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News & Updates from the Assets & Opportunity Network


Paul G. Allen Family Foundation: Disrupting Poverty: Coming Together to Build Financial Security for Individuals and Communities.

Posted by acoday on 03/04/2014

Tags: collborative, Financial Security, resilience, collaboration

To Financial Empowerment Network | Seattle-King County partners:

We are thrilled to announce we have been recognized in a new report from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation: Disrupting Poverty: Coming Together to Build Financial Security for Individuals and Communities. The report highlights lessons and best practices garnered from the Foundation’s examination of asset building strategies. The report concludes stating, “Partnership and collaboration have become the guiding maxims for helping individuals and communities disrupt the cycle of poverty and build financial security and resilience”. One collaborative model and approach noted in the report is the Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative, now known at the Financial Empowerment Network | Seattle-King County (Network).

Join us to learn how you can contribute to our community by disrupting the cycle of poverty by building financial security and resilience.

• Attend the Network’s quarterly Financial Empowerment Workshop. The Financial Empowerment Workshop, developed in 2011 around CFED Household Financial Security Framework, trains staff to incorporate financial empowerment into their assessment, service delivery, and program outcomes along with providing ongoing technical assistance through resources, referrals, and direct assistance.

• Attend the Network’s monthly Financial Education Partners Network meetings and workshops. The Financial Education Partners Network (FEPN) provides ongoing opportunities for networking and peer learning and sharing.

• Attend the Network’s monthly Foreclosure Prevention Team meetings. The team provides housing counselors a forum for peer sharing, networking, planning, and implementing trainings, workshops, and community events.

• Support the Network’s Free Tax Campaign in partnership with United Way of King County by volunteering and/or referring clients.

• Join Bank On Seattle-King County in partnership with 15 bank and credit unions by promoting access to affordable mainstream financial services, including checking and savings accounts, financial education, and credit opportunities.

• Join our collaborative of community partners that are offering Financial Resource Day. On March 22nd, Financial Resource Day will offer a one day event that combines workshops, one-on-one counseling, and other financial services, offered by a wide array of Financial Empowerment Network partners.

Take a moment to review the report. You can find the report and network meeting, workshop and event dates on our website at

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2014 America Saves Challenge Events

Posted by mlulion on 03/01/2014

2014 America Saves Challenge

As part of America Saves Week (February 24-March 1, 2014), a time set aside annually to promote good savings behavior, the Cooperative Extension system is launching an online “2014 America Saves Challenge.”

This free five-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online, will be held from Sunday, February 23, through Saturday, March 29, 2014. Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals at the end of each week and at the end of the challenge. To participate in the America Saves Challenge, visit the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Challenge Web site at Set up a user name and password and download a one-page user’s guide with instructions about how to proceed. Enroll in the Challenge titled “2014 America Saves Challenge.” This challenge will be among a list of names of online challenges that are currently available to participate in.

Save Your Refund Sweepstakes

The SaveYourRefund Sweepstakes makes you a winner this tax season-- win $250 in weekly drawings or a GRAND PRIZE of $25,000 by simply saving $50 of your federal refund! (Please visit the Save Your Refund Sweepstakes Website: (


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Webinar: How the Game of Credit Perpetuates the Racial Wealth Gap

Posted by lmullany on 02/27/2014

Credit building is a crucial part of wealth-building in today’s financial reality. Reaching and maintaining financial stability is increasingly dependent on your credit score. IABG, in collaboration with the Social IMPACT Research Center, has looked at credit score disparities in Illinois in our soon-to-be released report "The Game of Credit: A High Stakes Game that Perpetuates the Racial Wealth Gap." This webinar presents the report findings and explore both policy and program solutions that can help people build credit and address growing inequity.

Additional Resources

Participants Will Learn:

  • Historical policies and events that created the Racial Wealth Gap
  • New research on the connections between credit, credit scores, and minority presence in Illinois communities
  • Programs, products, and policies that can reduce racial disparities in credit scores and close the Racial Wealth Gap

Presenters Include:

  • Carl Wiley, Illinois Asset Building Group, Heartland Alliance
  • Lindy Carrow, Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance
  • Kristin Schell, Justine PETERSEN
  • Lucy Mullany, Illinois Asset Building Group, Heartland Alliance

This webinar is co-hosted by the Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), Social IMPACT Research Center, and Justine PETERSEN.

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Sign on to Support Nonprofit Lending in CA!

Posted by tararobinson on 02/25/2014

Tags: sb896, nonprofit lending, california, small dollar loans, Financial Security

Sign on to support SB 896!

Nearly 1 million California households do not have a checking or savings account. 57% of consumers in California have subprime credit scores, meaning they have to pay significantly more for loans. It is the time to improve access to small dollar loans in California and with the passage of SB 896, you can help do that.

Join MAF in supporting SB 896, a bill that would help more 501c3 nonprofit organizations in California provide access to zero-interest, credit-building small dollar loans.

  • To read more on the bill, click here

  • If you'd like to sign on the support letter on behalf of your organization, please fill out this form

For more information, please contact Tara Robinson, Chief Development Officer at and 415.670.9103.

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7 Ways to Automate Your Savings

Posted by mlulion on 02/25/2014

By Meg Favreau, Senior Editor of Wise Bread

Anybody who has ditched plans to eat a salad to scarf down a plate of nachos instead (like I did, um, yesterday) can tell you that even though we humans usually know what’s best for us, it’s sometimes difficult to actually do the right thing.

This is especially true when it comes to saving money -- for emergencies, for retirement, or for almost anything else. But there is some good news. Studies show that once we do set money aside, we’re likely to leave it there. So how do we get ourselves to save in the first place? By automating! Here are six easy ways to do just that.

  1. Sign Up for Your Company’s Retirement Plan: If your company offers a 401(k) or 403(b), this is one of the best options for automatic savings. Not only do these retirement plans automatically put money you earn into a retirement account before you have the opportunity to spend it, but most employers offer a contribution match. That means that for every dollar you contribute (up to a certain amount), or employer will deposit an equal amount into your account. That’s essentially free money, and it’s one of the biggest benefits you can get at a job. Take advantage of it.

  2. Split Your Direct Deposit: If you have direct deposit, most employers will allow you to split your check between multiple accounts -- so, instead of depositing all of your money into your checking account, you can set some to automatically go into savings.

  3. Set Up a Regular Deposit to Savings: Even if you don’t have direct deposit, many banks will allow you to set up regular automatic deductions. For example, I have a checking account with a traditional bank, and I have a savings account with an online bank. I can set my savings account to automatically deduct from my checking account on every payday. The effect is the same as splitting a direct deposit -- the money is in my savings account before I even know it’s gone.

  4. Pledge to Save Certain Cash: You’re probably most familiar with this concept in the form of a piggy bank-- at the end of the day, many people automatically put the change in their pockets into a jar, often to save for a specific goal, like a vacation. But there’s no rule saying that you have to stick to coins. Instead, pledge to set aside every $5 bill that comes your way -- or even every $10. This is a great way to reach medium-term savings goals, like buying new furniture.

  5. Use a Cash-Back Credit Card: You should only follow this suggestion if you’re able to pay your credit card off in full every month and you won’t let credit card rewards and 0% balance transfer offers become an excuse for spending more than you normally would. If you fit this criteria, start making your purchases on a cash-back credit card. Then, at the end of every month, deposit that cash back directly into your savings.

  6. Automate Your Bills: Most utilities, businesses, and even lenders now allow you to set up automatic payments. There are two ways that this helps automate savings. First of all, automatic payments ensure that you pay your bills on time, saving you from late fees and possible dings to your credit. Secondly, sometimes you can get a discount for paying automatically -- for example, some cell phone providers will knock $5 off of your monthly bill if you sign up for the automated system. If you do begin paying automatically, just make sure to check your billing statements regularly to ensure there aren’t any mistakes and you’re not being charged for services you aren’t using.

  7. Sign Up for Your Financial Institution’s Round Up Program: What if you could make yourself save a little bit every time you make a purchase? Several banks and credit unions offer “round up” programs that do just that. Every time you use a credit or debit card registered with the program, your financial institution will automatically deposit the remainder of your change into a savings account. To get started, ask your bank or credit union if they offer this benefit.

How do you automate your savings? Share your favorite money-saving tips for America Saves Week – an annual celebration of good savings behavior and financial responsibility.

Meg Favreau is the Senior Editor of money-saving blog Wise Bread — an award-winning website dedicated to help you live large on a small budget.

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Southern Bancorp Community Partners Announces College Completion Matched Savings Program

Posted by tedwards on 02/25/2014

Helena-West Helena, Ark.Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP) is proud to announce a new product for non-traditional students in Phillips County. This new offering is available from SBCP’s Individual Development Account program and is part of SBCP’s ongoing effort to improve educational outcomes throughout the community.

The College Completion Matched Savings Program provides a powerful incentive for income eligible, non-traditional students to invest in the lifelong asset of education. The program is operated by SBCP who matches qualifying participants’ savings with $3 for every $1 they save. Once they reach their savings goals and complete financial education classes, participants can use the savings to pay for tuition, books or other school fees.

In addition to being a Phillips County resident, applicants must have earned income. Applicants must be non-traditional students with less than 25 hours, or no more than two semesters, remaining to complete a degree in addition to other criteria.

“The College Completion Matched Savings Program is a great way for Phillips County students to help pay for their college education,” said Mindy Maupin of Southern Bancorp Community Partners, “If you’re willing to work hard to achieve your education goal, Southern Bancorp Community Partners is willing to help you reach it.”

Maupin urged interested students to contact the SBCP office soon as only a limited number of program spaces are available, and they will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Students may inquire about further details of the program by calling 870-816-1104 or emailing

Southern Bancorp Community Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and certified community development financial institution (CDFI) that seeks to transform rural Southern communities by increasing educational attainment, decreasing unemployment and reducing poverty through comprehensive community development, human development, financial services and public policy change. On the web at

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Kate Marshall Presenting on Financial Literacy

Posted by mjohnson on 02/25/2014

We are sharing Treasurer Kate Marshall’s presentation on Financial Literacy where she discusses the Financial Literacy Pilots, the Women’s Money Conferences, and the progress made on the rollout of the Nevada College Kick Start program last week in Washington D.C. Click here to go to the video!

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5 Easy Ways to Get Involved in America Saves Week and Save Successfully

Posted by mlulion on 02/24/2014

By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Director.

America Saves Week February 24 – March 1, 2014 is chance for individuals to assess their savings and take financial action. Did you know that only half of Americans report having good savings habits? Now is the time to take action and Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically. Take the time this week to select a savings goal and create a plan to save for it.

Here are 5 easy ways to get involved in America Saves Week:

*. Pledge to Save (Please refer to website link:

· Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without a plan. Join over 350,000 people who have already committed to save. When you take the pledge you can also choose to receive text message tips and reminders to help you save for your goal.

*. Assess Your Savings (Please refer to website link:

· Find out if you are saving in all the right places with this new interactive 12-step savings tool.

*. Saver Checklist: Evaluate Your Savings Preparedness (Please refer to website link:

· This checklist is made up of characteristics of successful savers, which include debt management. It can serve as a useful starting point for evaluating one's savings preparedness.

*. Share Your Savings Goal (Please refer to website link:

· People save more successfully when they have a goal in mind. That’s why we’ve created posters so you can put your savings goal into perspective and share it.

*. Share Savings Tips and Advice with Family and Friends

· On Twitter and Facebook? Share these social media posts with your friends and followers to encourage them to save.

America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status

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This America Saves Week: Take Action to Improve Your Financial Situation

Posted by mlulion on 02/24/2014

By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Director.

America Saves Week, February 24 – March 1, 2014, is a time to review your finances, decide what you want to save for, and set up a system that will allow you to save automatically. That’s why the America Saves Week theme is Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically. Did you know that only half of Americans report having good savings habits? Even if you are already saving, it’s good to take a look at your goals and decide if you can save more or start a new savings goal. Join thousands of others who are pledging to pay down debt, save money, and take financial action during America Saves Week.

Not sure what to save for or what to save for next? Here are the most popular saving goals of those who have pledged to save through America Saves:

-Save for Emergencies - Only 37 percent of low-to-moderate income households have a savings or money market account at a bank or credit union and nearly a quarter of savers who have pledged to save have chosen “emergency savings” as their first wealth-building goal. Learn more.

-Save for Education - Saving for education is the second most popular goal savers select when they pledge to save with America Saves. There are many different things to factor in when saving and paying for college. Learn more.

-Pay Down Debt - Getting out of debt is the #3 goal Savers select when they pledge to save. That does not come as a surprise since a 2012 survey found that 45% of families with annual incomes under $50,000 rely on credit cards to pay for basic needs such as rent, utilities, insurance and food. Learn more.

-Save for a Home - For decades, home ownership has been the main path to wealth for most Americans. Today, home equity - the market value of a home minus the balance on any home loans - represents more than four-fifths of the typical family's wealth. Learn more.

-Save for Retirement - Retirement savings is a top priority for many Savers. Saving for retirement now will ensure that you have enough money to maintain a comfortable standard of living when you stop or reduce the amount of hours you work. Learn more. Not sure how to save for your goals? Here are some saving strategies to help:

-Save Automatically - The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of Americans save at their bank or credit union, and how millions of employees save through 401(k) and other retirement programs at work. Learn more.

-Save at Tax Time - Do you spend weeks eagerly anticipating your tax refund? When the money finally comes in, is it gone tomorrow? Many people view tax refunds as unplanned bonuses. They see the money as a gift from the government, to use for splurges or treats. But a tax refund provides the opportunity to improve your financial situation. Learn more.

Take the America Saves Pledge (or re-pledge) today to set your savings goal and make a plan to save. When you take the pledge you can also choose to receive text message tips and reminders to help you save for your goal. And don’t forget to follow America Saves on Facebook and Twitter.

America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status

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Coming Soon!

Posted by acoday on 02/20/2014

Tags: Financial Empowerment Network | Seattle-King County

A new website for the Financial Empowerment Network – Seattle-King County.

With the generous support from United Way of King County, we are also transforming (and ‘merging’) our Bank on Seattle-King County and Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative (SKCABC) websites. The new look will feature pages/sections devoted to tools and resources for case managers and financial counselors. In addition, it will feature an appointment link to the new Seattle Financial Empowerment Center.

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