Confronting Disparities, Building Opportunities

Financial Education & Asset Building Working GroupBlog

According to most measures, it’s a great time to be a resident of Colorado. Our economy is strong (the best in the country, depending on who you ask), unemployment is low, and we might even see some meaningful wage increases.

However, anyone who has driven through the neighborhoods along I-70, glanced at rural communities as we sped up to the mountains for a weekend getaway, or talked with their neighbors might suspect those measures aren’t entirely accurate. Indeed, even a modest, middle class lifestyle is increasingly becoming out of reach for most in this state.

Within the framework of the Financial Equity Coalition, the Financial Education & Asset Building Working Group works to confront these discrepancies, and work with communities to build resilient, equitable opportunities for all.

Related: No, Workers Aren’t Raiding Their Retirement Savings

We will focus our 2018-2019 work on building deeper community ties around the pillars of community investment, entrepreneurship, and financial education. We support the core focus areas of the coalition by being engaged in community outreach and identifying new coalition constituencies, targeting additional issues that relate to the coalition’s core focus, and promoting equitable growth in the real economy.

Our first target projects will be:

  • Working with financial institutions to draft Community Benefit Agreements in pursuit of our three pillars that support secure alternatives to predatory loans and accessible retirement options for underserved communities in the Denver Metro area.
  • Supporting the expansion of affordable, high quality, and sustainable child care options using a business cooperative model that supports strong community ties. Work in this area will require us to support our three pillars and also touch on aspects of predatory lending, student debt, and providing benefits to co-op employees.

While our initial projects would not be a comprehensive approach to supporting community development, they help working families, aspiring entrepreneurs, and anyone else looking to benefit from our state’s growing prosperity by working to create community support systems and reducing institutional barriers.

Want to help us put this vision in motion? Get in touch and tell us what else we can do or let us know you want to get involved.

By Hunter Railey, Colorado Outreach Manager at Small Business Majority