Economic Opportunity Initiatives
Economic Opportunity Initiatives Amid COVID-19
The Financial Opportunity Centers at Oakland Planning and Development Corporation and Mon Valley Initiative are open and available to assist with employment, financial, and benefits coaching. The Financial Empowerment Center is serving anyone in need of free financial counseling through phone or video sessions. Together, the FOC and FEC network has 8 trained professionals serving Allegheny County and can respond to immediate needs such as accessing public benefits and applying for unemployment compensation, as well as longer-term issues such as prioritizing a stimulus check and setting savings goals.
Our Pittsburgh Saves campaign is active through April 30, and offers a $200 prize to one person each week who takes the America Saves Pledge.
Fund My Future provides incentives and assistance to families to save for their children’s futures, and during April provides additional chances to win for those unable to make deposits.
We are also promoting these bank accounts that are certified to be safe, affordable, and able to be opened online, to those who need an account to access direct deposit of their stimulus checks; banks with a local presence include Dollar, First Commonwealth, Bank of America, Chase, and KeyBank.
Through our Economic Opportunity Initiatives, Neighborhood Allies positions individuals and families in Pittsburgh to increase their opportunities, skills and assets. We develop strategic partnerships, raise philanthropic and government funding, launch successful national programs, create new initiatives and analyze data to track outcomes.
Our Economic Opportunity Initiatives include:
- Asset Building Network
- Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC)
- Financial Empowerment Center (FEC)
- Fund My Future
- Bank On Pittsburgh
- Financial Counseling Cohort
We created the Asset Building Network to coordinate local resources. Launched in 2016, the network is a collaborative community for learning and advocacy that strengthens program and policy efforts to increase economic opportunity. We host a quarterly meeting of representatives of service providers, financial institutions, government and regional entities.
Through our Asset Building Network (ABN), we promote the following initiatives that provide opportunities to Pittsburghers to achieve financial health:
- Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) offer three core services – employment counseling, access to benefits and financial coaching – that equip clients to increase earnings, build credit, reduce expenses and boost assets. Located at Goodwill of SW PA, Mon Valley Initiative and Oakland Planning & Development Corporation.
- The Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), an initiative with the City of Pittsburgh and Advantage Credit Counseling, provides free, one-on-one financial counseling by professionally trained counselors to help manage their finances, reduce debt, increase savings, improve credit and access safe banking. Counseling is integrated into ten social service agencies across the city.
- Fund My Future, a program of Propel Schools, offers incentives to families throughout Allegheny County to open bank accounts and save for their children’s future. Connected by 20 local partners and encouraged by the chance to win $1,000 each month, 2,800 families currently participate.
- Bank On Pittsburgh creates opportunities for unbanked and underbanked people to access basic, free or low-cost accounts with local financial institutions. Partnering with the Urban League and City of Pittsburgh, we promote the adoption of national account standards with banks and integrate banking access into social services.
- We created a Financial Counseling Cohort to meet the growing demand for trained and experienced financial counselors. 15 social service professionals build their skills through the Accredited Financial Counselor™ program and meet monthly for additional peer supports.
To get involved or for more information about any of these initiatives, please contact Sarah Dieleman Perry, Director of Economic Opportunity, at firstname.lastname@example.org.