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Financial Inclusion Means Accessibility for All

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When we say “economic opportunity for all,” we really mean for all. As we carry out this work, we know that some of the biggest challenges facing our communities are the gaps in opportunity that exist along arbitrary lines such as neighborhood, race, and class status. Bridging those gaps in opportunity is the key to begin solving inequities.

Bridging the gaps in economic opportunity includes making financial education, counseling, and other resources accessible to all — especially to those who may not have otherwise been given a chance to gain the knowledge needed to increase their financial skills, assets, and opportunities. That’s what all of our Economic Opportunity work is about – making sure everyone is given an equal opportunity to succeed, financially and otherwise.

Some attendees at the 2019 NDI Summit.

That’s why our Director of Economic Opportunity, Sarah Dieleman Perry, recently helped to form the local Financial Inclusion and Disability Awareness Working Group. After a successful Financial Inclusion Summit put on by the National Disability Institute in November of 2019, the working group came together, set up monthly meetings and began to work on building their focus priorities which include disability awareness and sensitivity for financial professionals and understanding public benefits, among other things.

On July 21st, The FDIC hosted an interagency webinar with the OCC and Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for financial institutions and featured Sarah’s work. National Disability Institute and the PA Assistive Technology Foundation also presented, sharing information about the economic and financial challenges encountered by people with disabilities, the regional work being done to address those challenges, opportunities for financial institution engagement, and more. The goal of the webinar was to get more financial institutions to actively participate in the Financial Inclusion and Disability Awareness Working Group and to offer more useful products and services for people with disabilities.

The group also recently received funding from the Heinz and Fisa Foundations to address financial inclusion. Over the next few weeks, they will be working to plan a series of workshops. The goal of these trainings will be to educate local financial institutions on issues that those with disabilities may face when accessing their financial services and help them address the inequities present there. Because inclusion of people with disabilities is an equity issue.

We are honored to be working with a group dedicated to economic opportunity for all, just like us! Stay tuned for updates on this important work!

The Financial Inclusion and Disability Awareness Working Group welcomes and encourages more local financial institutions to join them. Contact Sarah at sarah@neighborhoodallies.org to get involved and be included on future invitations.

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