Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Mae Watson Grote
Mae Watson Grote is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Clinic. For over a decade, she has been an important voice in New York City’s public interest, legal and social service communities, leading a number of diverse initiatives for organizations such as the Legal Aid Society and FoodChange.
Nationally, Mae is a national field leader on issues of workforce development, income inequality and financial mobility, frequently sought to participate in panels and conferences throughout the country, including engagements with such prestigious institutions as the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), The New America Foundation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, The Center for Social Development (CSD), where she delivered the keynote address at their celebrated event in honor of Financial Capability Month, and the Federal Reserve Board. Mae is a 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 founding the Clinic, Mae established 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. In 2012, the American Bar Association (ABA) awarded Mae and the Clinic the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, honoring the Clinic for matching the unmet legal needs of the middle class and making creative contributions to the delivery of legal services in ways that are exemplary and replicable. In the most rigorous evaluation of financial coaching to date, a landmark national study validated the Clinic’s model and demonstrated unprecedented causal effects of financial coaching on positive financial behavior and enhanced financial security. For example, research participants who received financial coaching at The Financial Clinic increased savings and credit scores at impressive and statistically significant levels.
Prior to founding the Clinic, Mae was a senior labor market policy analyst with Public/Private Ventures, a national nonprofit research and policy organization. She has extensive experience in work supports and low-wage, low-skilled workers’ self-sufficiency issues. 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 and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law who recognized her work in the field of financial security in 2008 in their 20th anniversary alumni review.