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Financial Opportunity Centers – Video Series Wrap

Once unemployed, Nicole Richards found her footing at a Financial Opportunity Center operated by Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH). 

Nicole Richards was once a client of the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc.'s Financial Opportunity Center in Woodlawn. She now works there.

Photos by Gordon Walek

After graduating from a program in which she received a comprehensive bundle of financial services, she was hired at the very same Center and now assists her Woodlawn neighbors in securing employment and planning for their economic futures. 

Farther north, Paul Fountain worked with his financial coach at the Safer Foundation to establish a bank account and budget expenses to allow for long-term wealth accumulation. 

In Bronzeville, Tyrika Hogans worked with The Cara Program to develop a financial plan, find stable employment, and feel confident about her daughter’s transition from high school to college. 

These stories were among many chronicled in a recently completed LISC Chicago video series. Through multiple installments, the project allowed for an inside look at LISC’s network of Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) – organizations on the front lines of the effort to bring financial literacy, career development, financial coaching, digital-skills training, credit building and income support services to neighborhoods in need.

Individual videos from the series can be viewed through the following links:

For more than a decade, the LISC Chicago network of Financial Opportunity Centers – previously known as Centers for Working Families (CWF) – has helped cultivate healthy neighborhoods by providing residents with the knowledge they need to stabilize their finances and build on prior successes.

Kelwin Harris instructs clients at the St. Sabina Employment Resource Center's computer room in Auburn Gresham.

For many people struggling with long-term unemployment, chronic debt, and a lack of budgeting skills, simply securing a job often isn’t enough to move beyond the hurdles associated with poverty. As a result, the Financial Opportunity Center model strives to provide wrap-around services including employment services, public benefits screening and individualized financial coaching in order to set the stage for sustainable economic wellness.

Each of the 13 Chicago Centers are operated by local nonprofits with an intimate understanding of their target communities. 

Financial Opportunity Centers benefit from their relationship with LISC Chicago and the National LISC FOC Network. Specifically, they gain access to a nationwide network of nonprofit professionals working toward similar ends. When teamed with a wide array of funding opportunities, this pool of expertise allows for innovative efforts around financial literacy, digital competency and workforce development.

LISC Chicago and its FOC network worked with the City to implement the discounted Divvy Bike membership program for low- to moderate-income Chicagoans.

Among recent projects: The Financial Opportunity Center network collaborated with LISC Chicago and the City of Chicago to bring discounted Divvy Bike membership to low- to moderate-income Chicagoans across the city. 

Through this and other initiatives, the Financial Opportunity Center network and LISC Chicago are helping even more Chicagoans successfully reclaim their economic wellbeing.

The video series was supported in part by funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Social Innovation Fund. 

For more information on the Financial Opportunities Centers, contact Jennifer McClain, jmcclain@lisc.org or (312) 422-9563.

Posted in Financial Opportunities

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Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.

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