Building Wealth and Health Network
The Building Wealth and Health Network is an opportunity for parents and caregivers of young children to increase their income and savings, improve health and wellbeing, shape their own futures, and to do so in a community of their peers.
We do this through three main components.
1 Financial SELF Empowerment Class
The Network provides a 16 session Financial SELF Empowerment curriculum. Our unique curriculum is tailored towards individuals with zero to low earned income. Financial Self-Empowerment classes are 3 hours and are a blend of both financial empowerment and peer support groups.
- Financial Empowerment– discussions on basic financial terms, resources and goals while developing techniques to apply it to various financial situations.
- Peer support groups – discussions focused on Safety, Emotion, Loss & Future (SELF) from Sanctuary® trauma-informed approach to social services
While in our Financial SELF Empowerment classes, Network members can earn L.O.T.U.S Coupons (Love. Opportunity. Trust. Understanding. Support). These Network-made coupons 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 L.O.T.U.S Coupons to pay for various entrepreneurship classes, employment training programs, background clearances, membership to the Philadelphia Zoo and much more.
2 Matched Savings Account
In addition to attending program classes, Network members get an opportunity to open a savings account with American Heritage Federal Credit Union. The Network will match monies deposited into the account $1 for $1 up to $20 a month.
- The account is opened in the member’s name.
- Members with an unfavorable banking history are able to open an account.
- The Network will wire funds directly into member’s matched 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.
The Network is a year-long research study. While in the study, we ask Network members to participate in evaluation surveys every 3 months. Members take their surveys on our laptops either at the County Assistance Office (CAO) or at our offices at Drexel University. Members receive $25 cash for each survey they complete. The survey asks questions related to:
- Employment and employment hope
- Food, housing and energy insecurity
- Maternal and child health
- …and more.
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TANF often ignores underlying issues, such exposure to violence and financial exclusion, creating barriers to economic security. The Building Wealth and Health Network (The Network), a program built in partnership between the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, addresses this shortfall. The Network provides trauma-informed peer support, financial empowerment education, and matched savings accounts to help caregivers of children under age 6 build up their family wealth and health.