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Grant Funding Awarded from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

National nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation, announced today that more than 50 city and county partner governments across the country are set to offer financial counseling and financial navigation services for their local residents in need. Through a partner application United Way of Coastal Georgia, along with the City of Brunswick and Glynn County Government, has been awarded in the amount of $80,000 to begin a Financial Navigator program. United Way of Coastal Georgia will act as the ‘program lead’ while the City of Brunswick fills the ‘government lead’ role.

As part of this effort, the CFE Fund announced the selection of 31 city and county governments to launch a new Financial Navigator initiative, which will provide their residents one-on-one remote sessions to help navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 through access to local, state, and federal resources. In addition, the CFE Fund announced an expansion of its Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) initiative, which offers professional, data-driven one-on-one financial counseling as a public service, funding additional counselors in FEC partner cities, as well as pivoting its national FEC infrastructure to accommodate remote services. These new and enhanced financial navigation and counseling services come in the face of increasing individual and family, with some FEC cities already experiencing as much as a 40% increase in demand for financial counseling services.

The new Financial Navigators program is designed to help residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote assistance in navigating critical financial issues and making referrals to other social services and resources. Trained Financial Navigators will provide structured guidance over the phone that will help people strategize around supports for disruptions to their income and other financial concerns. They will help residents triage financial issues, identify immediate action steps, and make referrals to other services.

“This may be one of the most important things that we can do to directly impact the lives of citizens that have been thrown in the turmoil of lost wages, housing issues and financial crises, said City of Brunswick City Manager Regina McDuffie. “It’s hard dealing with financial issues in normal times and as we all know ‘times are far from normal.’  Providing financial direction and resources may be the difference between having shelter and homelessness; that’s significant.  We want to do everything that we can to assist our residents and citizens.”

The CFE Fund partnered with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NTFP) and Global Learning Partners (GLP) to design the Financial Navigators initiative and to provide technical assistance to partners. NTFP helped identify the range of topics that Navigators will cover and the national context for each topic; identified national resources for client follow-up; and created the triage paths that Financial Navigators will use to guide callers to relevant resources. GLP created a learning platform for Navigators, providing a program overview, Navigation best practices, and deep dives on key Navigation topics. They also created a National Resource Library with detailed information about the 37 key topics that Navigators will cover; Navigators will have this resource at their fingertips as they speak with callers.