The Network provides a 16 session Financial S.E.L.F. Empowerment
curriculum tailored towards individuals with no to low earned income.
Financial S.E.L.F.-Empowerment classes are a blend of both financial
empowerment and personal development/S.E.L.F. Empowerment.
Class topics include:
Discussions on basic financial terms, resources and goals while developing techniques to apply it to various financial situations.
- Developing a personal budget
- Understanding marketing and consumer culture
- Setting SMART goals
- Understanding credit history
- Reading credit reports
- Fixing bad credit
- Using financial technology
- Navigating large institutions
- Understanding the undue cost of services
- Understanding housing documents (leases, mortgages, etc.)
- Calculating net worth
Discussions on how to heal individually and collectively from emotional and historical trauma.
- Understanding personal and collective trauma and healing
- Addressing negative self talk
- Using positive affirmations
- Understanding stress and responses
- Utilizing mindfulness techniques
- Measuring and celebrating success
- Assessing personal relationships
- Understanding the impact of stereotypes
- Developing an entrepreneurial spirit
- Changing unproductive habits
- Developing resilience to overcome hardships
Matched Savings and Incentives
Matched Savings Account
In addition to attending program classes, Network members are given the
opportunity and support to participate in savings. Through a partnership with
American Heritage Federal Credit Union, members open accounts and make
deposits within the group sessions. For 12 months, the Network matches a
dollar for every dollar that members save in their savings account, up to $20
per month, in addition to providing the initial $15 account minimum.
- The account is opened in the member’s name
Members with an unfavorable banking history are able to open an account
The Network adds all matching funds directly into member’s savings account
- Network members are able to take advantage of this match for a year.
Members are encouraged to use money saved towards their financial and personal
goals. The Network does not limit or restrict how members use the money they
save. Many people don’t believe they can save money. Members of the Network
leave the program knowing that they can save and seeing the balance
in their account as proof.
The goal is to support members as they establish a habit of savings,
as opposed to focusing on a monetary savings goal. The program focuses on
unlearning the belief that saving is about putting as much of your disposable
income in the bank as possible. Saving money is about creating a productive
habit of building liquid assets, which lead to less stress and higher
Members are discouraged from withdrawing from their savings for the duration
of the Financial S.E.L.F. Empowerment sessions through restrictions on the
match. Each month a withdrawal is made, no match will be given. This
restriction is lifted once members have completed all sessions. Additional
incentives are given each week that no money is withdrawn through redeemable
incentive points that are collected throughout the program. These policies
offer opportunities to incentivize members to build their savings habit,
instead of simply focusing on building up their bank account.
LOTUS Point Incentives
While in classes, Network members can earn LOTUS points, which are given as
incentives for certain member behaviors such as attending class on-time,
completing homework and making deposits into their matched savings
account. The members can redeem their LOTUS points to pay for various
entrepreneurship classes, employment training programs, background clearances,
membership to the Philadelphia Zoo and more.
Coaching and Peer Support
While the Network prioritizes peer support and community resources, it also
offers individualized support through Network coaches. Each member is invited
to participate in coaching sessions for personalized attention to their
individual financial and personal goals. Coaching sessions help members:
- Access credit reports
- Understand bankruptcy
- Gain knowledge of tax and title liens
- Interpret financial mail
- Develop business and entrepreneurship ideas
- Create healthy relationships
- Set personal and professional goals
- Identify resources and stories to share with fellow members
Individuals requesting assistance outside of the classroom format may schedule
one-on-one sessions with coaches to address and provide referrals for issues
such as intimate partner violence, mental health and housing concerns.