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.
- Bank On Washington Annual Forum
- Bank On Washington Week
- Bank On Washington Film Fest
- 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.
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>
- 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:
- Lydia Assefa Dawson, King County Housing Authority
- Becky House, American Financial Solutions
- Carmen Marttila, Jr Achievement of Washington
- Barbara Maxwell, Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC)
- Liz Myntti, Lower Columbia Cap
- Jared Schapiro, Workforce Snohomish
- Devin Stubblefield, Faith Finance Center
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. In 2020, FEN supported United Way with funding and a virtual tax year transition with outreach and training.
- 33 tax locations across King County.
- 975 certified volunteers committed to a weekly 3-4 hour shift.
- 10,418+ tax returns prepared.
- $18.8+ million in tax refunds brought back to our community.
- 1,223 households are connected to public benefits or asset-building services.
- 30% of all clients served to receive EITC.
- 135 ITIN applications and renewals completed through our partnership with Express Credit Union’s Certified Acceptance Agent, so that undocumented members of our community have access to safe and secure tax preparation services.
- 325 referred to Financial Empowerment Network partner organizations for financial coaching for help with obtaining a bank account, improving credit &/or reducing debt.
- 741 calls received from the toll-free hotline assisted taxpayers with Economic Impact Payments and other tax questions.
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 email@example.com.