Press Release - March 13, 2017

SVCF Supports Financial Education Innovators with $100,000 Grants to Boost Low-Income Family Security

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Two outstanding and innovative financial education initiatives have been chosen to receive $100,000 each as part of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s 10-year anniversary competitive grantmaking initiative.

The special initiative, announced last year, was designed to jump-start creative solutions in each of four areas that have long been strategically important to SVCF: building strong communities; education; immigration and – the area being recognized with SVCF’s first 10th anniversary grant award – enhancing the economic security of low-income communities.

The two winning programs that will receive grants in this subject area will help fight persistent problems such as lack of access to financial education, low savings rates and predatory lending targeted at low-income families in the Bay Area.

“Silicon Valley Community Foundation has long used its influence and policy leadership to fight for improvements to the scarce financial choices and lack of educational tools available to low-income families who would like to build a better future for themselves,” said Valerie Cuevas, senior program officer at SVCF. “With this grantmaking initiative, we sought to go a step further, to become catalyst investors for projects and nonprofits in our community that have identified not just the problems, but also innovative, practical and forward-looking products to turn problems around.”

The two programs that will receive $100,000 each are:

MyPath Credit, a partnership between MyPath and Self-Help Credit Union. The program will help low- and middle-income young people build credit or repair their damaged credit. Students ages 18-24, including those in the Year Up San Jose program, will learn about the importance of careful credit maintenance and repayment through experience with a combination of credit-building loans and secured and unsecured credit cards. The MyPath Credit model, introduced in 2014, is the only youth-focused credit-building model in the country.

E-FAST, a project of AnewAmerica Community Corporation and Centro Community Partners. On a digital platform, E-FAST will provide three components that are crucial to entrepreneurial success but not easily accessible to entrepreneurs from low-income, immigrant communities of color: skill-building, access to non-predatory capital and networking/mentorship. The program will provide ongoing one-on-one technical assistance and access to vetted financial tools, including microloans, peer lending circles, matched savings accounts and secured credit cards.

The latest grants represent an expansion of SVCF’s longstanding focus on counteracting the detrimental financial options and lack of education available to millions of low-income individuals.

“The mainstream financial community ignores low-income communities as offering too little profit for too much overhead,’” said Cuevas. “But such short-term thinking leaves these families stuck in a downward spiral of debt, ruined credit and chronically paltry savings. We hope the programs we celebrate today will become models of how to turn this situation around and bring our low-income neighbors into greater stability and upward mobility.”

Read more about the 10-year anniversary grantmaking initiative, and about the impact SVCF has had on the community in its first 10 years.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.