Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Mae Watson Grote

Mae Watson Grote is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Clinic.  Mae is a national field leader on issues of income inequality, financial mobility, and workforce development.  In establishing the Clinic, Mae built one of the nation’s first nonprofits dedicated to building financial security through an integrated approach, including direct services, new tools and strategies for practitioners, and large-scale solutions to advance lasting change. 

Understanding the power of utilizing technology to scale the mission of the Clinic, Mae also pioneered the creation of Change Machine:  A B2B2C software as a service (SaaS) product that features a practitioner network, data collection system, and supermarket of coaching tools.  Since the launch of Change Machine, it has been used by more than 3,800 practitioners across 600 nonprofits in 45 states, collectively putting $37 million in the pockets of over 75,000 participants. This has allowed the Clinic to grow from a volunteer-run local service organization to a national social enterprise in the span of a decade. In 2019, the Clinic was named a finalist for the Drucker Prize, a highly competitive award that recognizes an organization that best exemplifies innovation and provides it with the tools and resources to become more effective. 

Mae is an inaugural member of the New York Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Group, advising the New York Fed president on socio-economic and financial conditions faced by communities in the Second District.  She is also co-founder of Nonprofit Leaders in Financial Technology (nLIFT), a leadership group dedicated to advancing the field at the intersection of technology and financial inclusion.

In the nation’s first random control trial evaluation of financial coaching — commissioned by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and conducted by the Urban Institute — validated the Clinic’s model and demonstrated unprecedented causal effects. For example, research participants who were financial coached at the Clinic increased savings and credit scores at not only statistically significant levels, but impressive accomplishments for study participants earning an average of $27,000/annually.

Prior to founding the Clinic, Mae was a senior labor market policy analyst with Public/Private Ventures, a national research and policy organization. Among her publications, “Unrealized Gains: How Workforce Development Organizations Can Put Money In the Pocket of Low-Wage Workers” examines how nonprofit organizations address their constituents’ financial security within the fabric of their preexisting services. She received a B.A. from Rutgers University.

Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Office

Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Office


  • Building financial security
  • Financial security for workforce development
  • Building partnerships
  • Nonprofit entrepreneurship
  • Public speaking
  • Community development

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