Introducing Prosperity Now's Newest Learning Cluster
Last month, Prosperity Now rang in the New Year with the launch of a new Learning Cluster, bringing together 11 organizations in an effort to embed financial capability strategies into their workforce, housing or emergency assistance programs. Staff from these organizations convened at Prosperity Now's office in Washington, DC, to kick off an 18-month learning group, made possible thanks to generous support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
Prosperity Now's Learning Cluster model is designed to create new connections and collaborations between organizations working to overcome similar challenges. For the Bank of America Learning Cluster, the selected organizations are integrating asset-building tools and strategies into programs from food pantries to affordable housing to workforce development and everything in between. For example, in addition to the traditional services a food pantry provides, it could also boost a family's future financial security by helping them build an emergency savings account. We have seen the effectiveness of such coordinated efforts in places like New York City, where clients receiving homelessness prevention or workforce development services achieved stronger results when financial empowerment programs were integrated into the delivery of the primary social service.
We posted a Request for Proposals in September 2013 and received a flurry of outstanding applications from social service organizations interested in joining the Learning Cluster—111 in total! Ultimately, we selected 11 organizations to participate:
- Catholic Charities of Wichita (Wichita, KS)
- Community Empowerment Fund (Durham, NC)
- FEGS (New York, NY)
- Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada (Sacramento, CA)
- IMPACT Community Action (Columbus, OH)
- Jubilee Housing (Washington, DC)
- Mercy Housing Lakefront (Chicago, IL)
- Paul's Place (Baltimore, MD)
- Primavera Foundation (Tucson, AZ)
- Resident Services Corporation of DeKalb (Decatur, GA)
- Solid Ground (Seattle, WA)
Over the course of the next year and a half, members will interact with their Learning Cluster peers and receive technical assistance from Prosperity Now to design and test strategies to incorporate financial capability services, and to measure their overall programmatic outcomes. Prosperity Now will keep you updated on the Learning Cluster's progress as its members work their way through these new endeavors, with a keen eye on how their learning can help to inform your own organizations' approaches to creating pathways to financial security. Stay tuned!