Virginia Urban League’s program provided clients a workshop series consisting of six classes and a one-on-one counseling session. The workshops aimed to help clients increase their financial knowledge and adopt improved habits, attitudes and values related to financial management. Clients also received pre-purchase housing counseling. A majority of clients were single mothers, with high school and/or college education, facing credit and other financial difficulties.

Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC/DC) Washington, D.C.

The mission of the Opportunities Industrialization Center of Washington, D.C. (OIC/DC) is to educate, train and secure employment for persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged, enabling them to lead productive, self-supportive lives independent of social programs. As a licensed postsecondary, non-degree school, OIC/DC provides a variety of training opportunities for the residents of Ward 8 including GED and Microsoft Office certification, along with wraparound services such as financial literacy and life skills.

Stipend Project: OIC/DC targeted low-income and disadvantaged youth and adults in enrolled in its job training program. The project’s goal was to identify and immerse 50 job-training students in financial literacy course work and to help them open and properly maintain bank accounts, create working budget and obtain copies of their credit reports.

So Others Might Eat (SOME) Washington, D.C.

SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that helps the poor and homeless of our nation's capital meets their daily needs by providing food, clothing and health care. SOME works to help break the cycle of homelessness by offering services including affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment and counseling. SOME provides these services to consumers who are poor, elderly or mentally ill.

Stipend Project: SOME targeted families, the majority of who were headed by single females earning minimum wage and residing in SOME’s low-income housing developments. SOME was able to implement the MoneyWise stipend program at four of its housing developments. Participants received a series of workshops to increase their knowledge about financial management and asset building. The project’s goal was to assist housing residents break the cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck. Residents learned savings techniques and the importance of paying down debt.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Denton County Denton, Texas

As a state agency, Texas AgriLife’s mission is to improve the lives of Texans through educational programs in the areas of agriculture, family and consumer sciences, community development and youth development. Texas Agrilife’s grassroots programs allow county residents to determine program focus. Financial literacy was identified as a priority issue by Denton, Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin county programs.

Stipend Project: Texas AgriLife’s stipend program targeted limited income individuals and families, youth, college students and older adults living in the fast-growing, four-county area known as the Metroplex. The program also targeted volunteers to provide financial literacy classes. Texas AgriLife provided financial literacy classes on banking, saving, managing money, credit and other topics.

Program Outcomes

The chart below shows measurable steps taken by consumers as a result of being educated on the core principles contained in the MoneyWi$e modules. Each agency worked toward different objectives, which did not necessarily include every step listed here.

Program Outcomes
Number of Clients
Total Number Clients Served 12,572
Total Reached in Workshop/ Classroom Setting 10,948
Total Reached in One-on-One Setting 1,191
Opened Checking Account 362
Opened Savings Account 847
Number of clients unable to open bank account due to negative banking history 264
Added money to savings account 1,428
Ordered a credit report 2,678
Ordered a specialty report (e.g., ChexSystems) 207
Corrected errors on a credit or specialty report 350
Obtained a secured credit card 102
Improved credit score 1,472
Started to pay down debt 2,546
Established or updated a budget or spending plan 4,280
Followed a budget or spending plan 1,055

Stipend’s Impact on Program Participants/Community

The MoneyWi$e financial literacy program empowered consumers with core principles of personal finance. Agencies were asked about the impact that the stipend program made in the lives of consumers and their communities. Agency responses are summarized below.

Bexar County Family Justice Center reported a shift in client attitudes noting how one client commented, “I thought I had to be rich to have budget.” The Center also described a boost in client confidence evidenced by an eagerness to complete each educational module. The Center explained that clients have been victims of physical, mental and financial abuse. Many have not being allowed to make financial decisions or exert control over finances. Many clients saw their credit reports for the first time and received instruction on how to correct errors. Also many of the Center’s clients have little debt because as victims they had little input on how money was used. Consequently, many clients pay bills in cash and avoid loans. The Center explained that client attitudes about credit also change as they begin to understand the importance of establishing credit through loans, credit cards and retail accounts. The Center also trained 18 financial literacy advocates/coaches using MoneyWi$e.

The City of Rockville highlighted its program impact on program participants as well as the community. Rockville’s target audience was low-income residents who re-applied two and three times to the city for assistance with housing and/or utilities payments. The repeat applicants were placed in a series of MoneyWise classes where they learned basic banking, savings techniques, budgeting skills, how to access their credit reports and how to protect themselves from identity theft. Participants who were unbanked due to past account mismanagement were able to identify institutions that offered second chance banking opportunities. They were able to establish savings and checking accounts and they learned how to use checks. The city reports that after implementation of the MoneyWise stipend program it has seen a decline in repeat applicants seeking assistance.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas reported that as a result of the MoneyWi$e stipend grant it was able to designate a bilingual educator to the project. CCCS explained that having a bilingual educator gave them the opportunity to once again reach out to Head Start staff and clients, an audience they had no longer been serving. CCCS noted that in addition to the stipend funds, its program was enhanced by MoneyWi$e publications and teaching tools that provided CCCS educators new topic ideas. MoneyWi$e tools were also made available to credit counselors who utilized the materials at branch offices to provide client support following counseling sessions. CCCS also incorporated MoneyWi$e into many of its existing programs and community events allowing it to reach a large volume of consumers.

Empowerment Seminars noted the impact it made in the small business community and on high school and college students. The agency used the MoneyWi$e MicroBusiness module to teach small business owners how to write a business plan, establish credit, and apply for loans. Empowerment Seminars also noted the program’s impact on high school and college students who never learned how to write checks, budget their money or create a spending plan.

Garrett County Community Action pointed to the impact the stipend program made in rural communities through its collaborations. During a roundtable discussion GCCAC shared with several rural agencies information about the MoneyWi$e program and its impact on project participants. GCCAC reports that all agencies are now interested in the MoneyWi$e curriculum. As part of its future plans for MoneyWi$e, the GCCAC plans to train the staff of these agencies on the MoneyWi$e curriculum.

North Texas Housing Coalition reported that all clients attending one-on-one sessions were assisted in budget creation and were held accountable to adherence to their budgets during follow-up sessions. Usage of spending diaries was also verified at follow-ups. NTHC also reported that 12% of program participants will be mortgage-ready upon accumulation of larger emergency funds. Approximately 50% of total participants were previously unbanked and of those 23% were able to open bank accounts.

Northern Virginia Urban League’s clients expressed that knowledge attained in the workshops provided them insight on how to address credit situations over time. Learning how to read a credit report allowed them to see what the industry knows about them and how to correct and dispute errors and other problems that can affect their credit scores. Clients received help creating realistic budgets and savings plans, realized where their money was going and have become better money managers. Clients addressed credit issues and learned to live within their means. NOVAUL reports that its clients have become informed consumers with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions going forward.

OIC/DC highlighted the impact on its MoneyWi$e training participants noting that 90% of them stopped using check-cashing and neighborhood liquor stores to cash their checks. Instead participants opened bank accounts and put into savings accounts the money they were spending on check-cashing services.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Denton County was able to incorporate MoneyWi$e into several of its ongoing programs allowing it to reach a large and diverse target audience. The agency reached college students, head start parents, youth, college students who are also parents and workforce center clients. Texas AgriLife also trained new volunteers and was able to extend its financial literacy outreach program. The agency was able to recruit volunteers who retired from positions in financial management to help program clients reach financial goals.

SOME pointed to feedback received from pre- and post-tests where project participants reported an increase in knowledge about money management, budgeting and savings. Case managers conducting follow-up noted specific action taken by project participants. The steps included monitoring their credit reports, setting aside money for savings, using coupons and being more aware about their spending habits.

Leverage and Collaboration

The MoneyWi$e Stipend program provided grantees with the opportunity to forge partnerships with other agencies in order to reach a broader audience. Stipend grantees were asked if they formed collaborations with other agencies as a result of the stipend grant and whether such collaboration impacted their work by leading to increased client reach, etc. Agency responses are summarized below.

Bexar County Family Justice Center is a collaborative of partners joined under one roof to provide free services for victims of domestic violence. Partners include the City of San Antonio Department of Community Initiatives, Alamo Area Workforce, Project Quest, Capital One Bank, the Allstate Foundation, the AVON Foundation, Dress for Success San Antonio.

City of Rockville was able to offer MoneyWi$e workshops to Maryland residents who lived outside of Rockville’s city limits by collaborating with local county agencies such as Montgomery County Health and Human Services, Housing Stabilization Unit, Emergency Assistance Coalition, Rockville Housing Enterprises, Community Ministries and Interfaith Works. This collaboration allowed Rockville to reach more consumers than originally proposed in its application.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas delivers its seminars in conjunction with community partners throughout the CCCS service area. CCCS partners include local housing authorities, Avance-Dallas, Austin Texas Financial Literacy Coalition, Pike’s Peak United Way (CO), Salvation Army, Urban League, Women’s Shelters and Dallas Central Ministries. The stipend grant allowed CCCS to revitalize a long-standing partnership with Dallas Head Start. Over time, CCCS has also developed successful working relationships with local, state, and federal government and with educational institutions, faith based organizations, military institutions, other nonprofit organizations, community groups, elected officials and the business community. Relationships developed by CCCS resulted in a valuable network of resources for clients.

Empowerment Seminars forged relationships with over 60 local, state and national organizations through its interactive MoneyWi$e workshops and seminars. As a result Empowerment Seminars was able to distribute over 2,000 Moneywise brochures to its low-income target audience.

Garrett County Community Action established collaborations with departments within its agency, such as Head Start, to increase the number of clients reached. In addition, GCCAC supplied MoneyWi$e brochures to other county agencies including Transportation Services, Energy Assistance, Weatherization Assistance Program and Area Agency on Aging.

North Texas Housing Coalition formed a partnership with the City of Irving Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. This collaboration offered free services to clients facing eviction due to poor money management skills and other reasons. It also served those who had recently transitioned to private housing from homelessness or living in shelters. NHTC also increased its marketing efforts to churches with the goal of offering on-site workshops.

Northern Virginia Urban League collaborated with Good Shepherd Family Housing, Lorton Community Action Center and Northern Virginia Family Services in its marketing efforts. These agencies made it mandatory for their clients to attend the NOVAUL’s MoneyWi$e program in order to maintain their annual residency recertification. NOVAUL also marketed the program to churches, industry professionals (lenders, realtors, mortgage brokers, other non-profits).

OIC/DC collaborated with Andrews Credit Union and Wachovia Bank to offer incentives including free bank products to program participants. This allowed participants to save the money they were spending to cash checks at check-cashing and liquor stores.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Denton County collaborated with the local United Way serving the Metroplex area. The United Way began to train its own volunteers in financial literacy. New or extended collaboration was also formed with Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Family Violence Shelter.

Future Plans

Stipend grantees were asked about their future plans to sustain the stipend program’s impact. Grantees were also asked about future tracking plans. Agency responses are summarized below.

Bexar County Family Justice Center plans to continue its work on “Project Dove” through December 2011 with funding secured from other sources. The Center plans to expand the number of volunteers who serve as financial coaches in order to provide one-on-one financial education to more clients. The Center states that it has the capacity to track clients indefinitely. It notes, however, that due to the nature of domestic violence clients are often in flight, and may not return to the center unless another crisis occurs. As a result it is difficult to track a large number of clients for more than a six-month period.

City of Rockville plans to continue using MoneyWi$e to provide financial literacy education workshops and one-on-one financial counseling to the Rockville’s low-income residents. The city will be tracking program participants for one year through it case management system. The city will use stipend program outcomes, lessons learned and best practices as a guide for improving the future MoneyWi$e classes.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas plans to continue to support the educational needs of the Dallas Head Start clients. This stipend program helped make CCCS aware of the need to change its data collection, analysis, and outcome reporting. CCCS tracks client numbers daily, monthly, quarterly, annually, and as prescribed by funding sources. CCCS is in the process of shifting its data collection to include the analysis of behavioral outcomes.

Empowerment Seminars plans to continue conducting MoneyWi$e workshops, seminars and panel discussions and will continue distributing MoneyWi$e publications. Empowerment Seminars will also continue tracking program participants for 90 days.

Garrett County Community Action plans to continue holding MoneyWi$e workshops and using MoneyWi$e in one-on-one counseling sessions. It also hopes to increase its capacity to provide financial education by hiring additional staff to provide more workshops. GCCAC recently implemented a new client data tracking system in which all stipend participants were entered. This will allow GCCAC to track clients indefinitely while they remain clients of the agency.

North Texas Housing Coalition will continue to survey families that participated in the program. The information gained from the analysis will be used to identify the tools and exercises that generate the most behavioral changes and memory retention. Until completion of the nine-month program, participants are required to attend monthly one-on-one sessions. Spending, savings and steps made towards goals are discussed. After completion of program, face-to-face check-ins are no longer required however clients are encouraged to make virtual/electronic or telephone check-ins. Families also receive post-program surveys.

OIC/DC plans to continue its existing MoneyWi$e financial education program. Financial literacy is a key component of all job-training programs offered by the agency. OIC/DC tracks its program participants for one year. OIC/DC will share program outcomes and lessons learned during the stipend program with OIC staff, with participants during follow-up and with the public at large through the agency’s newsletter.

Northern Virginia Urban League will follow client progress for 18 months on a monthly basis by phone and e-mail and through quarterly face-to-face follow-ups.

SOME offers its program participants long-term supportive housing and will track participants’ progress as long as they are in the housing program. The agency plans to use the program outcomes, lessons learned and best practices to continue helping housing residents during group training sessions. SOME is currently looking for additional funding to continue the stipend program.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Denton County plans to expand their volunteer program to recruit more volunteers in the four counties that make up the Metroplex. Texas AgriLifie will track for six months consumers who attend programs conducted by extension agents and volunteers.

Individual Success Stories

Bexar County Family Justice Center

The following story describes how client Lucia’s life evolved by participating in the program: Lucia came to the Bexar County Family Justice Center after viewing a Public Service Announcement on local Spanish-language television about the Family Justice Center and Project DOVE. Lucia holds an engineering degree from Mexico (6 years of University); is very self-motivated, disciplined, and ambitious; and dreamed of having her own business someday, preferably in the food industry.

While seeking services at the Family Justice Center and participating in Project DOVE, she was inspired to start her own business. Lucia purchased, in cash, a used ice-cream truck to put her dream in motion. She currently drives through local neighborhoods selling her tasty treats. And – she is financially supporting herself! Not only did the lessons in the Project DOVE curriculum provide Lucia with the foundation she needed to make such an attempt, but she also learned the financial basics for starting her own business, including obtaining the proper permits and licenses.

After completing the Project DOVE curriculum, the Family Justice Center connected her with Center partners, including the Small Business Administration and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. They provided her with more information about obtaining a loan as well as receiving additional financial guidance and support, especially as a minority woman. Lucia also received information about the City of San Antonio’s IDA Program that provides a 1 to 5 match to go toward her new small business. (Up to $1000 earned income is matched to total $5,000.) Lucia is in the process of becoming part of this program. Lucia’s financial advocate also referred her to a local university to have her degree from Mexico and paperwork reviewed and evaluated for US credit. Key for Lucia under Project DOVE was learning the importance of good credit, understanding banking practices in the United States and the loan processes.

City of Rockville

The City of Rockville reached a single mother of three living in pubic housing who had been paying $10 or more a month for money orders to pay bills. When she was younger, she had a bank account that was closed due to misuse. After completing the MoneyWi$e Money Management class and the follow-up one-on-one counseling sessions, the single mother was able to re-establish a bank account. She had been unbanked for 15 years.

The City of Rockville also helped a divorced dad who was raising two children on his own. The father had been unable to save any money to meet his goals. Upon completing the MoneyWi$e Money Management class the father increased his savings, made debt payments on time, better managed his income and established short, mid-range and long-term goals. As a step toward reaching his goals, the father started to save for his daughters’ college education.

Northern Virginia Urban League

Erin P., a New Orleans single parent of two daughters, was involved in a bad relationship that involved her and her family relocating to the Northern Virginia area to start a new life. She had questionable credit which wouldn’t allow her to obtain an apartment through traditional means. She temporarily lived in a motel until she was able to obtain a non-traditional apartment through Good Shepherd Family Services. Erin is currently working for the Department of Homeland Security which requires an annual credit review to maintain employment. Erin successfully completed the workshop series and had a one-on-one credit and budget review. Since the review, she was able to have three disputed items removed from her credit report and is currently working on paying down other debt.

Donna E. is a single mother of two. One of her children is in her junior year in college and the other was about to enter college in the fall of 2011. She was referred by Lorton Community Action Center to participate in the workshop series. Supporting her family and paying for college expenses on $27,000 in yearly income, Donna often found it difficult to effectively manage her finances and accumulated a few collection accounts. Donna successfully completed the workshop series and the one-on-one credit and budget review. During her participation in the program, Donna became aware of several college internships and other forms of financial aid to supplement her budget and is currently working on resolving the collection accounts.


OIC/DC reached a single parent of four enrolleed in one of its Home Health Aide (HHA) job-training classes. The participant was struggling financially, often unable to purchase the required uniforms for class. After completing the MoneyWi$e classes offered as a component of the HHA curriculum, the single mother developed a budget and became more aware of her spending habits. She was surprised when she learned just how much more she could afford, especially for her children, by budgeting and tracking her spending. This single mother then passed her national certification, graduated and obtained a full-time job with benefits.


The stipend program increased awareness of the need for personal finance education, heightened interest in the MoneyWi$e curriculum among community stakeholders and enabled program participants to make better decisions about their personal finances and plans for their future.

Empowerment Seminars increased awareness of the need for personal finance education through extensive media campaigns, a series of interactive MoneyWi$e trainings, presentations, rallies and seminars. The stipend grant allowed CCCS of Greater Dallas to designate a bilingual educator to reach out to clients they had no longer been able to serve.

As noted in the report, partnerships and collaboration played an integral role in the success of the stipend program. Most grantees were able to use the $5,000 grant to increase their reach and impact in their respective communities. The City of Rockville collaborated with local county agencies to reach residents who lived outside of the city limits. Garrett County Community Action collaborated with other departments within its agency and provided MoneyWi$e publications to other county agencies.

The MoneyWi$e stipend program allowed grantees to reach and educate consumers on the core principles of basic personal finance including banking, good credit, money management, savings and avoiding scams and fraud. As a result, program participants reached during this period were able to take concrete steps to improve their personal finances. Garret County Community Action provided program participants a series of MoneyWi$e workshops on basic banking, money management, credit and savings. Of 67 clients reached by GCCAC, 36 took action by opening checking accounts, nine opened savings account 64 established or updated a budget and 18 began to pay down debt. OIC’s goal was to immerse 50 individuals in its MoneyWi$e stipend program, yet they ultimately reached 217 program participants. OIC reported that 90% of participants discontinued poor financial habits including cashing checks at check cashing and liquor stores and carrying large amounts of cash, 68 participants opened checking accounts and 82 participants opened savings accounts.

The overall success of the MoneyWi$e stipend program is reflected in the program outcomes described in this report. The stipend program helped individual consumers and families improve their personal finances and made a positive impact on the financial health of their communities.




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