Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection

coins growing out of a plant jar

MISSION:  The Office of Financial Empowerment and Protection (OFEP) strives to achieve economic mobility, financial equity and inclusion, and generational wealth for Denver residents and small businesses through the integration of financial empowerment policies, programs and practices.

There are seven defining programs and initiatives of the Office: 

  • Financial Empowerment Centers (FEC)
  • Free Tax Services (Denver Asset Building Coalition, Tax Payer Advocate Services
  • Bank On Denver (BOD)
  • Consumer Financial Protection (CFP)
  • Financial Navigation
  • Financial Empowerment Innovation Center
  • Citywide Initiatives

Meet the Team

Jay Salas, Director

Alvin Tafoya, Program Director

Alvin Tafoya is the Deputy Director for the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection with an extensive background in leadership and programmatic service delivery models. With more than 20 years of experience in Human Services, he joined the City of Denver in February 2019 from Jefferson County Human Services where he led and directed Child Support Services, Responsible Fatherhood Program, Parent Employment Project (COPEP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Long-Term Care, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

He was recently appointed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to serve on the state’s Child Support Commission to oversee child support guidelines and the examination of discretionary issues that impact families and children.

He is a passionate, dedicated and innovate leader who thrives to streamline service delivery for families, children and small minority owed businesses so that they can realize their full potential and meet their definition of success. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. 


Dr. Ken Seely, Collaboration & Evaluation Specialist

Dr. Ken Seeley serves as a collaboration and evaluation specialist for the Denver Office of Nonprofit Engagement and the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection.  Prior to his work with the City he served for 20 years as the President and CEO of the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children, a nonprofit partnership with five Colorado state agencies. He is a researcher and cross system leader with an extensive background with at-risk and vulnerable populations.

Ken was a tenured faculty member at the University of Denver, College of Education in the areas of Education Leadership and research design.  He has broad social policy experience as a policy analyst and consultant for the Center for Study of Social Policy in Washington, and many foundations including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Colorado Trust and the Piton Foundation. Additionally, he has served as senior evaluation consultant to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mayors Challenge and as a senior evaluation consultant to the One Community Pueblo Colorado.  



Ron Ojeda, Consumer Protection Division Manager

Ron Ojeda is the Division Manager of the Office of Financial Empowerment and Protection’s Consumer Financial Protection Division where he provides education, prevention, enforcement, policy and supportive services to Denver residents who have been victims of unfair financial practices.

Ojeda has decades of experience in the financial sector and has worked at Blue Moon Financial, Allstate Financial Services, and MassMutual Colorado.

Ron has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  



Brandon Gibson, Lead Financial Navigator

Edith Reed, Personal Financial Coach

Edith is a Personal Finance Coach with the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection. She has over 10 years financial coaching & leadership experience through her previous roles with a local nonprofit, Buckley AFB, and the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). She is passionate about helping individuals realize their strengths, gain knowledge, and build confidence to reach their personal and financial goals. She enjoys working with diverse populations & is experienced in working with marginalized communities, communities of color & the military community.

Early in her financial services journey, Edith served the military community as a Financial Counselor at Buckley Air Force Base. In her recent roles with a local nonprofit, Edith served as a personal Finance Coach. She was later promoted to Team Lead where her primary role was supervising & offering leadership support to other financial coaches. In her most recent role as Interim Coaching Program Manager she collaborated with OFEP in implementing Denver’s Financial Empowerment Center’s coaching program initiatives.  Through these roles, Edith served the Denver community through integrated partnerships & collaborative relationships with local organizations. These partnerships offer clients holistic support through wrap around services to improve their financial situation & support them in becoming self-sufficient. In addition to serving clients & coaches locally she supports coaches/counselors nationally through her voluntary roles with AFCPE®, a national certifying body for financial counselors/coaches & whose mission is to ensure the highest level of knowledge, skill & integrity in the personal financial profession.

In addition to being an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®), Edith is a Financial Fitness Coach, FFC® & an Associate Certified Coach (ACC®) through the International Coach Federation. She adheres to the proven coaching model that supports clients in identifying their goals, values & internal motivations that lead to lasting change. She is also interested in learning more about how to bring equity into financial services & served on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee at her previous organization; she plans to continue supporting this work in her role with the City. Edith is excited to join the OFEP & HRCP team & bring her skills & experience to reach the Denver community with quality, equitable financial services & support. Outside of work, Edith enjoys being outdoors, reading, listening to music & spending times with family & friends.


Mariette Candelon, Personal Financial Coach

Mariette Candelon is a Personal Finance Coach with the Office of Financial Empowerment & Protection.

She was born in Vietnam, but grew up and lived in France for the larger part of her life. She then came back to Vietnam and had the chance to be an educator there for 7 years.

Candelon has continued in the education field in the US with Denver Public Schools before transitioning into the finance industry with Fidelity Investments, and then mpowered, a non-profit organization.

At this last organization, as a multilingual Personal Finance Coach, it was with the highest level of compassion, care, and respect that Mariette was able to help low- to moderate-income individuals and families on the path towards financial self-sufficiency.

She has a passion for supporting people grow and thrive, and nothing is more fulfilling than being able to raise people’s awareness around their own talents and strengths, show them how they are valued as individuals and in the community, and that they are able to achieve their own definition of personal fulfillment and financial success.

Mariette feels honored to serve the diverse community and city she lives in and is thrilled to be part of the amazing OFEP Team.



Oscar Torres Díaz, Personal Finance Coach

Athena Vigil, Financial Navigator

Yannek Smith, Financial Coach

Lisette Zamora-Galarza, Marketing & Communications Associate

Contact Us

Financial Navigation
If you are in need of City, State or Federal financial resources, please contact us at: 

Consumer Financial Protection
If you believe you have been the victim of wage theft, fraud, scam or financial crime, please c:

Financial Empowerment Centers
If you need assistance with free financial coaching, free tax services and/or navigation resources, contact us at:

Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
9 am - 5 pm
Assistance outside of regular hours of operation by appointment only. Please contact us at 720-913-1900 or   
! Due to an increase in call volume we are experiencing longer than usual response times. Please allow up to 2 business days for reply. Thank you.

Financial Empowerment Innovation Hub

 The Economic Mobility Innovation Center serves as an information source that offers fresh and collaborative solutions to residents based on a five-prong economic ecosystem comprised of housing, transportation, workforce development, health/wellness and childcare/education options while aligning with government agencies and nonprofits to intentionally connect financial empowerment strategies to establish economic stability.


Regional Economic Mobility Network

The Regional Economic Mobility Network brings together city service providers including like Denver Human Services and the Office of Economic Development & Opportunity with nonprofits, for-profits, banks and regulators to best coordinate financial empowerment services to effectively measure their success while identifying and addressing gaps that help Denver residents achieve economic mobility.

We collaborate with:



Contact Us

Jay Salas, Director

Alvin Tafoya, Deputy Director

Ron Ojeda, 
Consumer Financial Protection Division Manager

Brandon GibsonConsumer Financial Protection Division Navigation Supervisor

Ken Seeley, Collaboration and Evaluation Specialist