The network, originally launched by the City of Seattle, is made up of over 50 non-profit agencies, 15 banks and credit unions, and 24 public entities (local, state, and national.)
Some of the strategic initiatives of the Financial Empowerment Network
- Bank on Seattle-King County is a major public-private initiative to connect people without bank accounts to affordable mainstream financial services, including checking, savings, credit, and financial education opportunities.
- Financial Empowerment Training provides the opportunity for frontline staff and case managers to increase their awareness of their own personal financial situation, as well as to familiarize them with free services that are available and provide resource materials to assist them in addressing clients’ financial needs.
- Homeownership and Foreclosure Prevention support is still needed to ensure that people do not lose their homes. The Foreclosure Prevention Team works with partner agencies to host community events, workshops and have developed written materials on the mediation process for both counselors and homeowners.
- EITC/Free Tax Preparation Campaign connects low-income individuals with free tax preparation assistance and help in accessing the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The United Way of King County leads the Financial Empowerment Network’s EITC/free tax preparation campaign. In 2013, the United Way assisted 14,900 families and individuals with tax preparation services, returning $22 million in refunds, including over $7.7 million in EITC. They ran 17 tax prep sites, in addition to conducting 30 one day events for hard-to-reach populations and participation in Financial Resource Day. For more information, visit www.uwkc.org/taxhelp.
- Your Money Helpline Resource Guide for Case Managers assists financial education providers and social service case managers in understanding basic financial empowerment issues and in accessing credible referral resources. It is an essential tool in building a high-quality; accessible system of interconnected agencies offering financial empowerment services and is part of the Financial Empowerment Workshop curriculum.
- Financial Education Partners Network serves as a countywide network of financial education providers and participating agencies that are committed to providing low-cost, high-quality financial education and resources to low-income and working Seattle and King County residents. The purpose of the network is to provide the asset building community of financial educators, case managers, and financial counselors with networking opportunities, best practices, workshops and training that will improve the effectiveness of their approach and the quality of their services as well as to increase access of underserved populations to financial self-sufficiency services.
- Financial Resource Day is a one day event that combines workshops, one-on-one counseling, and other financial services, offered by a wide array of Network participating agencies. This community-wide event features credit and debt counseling, financial planning and investment advice, credit reports, free tax preparation, access to public benefits, housing counseling, document shredding to prevent ID theft, legal assistance on bankruptcy and consumer rights, help with FAFSA applications, education and employment resources, Veterans Services, and advice on building a growing a business.
Learn more about the network by visiting http//www.everyoneiswelcome.org