Woodforest and Family Promise
As a leading community bank, Woodforest sees firsthand the impact of financial capabilities tools for low-income families. Woodforest and Family Promise created the New Beginnings financial literacy curriculum (see below), an essential part of our Affiliates’ approach to helping families achieve sustainable independence. Woodforest and Family Promise are expanding the partnership to areas to include micro-entrepreneurship, teaching families how to create assets, and build wealth moving forward.
Woodforest National Bank Wins Two IBAT Best of Community Banking Awards for Community Service and Financial Literacy. Pictured front row: Krystian Reyes, Doug Schaeffer, Julie Mayrant, Daniel Galindo and Brenda Wendt from Woodforest National Bank Pictured back row: Christopher Williston, President and CEO, and Ronnie Miller, Immediate Past Chairman from Independent Bankers Association of Texas. (PRNewsfoto/Woodforest National Bank)
The New Beginnings curriculum, uniquely tailored to low-income families, provides a comprehensive approach to achieving financial sustainability, from basic banking concepts to budgeting and managing credit. It is clear and accessible for families of all backgrounds. It is also designed to work in multiple formats and a key aspect is the comprehensive facilitator’s guide which enables volunteers to present the material effectively.
New Beginnings is easily comprehensible and user-friendly for students and teachers alike. Its accessible structure enables delivery in a variety of ways, including: a classroom setting, one on one, or with peer groups. Since its release, Family Promise and Woodforest have identified ways to improve the content and expand its reach. These include:
- Developing a digital mobile platform, include financial capability, and entrepreneurship education
- Creating a curriculum that combines New Beginnings with grocery shopping and cooking, to create tangible actions
- Partnering with diverse groups for curriculum delivery, beyond finance, including colleges, Affiliate graduates, civic organizations, and even IRS employees
- Combining the curriculum with existing ones that use multimedia, grounding the visual teaching with New Beginnings superior worksheets
- Using New Beginnings with high school students in families at risk of homelessness
- Making New Beginnings curriculum open source, and anyone interested may obtain a copy
- Partnering with banks to include monetary awards as incentives and “nest eggs” for families and individuals learning the curriculum
But the partnership goes deeper than just financial literacy. Woodforest has fully engaged Affiliates, providing local grants and having its employees become involved as volunteers on all levels—from a weeknight dinner to service on the board. This joining of financial expertise with nonprofit excellence means the families we serve have more options and resources.
Nine years in, the partnership continues to grow. Woodforest attended Family Promise’s 2019 national conference in San Antonio and was heavily involved. Not only did they educate on the New Beginnings curriculum, they also presented workshops on micro-entrepreneurship, credit repair, and loan counseling. From discussions beginning in 2014 about how they might work together to help low-income families understand their basic finances, which led to the New Beginnings materials, Woodforest and Family Promise are expanding their relationship to teach Family Promise guests how to create assets and build wealth in their journey to financial independence.
This is another example of a shared vision with the corporate sector resulting in better lives for families.