Family Promise, the leading national nonprofit providing comprehensive services and support for families experiencing homelessness, and Woodforest National Bank, one of the nation’s strongest community banks with more than 740 branches across 17 states, announced they are expanding their three-year-old partnership to provide more financial opportunities for the families they serve.
In 2014, Family Promise and Woodforest National Bank partnered to create New Beginnings, a comprehensive financial literacy curriculum designed specifically to address the needs of low-income families—the types of families Family Promise Affiliates are serving nationwide. The curriculum provides a comprehensive set of modular lessons in budgeting, credit, saving, banking, and smart shopping.
Since inception, New Beginnings has been adopted by a majority of Family Promise Affiliates and is a foundational resource provided to new Affiliates as part of their initial programming. In addition, the vast majority of Affiliates with Woodforest presence in their communities have been engaged with Woodforest staff—through the community’s branch providing expert hands-on training, general volunteerism, and by serving in leadership roles on Affiliate boards and committees. These relationships increase Woodforest’s presence in the community while providing effective opportunities for families to reclaim sustainable independence.
Building on those successes, in October, 2017, Family Promise and Woodforest announced at Family Promise’s National Conference that they will be expanding the partnership to include three new initiatives:
- Digitized New Beginnings – provides a web-based, interactive tool to help families increase their learning and skills outside of the classroom, reinforce lessons graduates learned while in the Family Promise program, and create a resource for other community organizations serving low-income individuals.
- Micro-Entrepreneurial Initiative – engages individuals with the capacity and motivation to go beyond basic financial concepts to begin some level of enterprise, such as creating a stand-alone business or additional income. In short, to help families build assets for their futures.
- Financial Capability Program—teaches families to make sound financial decisions to improve their overall financial health while positioning them for greater financial stability and mobility.
“We are extremely grateful to join forces with Family Promise and its Affiliates to expand delivery methods for financial literacy by digitizing New Beginnings. Collectively we’ve educated thousands of families and individuals, and it feels great to empower our local communities with the knowledge to make educated decisions for their financial needs,” said Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank.
He continued: “We’re also excited to further our collaboration with Family Promise by creating a responsive, micro-enterprise curriculum focused on strengthening financial capability. This endeavor adds new resources to Family Promise’s already expansive program offerings and is key for micro-enterprise development in areas that need it most. Overall, our partnership with Family Promise helps us make a direct impact in the communities we serve, and we look forward to continuing this momentum.”
Family Promise CEO, Claas Ehlers, echoes this shared commitment: “We are thrilled to expand the partnership with Woodforest National Bank. This collaboration has been incredibly valuable to the families we serve, our Affiliates, and Family Promise nationally. Woodforest understands the need to invest in communities and people, and shares our belief that skills and assets can move families not just from homelessness but to sustainable independence. We are fortunate to partner with such a visionary corporation.”
This innovative venture has grown organically over the years as a result of the strategic, collaborative approach adopted by both organizations. As it continues to expand in 2018, the partnership will extend far beyond the core services of financial literacy, empowering families to control their financial futures, build assets, create employment opportunities and, ultimately, to break the cycle of poverty.