DENVER – The City and County of Denver in collaboration with mpowered a local financial education nonprofit today is proud to announce it is one of five U.S. cities to receive a grant to replicate New York City’s evidence-based Financial Empowerment Center model.
The $1.9 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Living Cities’ Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund will enable Denver to deliver free, one-on-one financial counseling to help low-income residents transition from debt management to saving for a better life for themselves and their families.
“Denver is committed to providing a high quality of life for all our residents and we are working to achieve this by supplying them with the tools needed to succeed,” Mayor Hancock said. “We thank Bloomberg Philanthropies and Living Cities for helping us offer personalized financial literacy services. Delivering these services in concert with additional stabilization services will be critical to helping many of our families move out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency.”
More than one in four U.S. households are either unbanked or under-banked and 29 percent of households do not have a savings account. Today in Denver, 36,000 families are estimated to be functioning outside the financial mainstream, with many using high-cost financial services in place of conventional banking.
Denver joined Lansing, Nashville, Philadelphia, and San Antonio as the cities selected to receive Financial Empowerment Center grants through a competitive process in which nearly fifty cities applied. These cities exhibited the most thoughtful, creative approach, as well as committed leadership and strong partnerships for replicating the model in their local communities.
"The City and County of Denver has demonstrated a real desire to help families achieve long-term financial stability,” said New York City Mayor and philanthropist Michael R. Bloomberg. “The Mayors Project at Bloomberg Philanthropies spreads effective solutions to challenges that cities across the country are facing. We hope through this grant that the effective Financial Empowerment Center model will create measurable change for low-income residents in Denver.”
The Financial Empowerment Center initiative is the latest investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, the government innovation program which seeks to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Through a $16.2 million investment in Living Cities' CFE Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide grants to Denver, CO; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA; and San Antonio, TX, and enable extensive technical assistance to help each city replicate and customize the model.
In Denver, Counseling services will be offered full-time at a hub center located in the Denver Human Services Castro Building at 1200 Federal Blvd, along with three primary satellite sites located at the Denver Speer and Montbello Workforce Centers and Tramway Nonprofit Center in northeast Denver. Counselors will also provide services on a regular basis at six to eight additional nonprofit sites located throughout the city by year end. The program will provide services to 4,500 to low-income Denver households over the next three years.
The Financial Empowerment Centers program will be led by the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships (DOSP), a City office designed to build integrated partnerships between local government and nonprofit organizations. DOSP will partner in service delivery with mpowered, a Colorado-based nonprofit resource for individuals and families who want to learn about money management, participate in coaching to overcome financial challenges, and achieve financial stability.
“Mpowered has been providing adult financial education in the metro area for 10 years and we are excited to partner with the City of Denver to promote financial education and to empower families and individuals to think, act and feel differently about their money,” said mpowered Executive Director Chad Gentry. “We look forward to serving the residents of Colorado and to creating a financially health community.”
Through the Living Cities’ CFE Fund project, services are delivered in a more cost-effective manner and better outcomes are achieved across the array of social services, by seamlessly integrating financial counseling into traditional anti-poverty efforts.
In addition to financial counseling, the model has a strong focus on integrating with other services driving toward self-sufficiency, including benefits enrollment, family stabilization services, workforce training and job placement, housing, and other supports.
To learn more about the Living Cities’ CFE Fund grants, visit www.cfefund.org. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FinancialEmpowerment.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works primarily to advance five areas globally: the Arts, Education, the Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. In 2011, $330 million was distributed. Government Innovation efforts, including the Financial Empowerment Centers, are part of the Mayors Project, which seeks to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and the Mayors Challenge.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is an innovative collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. In nearly 20 years Living Cities' members have collectively invested almost $1 billion, helping shape federal funding programs, redirecting public and private resources, and helping communities to build homes, stores, schools, community facilities and more. For more information, please visit: http://www.livingcities.org/.
About The CFE Fund
Living Cities’ CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit http://www.cfefund.org/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.