Below is the Big Picture News insert from our Spring 2015 Groundviews print newsletter.
At Solid Ground, financial empowerment is integral to our mission to end poverty. Financial justice starts with helping people understand their personal finances, build resilience and achieve financial stability. On a policy level, we work to break down systemic barriers that keep people poor.
Our Financial Fitness Boot Camp (highlighted in the lead story of this newsletter) provides an important model for this work – but it is just the jumping off point for a much larger movement. In integrating financial empowerment across the Solid Ground community, we focus on people’s strengths to provide tailored support and access to resources so that everyone – including our staff and volunteers – can realize their financial stability goals and access opportunities to thrive.
We believe that…
- Financial empowerment will help our community shift from generations of poverty to generations of financial stability.
- Through education, people have the power to achieve financial stability.
- Understanding personal finances develops individual power and furthers economic justice.
- People are capable and resourceful in creating pathways to financial independence; with the right tools, they can make informed decisions.
- Financial empowerment brings awareness of one’s own capabilities and strengths.
- We can help alleviate fear of banking systems through financial empowerment.
- We are cheerleaders for our clients’ pathways to financial independence.
- All Solid Ground programs can instill the importance of building and saving assets.
- Through financial empowerment, we can help people believe in their ability to become financially independent.
In line with these beliefs, our financial empowerment services focus on…
- Basic Budgeting & Money Management: Creating savings and spending plans, prioritizing debts/expenses, and creatively thinking outside the box about how to manage money.
- Understanding Credit: Developing a better understanding of the meaning of credit scores and awareness about what people can do to improve their credit.
- Asset Building (income creation): Celebrating assets and asset-building accomplishments, and identifying ways to build assets and income-boosting supports such as tax credits and public benefits.
Some ways we’re weaving financial empowerment agencywide…
We discuss budgeting basics to help people maintain affordable housing. We connect people with job/training opportunities and resources. We provide nutrition and food budgeting education – focused on the affordability of healthy eating – and support people to grow their own food. And we work with banks to create opportunities for people to develop savings.
On a systems level, we support income equality and raising the minimum wage. We also advocate statewide for issues such as increased debt settlement regulation and consumer protections on payday loans. Combined, these efforts are creating systemic change to build a financially healthier community and economic justice for all.