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FinancialWorks: New U.S. national financial security ecosystem

The output of the collaboration is the creation of FinancialWorks, which is a U.S. national financial security ecosystem. The system seeks to build financial security for those excluded from the mainstream financial system. FinancialWorks has been funded by a $4.5 million grant from The Prudential Foundation. The Prudential Foundation is a nonprofit corporation supported by The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

The main aim of the project is to enable nonprofit organizations to effectively serve their communities, without the continual concerns about financial insecurity. The Financial Clinic is a direct service working with nonprofits to provide advice and financial security. The Clinic also runs policy campaigns to support of working poor families. A recent example is the recent passage of “Refund 529” (A9118/S6942), which promotes college savings through the New York State tax refund.

With the new initiative, The Financial Clinic will partner UnidosUS, which is a network of independent, community-based affiliate organizations. This will focus on training personnel to identify and implement the types of strategies that will build financial security. Longer-term, the resultant infrastructure will be used to facilitate in-depth financial coaching. In the first wave, the FinancialWorks initiative will engage 20 nonprofit organizations over two years.

Central to FinancialWorks is the adoption of digital technology to streamline the interactions across different U.S. states. This will utilize the UnidosUS Counseling Connection, which is a telecoms counseling program. This program creates a virtual bridge between families seeking services in one affiliate location with another affiliate to provide one-on-one phone financial coaching and other services.

In addition, The Financial Clinic’s Internet-based financial coaching platform, Change Machine, will be used throughout the FinancialWorks coaching process. This is designed to collect and track customer data. This will give financial coaches more time to focus on supporting customers’ individual action plans. A further advantage is with the collection of aggregate data to identify best practices for the field. From this new policy recommendations can be made and new advocacy opportunities identified.

In a statement, Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Clinic said: “This grant from The Prudential Foundation will make it possible for the Clinic to fully implement our financial security ecosystem model throughout UnidosUS’s vast network across the U.S. and achieve the Clinic’s mission at scale for thousands of working poor Americans.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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