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Supporting Partnerships to Advance Worker and Student Financial Health

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

By Amelia Josephson, Manager, Financial Health Network

We started the Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange in 2017 with the idea that the complementary strengths of fintechs and nonprofit organizations could be combined to create powerful partnerships and even stronger solutions. We’ve learned a lot about how to maximize partnerships over the last few years, and today we’re excited to unveil this year’s Exchange grant recipients. These seven partnerships will deliver high-impact products and services to underserved and financially struggling individuals and communities.

This year’s grant program builds on the success of previous Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange grants. For example, previous grantees GreenPath and EarnUp created a new debt repayment service coupled with financial coaching that managed nearly $60 million in debt, with almost 90% of users taking advantage of the service to accelerate their payments.

The 2020 Exchange Grant Program is focused on solutions to improve the financial health of workers and students, in line with the theme of our Accelerator. We sought innovative ideas from partnerships tackling worker and student financial health issues – especially as consumers navigate new financial challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis.

The Exchange welcomes seven new partnerships to the 2020 grant program:

  • Canary and SpringFour: Canary created Grant Circle, an emergency relief fund platform that delivers cash grants to individuals experiencing financial hardship. This partnership will integrate SpringFour into Grant Circle, providing Grant Circle participants with access to additional critical financial health resources in their moment of need.
  • Change Machine and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Change Machine (formerly The Financial Clinic) will deepen existing partnerships with four North Carolina HBCUs by connecting students with promising fintech products and engaging them in product testing and validation. With a focus on Black-owned fintechs, Change Machine will vet and introduce products intended to address the specific financial health needs of students, and will use student feedback to determine which products get dispatched to Change Machine’s community of social service practitioners.
  • Compass Working Capital and NxtStep: This partnership will help scale Compass’ work through the federal Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, which lets families living in federally subsidized housing save money that they would otherwise pay in rent. Compass is working with NxtStep to develop its own products and build a Salesforce-integrated FSS enrollment, orientation, and financial coaching platform for FSS participants.
  • The Directors Council | Des Moines and Leap Fund: This partnership will allow four of the Directors Council’s member nonprofits to integrate Leap Fund’s public benefits calculator program into their service delivery. Financial coaches at the four organizations will work with their low- to moderate-income client base to help them achieve financial stability. The calculator program surfaces public benefits eligibility, whether a worker will hit a “benefits cliff” (become ineligible) because of an increase in wages or hours worked (and when they’ll surpass it), and provides coaches with tools and frameworks to discuss and plan for benefits eligibility and cliffs with their clients.
  • Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS) and fINEQUITY: This partnership will implement a pilot program with New Yorkers who have experienced incarceration by providing an educational experience in credit and providing access to an interest-free credit builder loan. fINEQUITY will provide four credit education modules paired with gamified micro-loan distribution, in partnership with HFLS as the lender.
  • Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners and A.M. Money: Neighborhood Trust and A.M. Money will address the needs of college graduates during the critical transition point – from graduation to the workforce – by providing TrustPlus live financial coaching as an added feature for A.M. Money’s student loan borrowers.
  • SaverLife and Steady: SaverLife and Steady will leverage prize-linked savings to improve the income and savings prospects of both SaverLife and Steady members. Through co-promotion of services, they will connect SaverLife members with Steady’s job opportunities and income boosts and connect Steady members with saving opportunities through SaverLife.

Each partnership will receive $50,000 in capital, technical assistance to help grantees execute projects, and opportunities to actively engage with and learn from the nonprofit and fintech peers in their cohort. These organizations join the nine innovative pilot partnerships that have participated in the Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange’s grant program since 2018, along with the more than 150 fintechs and nonprofits who currently participate in the Exchange’s ongoing programming.

Learn More About our 2020 Exchange Grantees

Do you want to know more about how Financial Solutions Lab companies are tackling worker and student financial health during these unprecedented times? Join our upcoming virtual event to learn more about our 2020 Exchange Grantees. Learn more about the Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange program here.

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