The Financial Clinic (the Clinic) and UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) have partnered to create FinancialWorks a national financial security ecosystem that seeks to build financial security for the working poor across the country, within UnidosUS’s existing Financial Capability Network. FinancialWorks is funded by a generous $4.5 million grant from The Prudential Foundation.
Financial insecurity is pervasive and often stymies many nonprofit organizations from fully and effectively serving their communities. The Clinic has created the financial security ecosystem, a holistic partnership approach that builds financial security at scale and accelerates sector-specific missions and outcomes. FinancialWorks will be the first ecosystem with a national scope.
The Clinic will work closely with UnidosUS’s network of independent, community-based Affiliate organizations across the country to train staff to identify and implement key strategies that build financial security and use its infrastructure to facilitate access to in-depth financial coaching. Leveraging UnidosUS’s existing services and customer interactions, FinancialWorks will engage 20 Affiliates over two years to reach more than 40,000 customers, promoting financial security in a highly contextualized way.
FinancialWorks engages UnidosUS Affiliates that are brand new to financial security building strategies and empowers Affiliates with existing financial coaching programs. The Clinic will provide extensive technical assistance and capacity support to embed these strategies into Affiliates’ programs and the daily interactions of frontline staff with customers. A pipeline will be established to connect customers with more complex financial concerns to the individualized and comprehensive help they need from partner Affiliates with existing financial coaching services.
The most critical piece of FinancialWorks is the strategic use of technology to streamline the necessary interactions across statelines. The UnidosUS Counseling Connection, a telephonic counseling program, serves as the crucial bridge between families seeking services in one Affiliate location – as frontline staff introduce financial security building activities (such as identifying a financial goal or tracking assets) and — another appropriate Affiliate to provide one-on-one phone financial coaching and deeper services. The Clinic’s web-based financial coaching platform, Change Machine, is used throughout the FinancialWorks coaching process, collecting and tracking customer data. Not only does this give the financial coaches the freedom to focus on supporting customers’ individual action plans to achieve financial goals, but it also allows the Clinic and UnidosUS to study the aggregate data and experiences to identify best practices for the field, policy recommendations, and advocacy opportunities.
While training and service delivery had already begun, the project officially launched at UnidosUS’s Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ in July 2017. The first cohort of Affiliates includes: La Maestra Community Health Centers (San Diego, CA), El Centro Hispano (Durham, NC), The Concilio (Dallas, TX), Hacienda CDC (Portland, OR), The Resurrection Project (Chicago, IL), Spanish Coalition for Housing (Chicago, IL), Congreso de Latinos Unidos (Philadelphia, PA), East LA Community Corporation (Los Angeles, CA), and the UNIDOS Counseling Connection (Phoenix, AZ).
“This grant from The Prudential Foundation will make it possible for the Clinic to fully implement our financial security ecosystem model throughout UnidosUS’s vast network across the U.S. and achieve the Clinic’s mission at scale for thousands of working poor Americans,” said Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Clinic. “We are so thrilled to be partnering with UnidosUS and grateful to The Prudential Foundation for its generosity and commitment to the Clinic.”
“UnidosUS is excited to be a part of this project and the prospects that it holds for using UnidosUS’s assets in programs, policy, and its Affiliate Network to advance opportunities for Latinos,” said Lot Diaz, Vice President, Housing and Community Development. “We also appreciate the commitment of The Prudential Foundation in supporting an initiative that is built on collaboration – by working with The Financial Clinic and building the capacity of UnidosUS Affiliates, we are all better able to tackle financial insecurity that our families face.”
The grant from The Prudential Foundation reflects its mission of supporting financial mobility for underserved communities. “As a long-time supporter of both organizations, Prudential saw an opportunity to support this innovative collaboration between the Clinic and UnidosUS to enhance the financial well-being of thousands of people nationwide,” said Shané Harris, vice president, corporate giving, Prudential Financial, Inc. and executive director, The Prudential Foundation. “We are particularly interested in supporting this partnership because it will help define and elevate best practices in financial security as well as provide policy lessons for the broader field.”