Financial Stability: Increasing Financial Capacity

At United Way of Story County (UWSC), we believe that when we are United together, we can find solutions that make long-lasting, positive change in the lives of individuals and families, which is why our 2018 LIVE UNITED Campaign theme is “In order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.” Because when we LIVE UNITED, everyone wins.
United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in our community. This month we are focusing on how donations to UWSC ensure that all individuals and families will achieve financial stability. This week our focus is on programs that increase the financial capability of those in our community.
UWSC as well as some of our partner agencies provide financial education programs that focus not only on educating participants but on increasing financial capability as a whole. Financial education is a key component of financial capability, but also includes reducing barriers for participants, developing relationships, and measuring success.
Women United, a UWSC program, hosts a “You and Your Money” series, a four week educational class focusing on creating spending plans, planning for savings, using banking services, and understanding credit. The program provides childcare during workshops, meals for participants and their children, and assistance with transportation to help eliminate any barriers to attendance. For participating in the program, household consumables are also given out weekly to help women get a jump start on their spending plan. Additionally, all women who complete the program are eligible to be matched with a mentor to help provide them with support and encouragement to reach their financial goals. 
Once completing a “You and Your Money” workshop series and matching with a mentor, participants are eligible to apply for the Women United scholarship program. Scholarships of up to $1,000 per year are available to be used toward tuition, books, and/or student fees at a two or four year institutions or certification programs. Scholarship recipients commit to working with a mentor while in school to support them in working towards their goals.
Iowa Able Foundation, a partner agency of UWSC, empowers Iowans with disabilities, their families, and seniors to achieve and maintain independence through lending, education, and advancing. They provide financial services and the education necessary for building credit and assets while attaining the assistive technology needed to increase their capability. Iowa Able Foundation also offers free financial coaching both one-on-one and in a group setting. Coaches offer help in obtaining credit reports, paying off debts, and disputing any errors. They also help clients develop and implement a budget, find ways to save money, and set financial goals while creating a plan to achieve them. 
The Salvation Army offers two programs aimed at protecting financial assets of those unable to do so themselves. The Representative Payee Program manages income to ensure shelter, food, medical care and more are taken care of for these individuals. The program also assists individuals in reducing any debt they may have after basic needs are covered. The Bill Payer Program enlists volunteers to assist seniors in monthly budgeting, organizing paperwork, writing checks, and balancing checkbooks. Programs such as these allow members of our community to stay in their homes longer while keeping their financial assets in check.
Increasing the financial capability of those in our community improves our economic environment as a whole. When we all work together to help individuals reach their financial goals, we can help families achieve financial stability. Your UWSC donations fund programs that can help families understand credit, manage their finances, and achieve their goals. Invest in United Way and you are investing in families futures. Because in order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.