Philadelphia, March 19, 2013– The City of Philadelphia today launched six Financial Empowerment Centers to provide free, confidential, professional financial counseling to Philadelphia residents. Philadelphia is one of five U.S. cities opening Financial Empowerment Centers thanks to a grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund. The $3.3 million grant is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities.
“Philadelphia is honored to be chosen as a hub for the Financial Empowerment Centers,” says Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “With 28 percent of our residents living in poverty, the Financial Empowerment Centers come at a critical juncture, offering many struggling Philadelphians the opportunity to transform their lives, and ultimately their communities. It is a comprehensive solution to a complicated problem, and we are excited to see results.”
The Centers opening in Denver, CO; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA; and San Antonio, TX, expect to serve more than 30,000 people over three years. Through the program, professional financial counselors will provide clients with one-one-one counseling and guidance on issues such as managing and paying down debts, opening safe and affordable bank accounts, building healthy credit and creating budgets that facilitate savings.
The City has partnered with Clarifi, the region’s leading financial counseling non-profit, to provide the services. “Helping low-income residents become financially stable has been an ongoing challenge. The Financial Empowerment Centers will offer Philadelphians the tools and guidance need to achieve this stability—in the neighborhoods that need it most,” says Patricia Hasson, President and Executive Director of Clarifi. “Clarifi has a history in helping people improve their financial lives and we’re excited to work with the City of Philadelphia and other partners in this initiative.”
The Financial Empowerment Centers will be integrated within agencies offering complementary services, so that clients can more efficiently receive a wider spectrum of supports. Sites include Congreso, People’s Emergency Center, Community Legal Services, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Community College of Philadelphia, and the City’s Municipal Services Building. Appointments are available Monday through Saturday and can be scheduled by calling 1-855-FIN-PHIL (1-855-346-7445).
In January 2013, the CFE Fund awarded grants – made possible by a $16.2 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies – to replicate New York City’s Financial Empowerment Center model. New York’s 30 Financial Empowerment Centers have helped more than 19,000 families reduce their debt by more than $9 million and save nearly $1 million since 2008. By investing in these five cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies seeks to further demonstrate the effectiveness of the model, making a powerful case for even more cities around the country to begin taking up this important work.
Join the conversation on Twitter using @FEC_Philly. To learn more about the CFE Fund, visit http://www.cfefund.org/. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FinancialEmpowerment.
Financial Empower Centers’ Operating Hours:
- Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, 215-686-8686: Monday-Thursday, 9am to 7pm; Friday, 8am to 5pm; Saturday, 9am to 3pm;
- Congreso, 216 W. Somerset Street, 215-763-8870: Monday, Wednesday 8am to 6pm; Tuesday 9am-7pm; Thursday 8am to 7pm; Friday 8am to 5pm;
- Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden, 215-751-8000: Monday, Wednesday 8am to 5pm;
- Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, 1617 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, 215-557-2626: Tuesday11am to 8pm; Friday 9am to 5pm;
- Peoples’ Emergency Center Families First Building, 3939 Warren Street, 215-382-2499: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9am to 6pm; Friday 8am to 5pm;
- Community Legal Services 1410 W. Erie Avenue, 215-227-4730: Monday 9am to 6pm; Thursday, Friday 8am to 5pm.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies is on a mission to improve and lengthen lives. We focus on five key areas to create lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and Arts & Culture. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $370 million was distributed. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org
About The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit http://www.cfefund.org/ or email us at email@example.com.