Economic stability depends on the capacity of an individual or family to build assets: a home, a business, higher education and training, and supportive networks. These assets are a foundation for local economic progress, but too many families in our community lack the opportunity to create them.
LCW knows that in order for our members to thrive, developing tangible and intangible assets is key. LCW enables families to achieve their full potential through building savings, skills, peer support, and literacy of all kinds. Programs include:
Individual Development Accounts (IDA): match participant savings (3:1 or 2:1) towards sustainable asset ownership, while providing intensive financial literacy training, credit counseling, and peer support.
Wallet Wise Workshops: Do you have credit issues? Do you know how to manage your budget? Wallet Wise is a financial education program (8 classes) where participants learn how to develop a monthly budget and how to manage your finances, how to establish or improve your credit, setting and pursuing financial goals, and the advantages of being banked and how to evaluate the best banking products and programs for yourself and your family.
LendingCircles: Lending circles are traditionally formed outside of the mainstream financial system, and exist in diverse forms all over the world. They are called by various names – in the Latino community they are often referred to as Sociedads, but all rely on some informal arrangement where participants form a group, and pool their money together to create a loan fund. Lending Circles allow people to raise needed funds by partnering with others. LCW enhanced this concept by adding the ability to report and establish credit history by partnering with an existing financial institution(s), while also bundling the financial education and personal guidance provided by our financial coaching program.
Free Income Tax Preparation: Each year LCW hosts a federally sponsored free income tax preparation site. For the 2013 tax season LCW volunteers filed over 599 federal and Massachusett state tax returns.
Homeownership: pre- and post-purchase education and 1:1 counseling that guides participants through every step leading to the purchase of a home, and to becoming a successful owner. This also includes intensive foreclosure prevention and mitigation work to combat the local fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
Adult Learning: Courses in basic and intermediate ESL, GED, computer skills, financial literacy, and other areas that our members identify as necessary for family progress.
Partnerships: are the key to success. Local banks, state agencies, community colleges, credit unions, businesses, and other nonprofits all provide valuable in-kind support as guest speakers, advisors, co-trainers, and mentors to staff and participants. We would like to thank our many community partners that readily collaborate with LCW on improving the overall environment of Lawrence.
Underlying all programs is a belief in the power of the Network: our participants develop strong connections with each other that provide practical and emotional support lasting beyond one class or program. A range of volunteer and paid internships that further strengthen participants’ skills and involvement in the larger community are also offered. Programs take place in a context that links members to leadership development, program development, and community service—ensuring that people are giving as well as getting–helping themselves and their community.