Financial stability for individuals and families is a key factor underpinning achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals including SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10.
For those living without financial stability, the absence of the essential habits to get on the path to financial stability can be the biggest barrier to success. The road to financial empowerment includes personal financial skills development through example and experience.
With this in mind, Connect First Credit Union (CFCU) created a financial empowerment and matched savings program designed to build the habits needed to achieve financial freedom. The organization has embraced the concept, drawing upon employee interests in sharing knowledge and information.
“At Connect First, we want to share our financial knowledge and skills, and to offer more people financial empowerment. It’s part of our deep commitment to both our communities and our members.” says Dylan Harris, Community Investment Specialist, CFCU.
People can participate in a six-month program that includes monthly financial literacy training sessions, a dedicated coach to develop a savings plan, and a 2:1 match for all funds designated for savings (up to $500). Savings accounts can be directed towards debt repayment, RRSPs, household expenses, or saving for a rainy day … the goal is to create and act upon a savings plan, and to transfer knowledge needed to help people thrive in the long term.
The financial literacy sessions are hosted in community settings, easily accessible to the participants, including local Connect First branches, classrooms and community centres. The sessions cover basic financial skills including creating a monthly budget, saving for the future, and investing. Those sessions are taught by trained Connect First employees who volunteer their time after branch hours. Those same employees also become the dedicated banking advisor for each participant throughout the duration of the program. Through this, Connect First hopes to establish a solid skills foundation for participants, and give them a continued support system for success long after their time in the program has ended.
“Both Momentum1 and the City of Calgary were instrumental partners in assisting us to identify communities where we could have the most impact. Our employees are highly skilled and were ready to go.” says Dylan. “People achieving financial empowerment skills will have a direct impact on poverty alleviation, eliminating hunger, good health & well-being – so many of the SDGs speak to issues of critical importance here in our own community.”
The pilot year of the program runs until December 2019.
Connect First cares about helping people increase their financial skills and build the confidence to navigate towards a brighter future. They also support civic pride and local connections at a neighbourhood level through programs like the Financial Empowerment Program. To learn more, please visit: https://www.connectfirstcu.com/community
79% of LBG Canada companies are aligning their business objectives to the Sustainable Development Goals, to learn more about this and other programs, please visit www.lbg-canada.ca.