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City of High Point Harnesses Support from REALTORS Associations Locally, Statewide, and Nationally

As a former real estate broker, Sofia Crisp knows why REALTORS would want to support IDA programs. “People buying houses benefit REALTORS. It’s a win-win. Homeownership touches so many industries.” Now Crisp is the Project Manager for the City of High Point, North Carolina’s AFI project, and she uses her experience as a broker to garner support for the IDA program.

After serving as a real estate broker for many years, Crisp joined the Guilford County Homeownership Center (GCHC) as Executive Director. GCHC offers money management classes, credit education, and home purchase preparation for prospective homebuyers, as well as foreclosure counseling. Crisp has stayed active with the local Greensboro Regional REALTORS Association and serves on its committee for affordable housing.

Crisp’s colleagues in the Association understand the importance of educating homebuyers to make successful purchases. They volunteer to teach parts of the GCHC homebuyers class, and the Association sponsors the classes by covering the cost of materials. Their financial contributions are matched by Homes4NC, the foundation of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS. Homes4NC supports affordable homeownership programs around the state not just for public relations, but because it makes business sense too.

“Affordable housing is the first rung of the homeownership ladder. If we protect it and generate additional workforce housing then everything else falls in place. I can’t sell houses on the higher end if we don’t create homeownership opportunities at the affordable level,” says Danny Brock of Century 21 Brock & Associates and North Carolina Association of REALTORS Past President. Crisp believes that when the economy picks back up, she may be able to solicit non-federal IDA matching funds from the Associations as well.

Having this support at the local level has also led to support from the National Association of REALTORS. Earlier this year, the Greensboro Regional REALTORS Association submitted a proposal on behalf of GCHC for the National Association to sponsor a one-day event on home maintenance. Home Depot will also be a supporter of the event. Crisp sees teaching about home maintenance as a way to prepare her homebuyers and also prevent future foreclosures. “With a lot of the foreclosures we see, people missed mortgage payments because they had to pay for home repairs. And honestly, a lot of those repairs could have been prevented with regular maintenance,” she said.

Learn more about the Guilford County Homeownership Center.

March 8 , 2012

City of High Point Harnesses Support from REALTORS Associations Locally, Statewide, and Nationally

Electronic Applications Are Mandatory for March and May 2012 Grant Cycles

Survey of Financial Education Practices of AFI Grantees – Due March 30

Register for AFI Financial Education Training Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – April 17 - 18

Webinar: Improving Your Project with AFI²: Orientation to the AFI² system

Webinar: Tools for Success: Financial Institution Partnerships for IDA Programs – March 13

Webinar: Joining Forces: Creating Successful IDA Networks – March 21

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Seeks Experts for Consumer Advisory Board

National Financial Capability Challenge Offered March 12 – April 13


 

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Electronic Applications Are Mandatory for March and May 2012 Grant Cycles

The AFI Program will review and fund new grants during two more grant cycles in 2012:

  • Spring Cycle: March 26, 2012
  • Summer Cycle: May 25, 2012

Starting this month, the AFI grant application process is going paperless. All applications for funding must be submitted electronically via grants.gov. Paper applications submitted by mail or hand-delivery will not be accepted.

The first step of submitting an application electronically is to apply for grants.gov password and download the “Grant Application Package” editable PDF to your computer.

To learn more about submitting an AFI application via the grants.gov system:

Additional Application Resources

The AFI Resource Center will continue to host a series of calls and webinars to help prospective applicants develop a grant application. Register online now to participate in these interactive calls and learn more about AFI application requirements and procedures.

Additional information about applying for an AFI grant is available in the Apply for an AFI Grant section of idaresources.acf.hhs.gov:

The Apply for an AFI Grant section of idaresources.acf.hhs.gov also contains the AFI Project Builder, a guidebook for organizations that want to design and implement an asset building program supported by the AFI Program. The AFI Project Builder toolkit contains worksheets and other tools to help grantees design and implement their program.

Survey of Financial Education Practices of AFI Grantees – Due March 30

AFI grantees are required to provide general financial education training to AFI participants before an asset can be purchased. In addition to this financial education requirement, grantees may provide a range of financial education trainings to AFI participants. For example, AFI grantees may provide asset-specific training to prepare participants for an investment in a housing-, education-, or business-related asset. Some grantees also offer additional supportive services related to financial education such as advanced topics in financial education or financial counseling/coaching. However, we don’t know enough about these efforts by AFI grantees. The financial education survey is intended to gather this information and help inform the AFI Program, other grantees and the asset-building community about current practices and support needed for these efforts.

Information about what’s working well and challenges that remain will strengthen the quality of financial education training, tools, and resources to meet the financial education training needs of AFI grantees, and ultimately affect grantee and participant outcomes. The information to be collected provides a great resource to the asset-building community to learn about best practices and the challenges of providing financial education. It may also identify opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing among programs with similar program and education goals.

While this survey asks for an overview of all financial education training provided by an AFI grantee, the primary focus of this survey is on the required general education training provided to AFI participants. The Survey of Financial Education Practices of AFI Grantees covers the following topics:

  • Overview of the grantee’s financial education programs and one-on-one coaching offerings;
  • Timing and extent of the grantee’s financial education requirements for AFI participants;
  • Format, frequency, and availability of grantee’s financial education programming;
  • Financial education course content, variations in content, and gaps in available financial education curricula;
  • Financial education curricula, training materials, and other tools used by grantee for teaching participants;
  • Methods and measures used for tracking participant outcomes;
  • Grantee internal staffing, functions, and level of effort for providing financial education;
  • Grantee use of external resources (staff of partner organizations, volunteers, consultants) and their functions and level of effort for providing financial education;
  • Funding sources and amounts devoted to financial education;
  • Maintaining participant engagement and other challenges to the grantee’s financial education programs; and
  • Grantee training and technical assistance needs in the area of financial education.

In mid-February all AFI grantees were sent an email link to complete this survey. The survey should take about an hour to complete. The completed survey is due by March 30, 2012. Thank you in advance for your help with this important information gathering task.

Register for AFI Financial Education Training Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – April 17 - 18

The AFI Resource Center will sponsor a financial education academy in Philadelphia on April 17-18. The session, Content and Skills for Making Financial Education Effective and Engaging: Financial Education Training for Trainers: The Next Level. This training is designed for those who attended the Level One training previously or who have three or more years of direct financial education experience. The training is designed to provide AFI grantees and others with opportunities to further develop their financial education delivery skills and content knowledge on advanced financial education topics. The training includes the following topics:

  • Using and combining different approaches to deliver financial education and the level of outcome/impact to be expected using these approaches.
  • Applying the core concepts of behavioral economics to financial education program design.
  • Using new activity ideas in the context of financial education.
  • Keeping participants motivated during the financial education learning process and using new skills, resources and financial management services/products as a result of financial education efforts.
  • Facilitating sessions on:
    • Principles of saving and investing in the new economy
    • Asset protection
    • Consumer protections including consumer rights and responsibilities
    • Credit scores
  • Integrating concepts of media and economic literacy into financial education efforts.
  • Facilitating sessions on budgeting for people at different stages of life.

The Training will start at 9:00 a.m. the first day and end at 3:30 p.m. the second day. It will take place at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. For more information, see the event page on idaresources.acf.hhs.gov.

Travel Reimbursements Available to AFI Grantees. For AFI grantees only, a $600 travel stipend reimbursement is available to help offset travel costs to the Financial Education Academy. Please indicate your interest in receiving information about this reimbursement when registering for the training.

Technical Assistance Clinics. At the training, the AFI Resource Center will also offer a “Technical Assistance Clinic” during the late afternoon and early evening of the first day of the training. At this clinic, you will be able to meet in small group or one-on-one with a financial educator to discuss issues or concerns and to get assistance on those topics. View more information on the TA Clinics.

To Register. Visit the registration site to sign up for this event. Confirmation and additional information about the session will be emailed to you. Spaces are limited and are filling fast.

Webinar: Improving Your Project with AFI²: Orientation to the AFI² system

This webinar will provide an overview of the key features and functionality of the AFI² system. AFI² is an online project management tool, offered free to all AFI grantees. The orientation training will teach users how to confidently navigate AFI², how to use the system to manage projects, and how to accurately record and store project data. The webinar is open to all AFI project staff who have not yet been trained on using AFI², and to anyone in need of a refresher. Attendance of this training session meets the requirement to get started using the AFI² system.

Register Today!

Tuesday, March 13, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. EST.

Webinar: Tools for Success: Financial Institution Partnerships for IDA Programs – March 13

Want to know what to look for when approaching a bank or credit union as a partner for your IDA program? Join this webinar and learn how to create strong partnerships and strengthen existing ones with financial institutions. This webinar will also provide an overview of the Community Reinvestment Act, how it affects banks’ investment in the community, and how you can leverage it to develop effective IDA collaborations.

This hour-long webinar will include:

  • Account features that are needed or desirable for IDA programs
  • Internal processes that must be developed and in place in a financial institution to offer IDAs
  • How to develop agreements and accountability systems to promote effective partnerships with financial institutions
  • Unique features of bank and credit union partnerships with IDA programs

Presenters:

  • Lynette Bell, First Vice President of Community Development at SunTrust Bank
  • Janet Hamer, Senior Community Development Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Brendan Wilbur, IDA Coordinator, Alternatives Federal Credit Union
  • Amy Shir, AFI Regional Consultant (moderator)

Register Today!

Tuesday, March 13, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST.

Webinar: Joining Forces: Creating Successful IDA Networks – March 21

We’ve all heard the phrase “there’s strength in numbers” – and many IDA programs have taken it to heart. Across the country, many programs have created IDA networks or collaborative partnerships in order to work more efficiently. In these models, a group of IDA providers work together to deliver services and share essential responsibilities such as account monitoring, reporting, fundraising, and more.

This webinar will describe how AFI grantees have built strong networks, share lessons on the power of joining forces, and offer ideas for IDA providers interested in joining an existing network or starting a new one.

This hour-long webinar will cover:

  • Establishing effective partnerships within a network
  • Reasons for creating or joining a network
  • Establishing policies and procedures for IDA network projects
  • Providing training to sub-grantees
  • Allocating funding based on program performance

Presenters:

  • Mary O’Doherty, Economic Empowerment Project Director, Kentucky Domestic Violence Association
  • Other speakers to be confirmed
  • Denise DeVaan, Senior Consultant, ICF International (moderator)

Register Today!

Wednesday, March 21, 3:30 - 4:30 EST.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Seeks Experts for Consumer Advisory Board

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is currently accepting nominations for members of their new Consumer Advisory Board. The board, which was required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, attempts to ensure that the CFPB hears from a variety of experts in industry and government. Board members will provide the CFPB with information about emerging trends and practices in the financial-services and financial products industries.

Nominations for the Consumer Advisory Board are due by March 30, 2012. Nominees for the board may have a background in one or more of the following areas: consumer protection, financial services, fair lending, civil rights, consumer financial products and services, or community development.

For information on how to apply or nominate someone you know, visit the CFPB announcement.

National Financial Capability Challenge Offered March 12 – April 13

In an effort to increase the financial knowledge and capability of high school aged youth across the U.S., the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s will be holding the National Financial Capability Challenge March 12 through April 13. The program incentivizes educators to teach the basics of personal finance to their students and rewards students, educators, schools, and states for their participation and their successes.

The program is free and does not require special software of other materials. Upon registering for the challenge, educators will have access to a free educator toolkit with ready-to-use lesson plans. During March 12 through April 13, an online exam, designed to illustrate the relevance of financial topics to students and assess their learning will be available. The top two scorers at each school and all students scoring in the top 20% nationwide will receive National Financial Capability Challenge Award Certificates.

Learn more and register for the National Financial Capability Challenge.

Upcoming Events

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