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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Announces $400,000 in State Grants To Support Financial Wellness and Empowerment Programs

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez today announced the release of three state grants totaling more than $400,000 that will be used to support programs focused on improving the financial wellness of Connecticut residents with a priority focus on women and girls. The grants are being awarded through a competitive RFP process issued by the Connecticut Department of Banking that solicited proposals centered on the grant’s objectives.

“These grants will be used to support programs that empower people to improve their own financial stability through education and training, with a particular focus on our underserved populations, including women and girls,” Governor Lamont said. “I appreciate the partnership of the organizations that are working in our shared goal of helping people get on the road to financial independence and wellness.”

“Empowering women towards financial wellness benefits all of us,” Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, who serves as chairperson of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, said. “Decades of research have shown that the benefits of women’s full participation in economies are enormous. By uplifting women and girls, we can increase financial stability in their households, as well as their local communities and broader societies. Through these partnerships, we are increasing the opportunity and accessibility – especially for women and girls – of these essential programs that will help propel them, and their communities, to a better financial future.”

“The recipients have demonstrated that they can effect real change with the money allocated from this grant,” Commissioner Perez said. “I would like to thank all the committee members who thoroughly reviewed each proposal. It was a difficult decision, as all the proposals had merit. While we could not fund all applicants, it is encouraging to see the various organizations working and making a difference each day in people’s lives.”

The Connecticut Department of Banking sourced the grants from settlement funds with various companies. As per those arrangements, a portion of the monies are set aside for financial wellness and investor education. A committee, composed of department staff, representatives of other state agencies, and industry professionals, reviewed 15 responses to the department’s RFP. Consideration was given to organizations, entities, coalitions, and collaborations able to reach and assist underserved communities, with a priority on women and girls, to improve their financial wellness and empowerment.

Each application required a detailed description that included:

  • the program’s method of delivery of financial education;
  • the targeted demographic of the program;
  • information regarding the nature and structure of the program including the programs goals for participants;
  • how the proposed program would go beyond what is available and to what extent would the program serve as an innovative and scalable model; and
  • how success of the program would be measured and, if available, information pertaining to the success of past programs.

The committee considered the following factors and gave preference to proposals that:

  • empower individuals with financial capabilities that help prepare them to meet their future financial goals;
  • describe the benefits of saving and checking accounts;
  • teach the importance of establishing good credit as a foundation for future financial success;
  • encourage individuals to think long-term by teaching investing principles;
  • deliver information regarding consumer protection including high-cost loans, frauds/scams, cybersecurity, and identity theft;
  • apply knowledge to practical skills and real-life experiences;
  • inspire participants to set personal and financial goals and demonstrates how those goals can be achieved
  • provide participants with the ability to seek follow-up services; and
  • build upon current programs in a manner that is innovative, measurable and scalable.

The following organizations have been selected to receive the grants:

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will receive a $250,000 state grant to expand seven of its Financial Opportunity Centers, which are located throughout Connecticut. These serve as career and financial coaching service centers that provide three core services to individuals with low-to-moderate incomes: one-on-one employment coaching, one-on-one financial coaching, and access to benefits that help build credit, savings, and assets. The centers also have the opportunity to transition into Bridges to Career Opportunity Centers. These funds will be used to enhance one-on-one financial coaching, and access to benefits that help build credit, savings, and assets.

“LISC Connecticut is excited to receive this support from the Connecticut Department of Banking, which will strengthen our network of seven Financial Opportunity Centers across the state,” Jim Horan, senior executive director of LISC Connecticut, said. “With this award, our clients will receive budget coaching to save $500 over the course of a year, which will be matched two-to-one with Department of Banking funds and support from Liberty Bank. At the end of the year, clients will have $1,500 and improve their credit score.”

The Village for Families and Children

The Village for Families and Children will receive a $103,911 state grant for its Boosting Financial Wellness for Greater Hartford Families project, which will support connection between its Financial Opportunity Center and its family-centered programs based at the Spring Street site in Hartford. The Village’s Financial Opportunity Center helps low and moderate-income adults living in the Hartford area to effectively manage their finances and achieve financial goals. The Village served more than 690 families at the Spring Street site in the most recent program year. Many of these were single-parent, female-led households.

“At The Village, we know that there is a direct relationship between financial health and overall well-being,” Tammy Freeberg, vice president of strategy and planning for The Village for Families and Children, said. “This grant will increase capacity and resources for our Financial Opportunity Center, helping us to empower more families in Greater Hartford with education, coaching, and tools to achieve financial wellness and gain stability in many aspects of their lives.”

United Way of Southeastern Connecticut

The United Way of Southeastern Connecticut will receive a $50,000 state grant for its Path to Financial Wellness program. The mission of this program is to provide an opportunity for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and female-led households to engage in financial literacy education on their own time and at their own page, and to provide an opportunity for those individuals to make empowered financial decisions. The program will utilize self-directed e-learning and professional financial coaching to guide participants in gaining financial stability through self-assessment, goal setting, and practical application of financial literacy skills. The grant funding will allow them to provide their program to the Greater New London area.

“United Way of Southeastern Connecticut is excited to bring our Path to Financial Wellness program to New London County,” Dina Sears-Graves, president and CEO of the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, said. “We are excited to partner with local nonprofits and Chelsea Groton Bank to provide members of our community an opportunity to make empowered financial decisions. This program aims to increase financial stability, focusing on communities that are disproportionately affected by financial hardship including female single-headed households, Black, Indigenous and people of color.”

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