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Network Components

Curriculum

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:

Financial Literacy

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

Self-Empowerment

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 achievement.

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.