PNC Foundation Awards $60,000 Grant to Neighborhood Allies to Build Equitable Resilience through Economic OpportunityLeave a Comment
Thank you to PNC for awarding Neighborhood Allies a $60,000 grant towards our continued Economic Opportunity work! The grant will help to fund initiatives such as the Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center and Fund My Future PGH, among others.
We face a severe racial wealth gap in our country. In fact, for every $100 of white wealth, African American families have only $5.04 (Census Bureau 2017). The onset of Covid-19 only brought this reality further into the light. The pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color, both physically and financially. On top of a higher likelihood of death from COVID-19, a 2020 survey also found that nearly three-quarters of Black Americans did not have enough savings to cover a financial emergency (Pew 2020). Those who were the least financially secure before the coronavirus outbreak are the ones most at risk during the recovery. Our Economic Opportunity initiatives directly respond to these challenges.
Over the past five years, Neighborhood Allies has developed Economic Opportunity for people of color, vulnerable populations, and under-resourced communities. Now, in the face of economic fallout due to COVID-19, our initiatives have become more essential than ever. We continue to expand, providing more services to greater segments of the population, and building long-term financial stability.
In particular, this grant will support our Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center and Fund My Future PGH initiatives, both programs that engage, encourage, and support their participants.
The four counselors of the Financial Empowerment Center provide free, one-on-one financial counseling, helping their clients with banking, saving, debt, and credit issues. Over the past year, they have worked alongside each client to address their COVID-related financial challenges, and have responded accordingly – with referrals to benefits; by revising budgets to reflect work realities and stimulus payments; by prioritizing payments for utilities, credit cards, and loans; and by negotiating with lenders and landlords. In addition to providing a needed service, these trained and trusted professionals build confidence and hope as they help their clients navigate changing realities by accessing needed resources and guiding long-range planning.
Fund My Future PGH, the effort focused on Allegheny County that in April 2021 came under the management of Neighborhood Allies, is part of a statewide savings movement. We know that children with college savings of as little as $1-$499 are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate even after factoring out parent education and income (Assets and Education Initiative 2013). So, we provide the nudges, incentives and the assistance to save. We make saving fun with chances to win cash prizes each month; and we communicate encouragement and reminders regularly via email and social media.
Our work would not be possible without the tremendous support of funders like the PNC Foundation. Thank you for your continued commitment and support of our mission to support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods!