SOURCE: Neighborworks America

May 16, 2011 09:09 ET

The Citi Foundation and NeighborWorks America Announce $5 Million Collaboration, the Largest Initiative of Its Kind in the U.S. to Date, to Expand and Strengthen Financial Capability Services for Low-Income Americans

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 16, 2011) - The Citi Foundation and NeighborWorks America today announced the launch of a collaboration to expand and strengthen financial capability programs for thousands of low- and moderate-income Americans. These programs help consumers establish positive behaviors to achieve immediate and long-term financial goals through financial education and access to appropriate financial products. As many as 65,000 people may benefit from the new $5 million, two-year demonstration project.

The project draws on the nationally recognized expertise of NeighborWorks America's programs including the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC), NeighborWorks Training Institute, Success Measures and National Homeownership Programs. The scaling-up initiative enhances the Citi Foundation's long-time support of NCHEC training as well as a field-building project led by Success Measures, an innovative outcome evaluation approach that engages community stakeholders in the evaluation process and equips them with the tools they need to document outcomes, measure impact and inform change on a broad range of financial capability programs.

This collaboration between the Citi Foundation and NeighborWorks -- the largest initiative of its kind in the U.S. to date -- promises to significantly expand the capacity of nonprofits to provide low- and moderate-income Americans with the vital financial education and financial coaching needed to enable families to build savings, pay down debt and better manage their finances over the course of their lives.

"At Citi, financial inclusion is at the core of our mission. Through the Citi Foundation's innovative partnership with NeighborWorks America, thousands of underserved Americans will receive access to the financial services, education and ongoing guidance they need to help them make informed decisions to achieve financial stability and independence," said Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citi.

"NeighborWorks is committed to working with national partners to deliver state-of-the-art financial capability programs in local communities across the country," said Eileen Fitzgerald, Acting CEO of NeighborWorks America. "We are grateful to the Citi Foundation for its generous support, which will level the playing field for low- and moderate-income families -- equipping them with the knowledge, skills and behavior needed to achieve greater financial security. Together, these programs will contribute in a significant way to the growth of more stable, thriving communities."

"Our goal is to increase the number of low- to moderate-income individuals who adopt positive financial behaviors and accumulate and preserve financial assets," said Pam Flaherty, Citi Foundation President and CEO. "Through our partnership with NeighborWorks America we hope to significantly expand both the number and capacity of financial capability practitioners to provide high-quality financial education, coaching and planning services to low- and moderate-income consumers in communities nationwide."

As part of the $5 million grant from the Citi Foundation, NeighborWorks America will offer an integrated set of funding, training courses, capacity building and intensive evaluation technical assistance to a select cohort of 31 organizations interested in initiating or strengthening financial coaching programs. These financial capability programs will focus on helping people acquire financial knowledge and skills and apply them to change their financial behavior over time through ongoing support including referrals to financial products and services appropriate to their specific needs and goals. These organizations also will receive Success Measures training and technical assistance and subscriptions to the Success Measures Data System to conduct real-time evaluation of how the financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of their clients change over time.

In addition, the Citi Foundation grant will support scholarships for more than 400 financial education and coaching practitioners to attend week-long training events in Citi markets and at NeighborWorks Training Institutes (NTIs), designed to strengthen and expand their financial capability programs nationwide.

This national initiative will deepen the field's understanding of the financial challenges faced by low- to moderate-income consumers and how to establish and sustain effective financial capability and coaching programs. The project's coordinated set of activities will:

  • Showcase what methods and programs work by evaluating changes in consumers' financial behaviors, attitudes and practices;
  • Provide participating nonprofits with the tools and resources they need to incorporate ongoing impact measurement into their programs, and to evaluate the effectiveness of their financial capability initiatives over the long-term;
  • Ensure that financial capability programs more effectively turn consumers' knowledge and skills into sustainable action over the course of their financial lives.

About NeighborWorks®America
NeighborWorks® America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated nearly $20 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals. Additional information can be found at www.nw.org.

About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of low- to moderate-income individuals and families in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, College Success, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. In the United States, the Citi Foundation also supports Neighborhood Revitalization programs. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance, Enterprise Development, and Neighborhood Revitalization to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.

For additional program information, contact: Natalia Lopez-Hurst, Financial Capability Project Manager, nlopez-hurst@nw.org, 202-220-6308.

Media:Please contact Doug Robinson (drobinson@nw.org, 202-220-2360), Erin Collins (ecollins@nw.org, 202-220-6317), Anu Ahluwalia (anu.ahluwalia@citi.com, 212-559-4114), or Tyler Daluz (tyler.b.daluz@citi.com, 212-793-5234)for more information.

Contact Information