Announcing the 2022 Accelerator cohort, focused on financial benefits and tools. Read the Press Release >>
Blog Post

Improving FinHealth Through Partnerships

Monday, May 23, 2022

Over the last year, the Financial Solutions Lab (FSL) has delivered a variety of programs in line with our mission to cultivate, support, and scale innovative ideas that improve financial health – with a focus on the needs of underserved populations such as low- to moderate-income (LMI) individuals, Black and Latinx communities, and those impacted by the criminal justice system. That work included launching new innovator support programs, designing and testing financial health policy interventions, and conducting consumer impact research. The strategic goal of this programming is to build consumer resiliency, support vulnerable families, and facilitate collaboration among stakeholders to drive policy solutions.

After eight years of building and fostering relationships, we have seen the value in holding space for holistic conversations and collaboration across sectors. Through our programming and research, we have learned that scaling innovations in the financial industry is most successful through strategic introductions and collaborative efforts. Here are some lessons learned around the power of collaboration, building resilience, and supporting vulnerable populations.

The Financial Health Network connected Canary, a current FSL Accelerator participant and past FSL Exchange grantee, with potential investors for its recent $1.5 million pre-seed funding round led by Capital One Ventures (part of Financial Health Network Member Capital One) and the Financial Venture Studio.

Creating Space for Collaboration

Our programs aim to provide finhealth-focused organizations with the right mentorship, partnerships, and resources to help increase their reach and impact. The purpose of the Exchange is to build connections between fintech and nonprofit innovators – which might not have otherwise crossed paths – to work toward solving pressing financial health issues more quickly and effectively. The Exchange currently has an open call for applications for its 2022 Grant Program, which will award up to three $90,000 grants to nonprofit-fintech partnerships addressing the finhealth needs of people navigating public or private benefits systems.
Learn More and Apply >

Our Collaborative program brings a spectrum of stakeholders to the same table, enabling nonprofits, financial institutions, policymakers, and others across the wider ecosystem to discuss solutions to complex societal issues. Learn about our most recent Collaborative grantees and how they are tackling issues related to ID accessibility for those recently released from incarceration.
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Building Resiliency

Our work in 2021 made it clear that consumers and businesses continued to face challenges due to the pandemic and other macroeconomic factors. In response, we leveraged our programming to address a growing need among consumers for benefits and short-term liquidity tools that support finhealth. We are building on this work in 2022 by focusing on additional finhealth tools and resources through our Accelerator and Exchange programming, as well as through our research.

Highlights from our work last year include:

    • Our workshops featuring our criminal justice and financial health research engaged nearly 20 government agencies, fintechs, and nonprofits, and our findings influenced additional research across the space.
    • Accelerator and Exchange alumni presented their short-term liquidity and credit solutions to Chief Human Resource Officers at 19 companies spanning the retail, transportation, and healthcare sectors. 
    • FSL portfolio companies improved consumer credit scores by as much as 45 points.

Supporting Vulnerable Populations

Since FSL launched in 2015, we’ve reached more than 23.7 million users through investment in 53 fintechs, 21 fintech-nonprofit partnerships, and five grants for pilot policy initiatives. Of those users reached, more than 6 million were LMI individuals. 

Last year, the Exchange focused on increasing financial health and employment opportunities for returning citizens. Our 2021 cohort consisted of five partnerships aimed at supporting the financial health of justice-involved individuals.

Innovators in our Accelerator’s 2021 program developed solutions to empower financial resilience and growth for LMI, Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities. These companies reached more than 2.5 million consumers to improve finhealth in the last year alone. 

Building on the Past, Innovating for the Future

In 2022, we are continuing to execute our three innovation programs with a focus on cross-program insights and influence activities. We will launch new research projects and synthesize insights from our prior work as part of a robust research and learning agenda.

To date, we’ve convened stakeholders to discuss serving consumers of color through fintech and influence employers around earned wage access products. Looking ahead in 2022, we plan to focus on savings innovations, consumer impact through communities, next-generation credit offerings, and more. 

Get Involved

At the Financial Solutions Lab, partnerships are at the heart of everything we do. As we consider how to continue facilitating these complex conversations, we aim to strengthen and grow our partnerships to support greater resiliency and collaboration across sectors. If you or your organization would like to find ways to tune into these discussions, contact us to learn how you can get involved at finlab@finhealthnetwork.org

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