What is Financial Empowerment?
Financial Empowerment – a Signature Program Area of the National Urban League - is based on the premise that people struggling at the financial margins need a combination of education, coaching and support to build their financial capability to achieve financial stability and long-term financial health. The Urban League’s Financial Empowerment programming combines financial education and financial coaching in conjunction with other needed services such as job training and career development, housing counseling, education and health to break through challenges and achieve true financial success.
The financial education components provide general information on budgeting, saving, and credit and other key components inherent to strengthening one’s financial profile. Education sessions takes place in formal and informal group settings and are provided by Urban League affiliates at their offices and other venues.
Financial education courses range from the basic core course to the more advanced courses, and participants are encouraged to move along the spectrum as their interest and engagement increases. The core courses cover the fundamentals such as goal setting, budgeting and cash flow management, banking, savings, consumer opportunities and how to navigate the financial services marketplace, and predatory lending avoidance. The more advanced courses may focus on homeownership, retirement planning, investments, and other asset building strategies.
Financial coaching is offered on a one-to-one basis in conjunction with financial education to help reinforce learnings and to help participants identify their financial and life goals, understand their own financial situation and patterns in relation to those goals, and a variety of opportunities and steps they can take to reach their goals. Building financial capability is a process that increases skills and confidence, enhances resilience and financial acumen, and helps participants find their own path to independence and wealth building.
Various methods are used to deliver the Urban League’s financial empowerment programs, including:
Individual Methods: One-on-one financial and career development coaching
Group Methods: Multi-session workshop series and overview presentations and
Mass Methods:Outreach events, public forums, radio programs, Internet-based educational programs, digital and print newsletter articles, blogs and other mass media communications.
Service Bundling Methods:The National Urban League launched the NUL Financial Empowerment Centers initiative in 2013, a new bundled service delivery effort integrating employment and career development services with financial capability services and public benefits access counseling.
NUL Support to Affiliates:
NUL supports its affiliates in this work with technical assistance and capacity building to enhance program offerings, delivery and an ongoing process of evaluation for continuing improvement. NUL staff also support our affiliates with training and support to enhance their capacity to become highly effective advocates to increase access and availability of safe and effective financial products and opportunities and sounds public policies to support families and communities of color in their goals to build resources and thrive. This support includes workshops and webinars to share best practices, on-site consulting, formal and informal peer learning, sharing of best practice models and knowledge from around the country, information on industry and policy developments, professional coaching and mentoring, shared policy and advocacy opportunities and funding for program implementation and staff training.
Where is it?
Click Here to find Affiliates that offer a range of Financial Empowerment Programs and Initiatives.
How big is it?
These programs serve roughly 25,000 clients per year across the country.
What have Financial Empowerment participants achieved?
NUL employs a customized evaluation system that has been designed to track and evaluate the outcomes of Urban League financial empowerment programs and discern the program's ability to change behaviors and achieve milestones to financial health from increased budgeting and spending practices to increases in income and improvements in credit management and credit scores.
The new Urban League Financial Empowerment Centers with their bundled service delivery approach have been achieving very significant results for participants. The combination of addressing income and earning power as well as new skills and capacity to manage finances have been highly effective in increasing income and career prospects, bank account ownership, reducing debt, increasing savings, credit scores, and asset building opportunities with unemployed and low wage under-employed participants.
Who sponsors it?
Citi Foundation, Citi Community Development, Bank of America, MetLife Foundation, Freddie Mac and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
How can I get help?
Program services and opportunities are targeted to age and stage and often available for adults and youth. If you want to change your own or your family’s financial profile and increase your opportunities for wealth building, use the link above and contact the Urban League affiliate nearest you to find out what kind of financial empowerment services are currently offered.