Financial Literacy

IAAW has integrated financial education into all its’ programs, as it is important to building confidence and as a key component of our major poverty-reduction strategy. Workshops and support services are delivered ‘by request’ in the community.

Empower U – Financial Independence Training

Empower U is a collaboration between 12 organizations in Edmonton. It combines financial literacy programs with a 2:1 matched savings component. This means every dollar saved by group participants is matched by two dollars from Corporate/Philanthropic sponsors. Empower U at IAAW is delivered to Indigenous women over 18 years to refine and develop new skills that in turn help them to make informed decisions about their money. Matched savings can be used for items that increase their earning potential, including further education or to help to save in the future, like buying a freezer, business start-up costs or tools for school.

Financial Empowerment Champions (FEC)

The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW), E4C, and the Bissell Centre are all dedicated to helping people who are struggling in poverty or experiencing homelessness. Throughout this project, the group will explore ways to encourage and support municipal and provincial governments as well as other large service providers to build financial empowerment solutions into existing programs for people with low incomes. All three organizations will work together to connect with vulnerable and marginalized populations; specifically homeless, housing insecure, and Indigenous communities. They will also collaborate with exiting partners such as the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Financial Empowerment Collaborative, Financial Pathways Collaborative, and the United Way.

The objective of this partnership is to produce a cooperative environment that enables all three organizations to work collectively with the highly vulnerable and marginalized populations. The focus will be on initiatives that include:
• Financial literacy
• Coaching
• Housing supports
• Community collaborations
• Training of volunteers
• Fill in service gaps in Edmonton

The staffing plan is for E4C is to have one full time Financial Empowerment Manager working on project coordination, financial literacy education, financial coaching, developing collaborative partnerships with other organizations as well as a Tax and Benefits Coordinator. The IAAW and Bissell will each have a part-time financial empowerment coordinator who will work alongside the E4C staff to develop tools, coordinate the implementation of Financial Empowerment interventions inside their organizations, and to train partner organizations’ staff.

Financial Empowerment Champions (FEC) targets are as follows:
• Train 480 frontline staff to deliver financial literacy to individuals
• Develop and run targeted financial literacy education programs for 1,900 individuals
• Support 1,000 individuals to meet with a financial coach and create a financial plan
• Support 400 individuals that did not previously have a bank account to open one
• Enable 300 volunteers to help 26,700 individuals to file their taxes
• Submit 8,250 applications for government benefits
• Help 1,430 individuals open RESPs
• Train 180 frontline staff in other organizations on benefits of the RESP, CLB, and CESG

Overall, this project will develop, deliver, and promote financial empowerment interventions that will assist in building financial stability and well-being for those with low incomes.
IAAW is a year-round tax preparation site. If you’d like to become a volunteer tax preparer out of our office, please contact Gwen Nahorney at gwenn@iaaw.ca. Free training is provided.