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City to Receive Planning Grant to Implement Free Financial Counseling Service for Tulsans

This article was archived on 11/23/2019

Tulsa has been selected to receive a $20,000 planning grant from the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) to implement proven financial empowerment programming. Goodwill Industries of Tulsa will partner with the City of Tulsa to offer this free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service through the creation of a Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) which will be scheduled to open in late 2020.

“We appreciate this Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund grant to provide free financial counseling to residents in Tulsa,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “As part of our City’s mission to build a foundation for economic prosperity for all Tulsans, we will use this opportunity to increase access to information and supports for Tulsans to become financially stable and empowered.”

Krystal Reyes, Tulsa’s Chief Resilience Officer, and Karla Davis, Director of Finance and Information Technology at Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, are participating in a training session regarding this program today in New York City, with representatives from other cities that are receiving similar grants. More than two dozen local governments across the country are working to replicate this proven model.

“Goodwill is excited to partner with the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Area United Way as we work together to build the financial resilience of Tulsans," said David E. Oliver, President of Goodwill Industries of Tulsa. Goodwill is a Tulsa Area United Way partner agency.

‘We need additional financial stability resources for individuals and families in our community,” said Brent Sadler, Vice President of Community Investments at Tulsa Area United Way. “The Tulsa Area United Way is thrilled to have played a part in connecting the City of Tulsa, the Cities for Financial Empowerment and Goodwill Industries in securing this grant for the citizens of Tulsa.”

The CFE Fund, with support from seed funder Bloomberg Philanthropies, as well as Capital One, The JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, is working to expand the Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) model to local governments across the country. First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, the FECs have worked with over 98,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $137 million, and increasing their families’ savings by over $19 million.

“Financially strong residents mean a financially strong city,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, “Increasingly, leaders across the country are turning to professional, high-quality financial counseling as a critical tool to build residents’ financial stability. The CFE Fund is thrilled to partner with Mayor Bynum to work towards providing Financial Empowerment Center counseling for all Tulsa residents, helping them build stronger financial futures.”

Tulsa is one of six localities selected today for a CFE Fund grant, along with Gaithersburg, Md.; Paterson, N.J.; Racine, Wis., Richmond, Va., and Washtenaw County, Mich. These six are joining 26 other local governments already working to offer FEC services.

Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. At the Financial Empowerment Centers, professionally trained FEC counselors help individuals and families with low and moderate incomes manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products. At the core of the FEC model is the integration of counseling into other social services, including housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in over 80 cities to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.