Financial Education Partnership-Washington County
We know that finding housing is just one piece of the puzzle to financial stability; being able to manage one’s income and finances is another! Our county is ranked as the 4th highest county in the state for families struggling to make ends meet; most of our residents are literally living paycheck to paycheck. In a recent article published by 247 wallst.com, the Hagerstown-Martinsburg metro area was listed as the city hit hardest by poverty in the state of Maryland.
Reach is the lead agency in a collaborative of non-profits providing financial education, services and supports to the residents of our county.
The collaborative is known as the Financial Education Partnership-Washington County and was launched in 2015.
Funded by a community impact grant from the United Way Washington County, this collaborative is the first of it’s kind in the state of Maryland and was awarded “The Best Community Development Collaboration” by the Community Development Network of Maryland in September 2017!
We began providing financial education classes in December of 2015; each collaborating agency provides classes to their target population/clientele, but we also offer classes to the general public as well. These collaborating agencies are:
- Hagerstown Housing Authority
- Horizon Goodwill Industries
- Interfaith Service Coalition (Hancock)
- Lasting Change Recovery Solutions for Women (formerly known as the W House)
- Washington County Community Action Council
Our financial education curriculum comes from the CASH Campaign of MD, which is a nonprofit that promotes the economic advancement for low-to-moderate income individuals and families across Maryland.
- Daily Money Management-how to choose a bank or credit union, the basics of managing a bank account, savings, etc
- Creating a budget and sticking to it; tracking your spending and identifying wants vs. needs
- Your credit; why it’s important to monitor your credit, disputing errors, credit scores and how to build/re-build your credit
- Taxes; available credits, where to get them prepared and why it’s important to file them and most importantly, planning/spending your refund wisely
- Saving more and spending less; why it’s important to have an emergency fund as well as tips and tricks to help you build up your savings.
Since December of 2015:
773 Washington County Residents have been served by the collaborative
56% of those individuals have completed our program
Of those 56% who have completed the program:
26% have opened a new bank account
25% increase in filing of tax returns
30% reported they have increased their savings
36% of individuals have reduced their debt.
In June 2018, we launched a new program called “Getting Ahead” which is based on Phillip DeVol’s “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World”. It’s a 15-week program of facilitated conversation about what poverty looks like in our community. Our facilitator guides the participants through a series of self-assessments to help them build personal networks and resources to help them on their journey to self-sufficiency. For more information or to register for the fall session of “Getting Ahead” please contact Kelli Tencer at 301-733-2371 (ext 107) or email email@example.com.
For more information or to see a schedule of financial education classes, you can find the Financial Education Partnership on Facebook @FEPWC