Our Focus

Strategic Initiatives

Coordinated by the Financial Empowerment Network (FEN) board of directors and initiative chairs, service providers are connected to financial resources, education, and networking opportunities to assist their clients better.

1) Bank On Washington (BOWA)
The Financial Empowerment Network (FEN) serves as the convening agency for Bank On Washington and envisions communities where
low- and moderate-income individuals and families can achieve financial well-being.

Financial empowerment strategies and resources, like Bank On, are advanced through partnerships that support access to affordable, effective, and relevant services, products, and other resources. Learn more at https://bankonwashington.org.

Bank On Washington Initiative Chairs:

  • Reentry – Becky House, American Financial Solutions & FEN Board Director
  • Youth – Thushari Gooneratne, Chase
  • Small-Micro Business – Brenda Snyder, Washington Treasurer’s Office
  • Local Coalitions – TBD
  • National Account Standards (NAS) – Adam Stein, Columbia Bank 

Bank on Seattle-King County (BOSKC) launched in 2008, was the second in a national movement to help people without bank accounts access affordable financial services, including checking, savings, credit, and financial education.  New in 2021, BOSKC is focused on youth and includes a youth-led coalition. 

FEN supports the Bank On National Account Standards (NAS) and works with local banks and credit unions to improve the availability of appropriate low-cost, low-fee transactional accounts. To ensure that these new customers are successful, they must also have access to high-quality financial education and counseling to help them move forward on the financial continuum.

To that end, FEN supports and promotes a vibrant Bank On Learning Community and offers continuing financial education to public, private, and nonprofit staff in the field.

  1. Bank On Washington Annual Forum 
  2. Bank On Washington Week
  3. Bank On Washington Film Fest
  4. Bank On Washington Reentry Pilot Project

Bank On Washington has opportunities for volunteer presenters from banks and credit unions. Find Out More Here>

2)  Financial Empowerment Integration 
Since 2011 FEN has offered Financial Empowerment Workshops for continuing financial education and as a way to support organizations in integrating financial empowerment into their service delivery.

The workshop was part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) national field scan and publication, Financial empowerment training for social service programs.

Financial Coaching Community Group is an initiative  formed to connect the financial coaching community in Washington State and provide opportunities for coaches to gather on a regular basis to network with one another, share best practices, learn from, and support each other. 

 Financial coaches from across the state who engage in 1:1 & group coaching, mentoring, financial education, and financial counseling. All are welcome, coaches who are brand new to the field and coaches with decades of experience. Many people may not consider themselves to be coaches, but if you are providing support with a coaching mindset this group is for you.

Co-chaired by Donna O’Connor with Hopelink and Barbara Maxwell of the Blue Mountain Action Council with the support of Jennifer Quiroz. Reach out to any of us if you have questions!

Volunteer and Professional Learning Series
To empower others, you first must be empowered yourself. ~ Alice Coday

FEN offers opportunities for professionals in the field and volunteer presenters from public, private, and nonprofit organizations resources and continuing education. Learn more here>

    • Reentry
    • Youth
    • Small-Micro Business
    • Financial Empowerment

Coalition Building Learning Series
The series’ objective is to offer local and national coalitions resources and knowledge for leadership development, sustainability, and succession planning. Learn more here> 

The financial empowerment monthly newsletter and website at www.everyoneiswelcome.org is a regional resource to assist professionals in the field in accessing credible referral resources and training opportunities. It is an essential tool in building a high-quality, accessible system of interconnected agencies offering financial empowerment services.

Financial Empowerment Trainers Task Force
There is a growing need to expand continuing education and retain qualified trainers to ensure ongoing financial training for nonprofit professionals in Washington state.

The Regional Task Force’s objective is to vet existing curricula, review trainer applications based on established criteria, review and recommend workshop pricing strategies, and suggest ongoing financial education development for professionals in the field.

Task Force Members:

3)  EITC/Free Tax Preparation Campaign connects low-income individuals with free tax preparation assistance and helps in accessing the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The United Way of King County leads FEN’s EITC/free tax preparation campaign and continues to serve households across King County, making the most vulnerable households the highest priority.  

FEN supportsUnited Way with funding and a virtual tax year transition with outreach and training. 

During the 2021 tax season, there were a total of 4013 households, totaling $7,083,686. This is particularly impressive given that 88% of those were in a virtual environment, a new feature in response to COVID crisis. Another priority has been reaching those clients who qualify for unique tax credits such as Economic Impact Payments and Child Tax Credits – to this end, UWKC $1,432,937 EITC and $1,793,679 CTC. The Tax team strengthened critical partnerships with Multi Service Center and Seattle Goodwill, the 2 locations where there was consistent space for in person services; something not thought possible entering the tax season. 

The Tax Team continued a strong team of volunteers, despite the lack of physical sites and in person administration typically available. There were 342 volunteers, many who have/will continue volunteering through the post season work. The client satisfaction survey (210 precipitants) revealed that despite an unusually dynamic year, 177 (80%) clients report being satisfied with tax services. 

4)  Homeownership and Foreclosure Prevention support is still needed to ensure that people do not lose their homes. The Foreclosure Prevention Team collaborates with partner agencies to host community events and workshops and has developed written materials on the mediation process for both counselors and homeowners; Homeowner’s Guide to Foreclosure Mediation.

The Foreclosure Prevention Team also created the Washington Foreclosure Prevention Resource Guide: A Tool to Educate Homeowners about the Foreclosure Process.  The guide is updated and reviewed by the Foreclosure Prevention Team to help homeowners who are at risk of default or are trying to modify their loans.

5)  Homeownership & Foreclosure Prevention Initiative Chairs:

  • Tom McKay, Northwest Justice Project (NJP)
  • Linda Taylor, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle

Are you interested in learning more or volunteering?  If so, contact Jennifer Quiroz at jennifer@fenwa.org.