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February 22, 2024


Funding for 11 Community-Based Organizations Will Help Low Income Families Understand Purchasing Power


Programs Will Provide One-On-One Coaching With Financial Professionals Offering Training and Education on Budgeting and Financial Management


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the New York Department of State has awarded $1.1 million in grant funding to 11 community-based organizations across six regions of New York State. $100,000 grants will be used to fund financial literacy programs in these communities. Individuals with incomes at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines will be eligible to participate in the programs. Language access services will also be made available to individuals that have limited English proficiency.


“Financial literacy is crucial to helping New Yorkers save their hard-earned money as they work to build a better life for their families,” Governor Hochul said. “Through these programs, we can arm New Yorkers in communities across the state with the tools they need to build a more secure economic future for themselves and their loved ones.”


The Financial Literacy Programs will provide one-on-one coaching with experienced financial professionals offering training, as well as education regarding budgeting and financial management. A key component of the initiative is to help individuals and families better understand their purchasing power. Participants will receive information regarding homeownership, improving credit scores, decreasing dependence on credit card debt, opening checking and savings accounts, asset building and how to avoid financial scams.


Each of the participating organizations will partner with community banking institutions as well as local, state and/or federal agencies for referral to additional services that may be available to help strengthen and improve their financial standing.


Programs will be in the following regions of New York State:

  • New York City
  • Capital Region
  • Mohawk Valley
  • Western New York
  • Southern Tier
  • Finger Lakes

These programs are fully funded through the federal Community Services Block Grant and will be managed by the Department of State’s Division of Community Services. The programs were awarded based on a competitive RFP process.


Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Financial management is one of the most important tools to acquire in order to achieve economic independence and stability. Empowering communities with financial literacy creates a ripple effect that can lead to and ultimately foster prosperous families, a stronger workforce, and more robust communities throughout the state. Teaching individuals how to save, borrow, spend, and invest is essential, especially in underserved communities. Having a sound financial education increases one’s chances of achieving their goals for a better quality of life – and that - benefits everyone.”


Community Service Society of New York City President and CEO David R. Jones said, “The Community Service Society of New York believes that every New Yorker deserves to live with dignity and economic security. Through the NYS Financial Literacy Initiative, CSS has expanded the work of its Financial Coaching Corps to target individuals with limited access to much needed financial coaching services. By providing support and education, we hope to instill in people the power to create change in their own lives.”


Executive Director of Albany Community Action Partnership Neenah Bland said, “I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for being chosen to receive funding from the New York State Financial Literacy Initiative, to support our program, Let’s Make Cent$. Through this program, ACAP is helping low-income families in Albany County strive to break the cycle of poverty by providing opportunities and resources to help individuals take control of their financial well-being and build a foundation for a more secure and prosperous future. This Initiative aligns with our mission to partner with families and communities to expand opportunities and build stronger networks to foster upward economic mobility.”


Mohawk Valley Community Action Executive Director Amy Turner said, “Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency is pleased to have this opportunity to partner with families and guide them through increasing their overall financial wellness. The smiles we see when someone achieves their goals worth a million!! The program will continue to grow and help more families in the Mohawk Valley because of this grant award.”


Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. in Western New York CEO Diane Hewitt-Johnson said, “Providing Financial Literacy Services is critical when assisting individuals to become self-sufficient. Financial Literacy provides the foundation necessary to make positive movements when building personal assets. Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. has been providing Financial Literacy Services for many years and sees the benefits to the individual, families, and community as a whole. We use the FDIC Money Smart curriculum which dives into the topics of earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and protecting assets. Financial literacy is the key to economic security.”


Director of Qualitas of Life Foundation of Westchester Myriam E. Rebling said, “Qualitas is honored to have received the Financial Literacy Initiative grant from NY State Department of State to continue its mission of providing financial education to low-income Hispanic families to improve their financial health and standards of living. Our participants have given us moving testimonies of financial goals they have achieved. This inspires us to continue helping more and more families in our community.”


Tioga Opportunities in the Southern Tier Executive Director Maureen Abbott said, “The importance of financial literacy as a cornerstone of the anti-poverty work being done in Tioga County is the foundation for success for those we serve. Finding one’s way out of poverty or a vulnerable financial state must be rooted in understanding one’s relationship with money and how this relationship has assisted or hampered one’s ability to attain financial goals. Tioga Opportunities, Inc. is committed to integrating financial literacy into all service areas in order to maximize customer attainment of financial goals.”


About The Division of Community Services

The New York Department of State’s Division of Community Services works with an extensive network of regional community action agencies to combat poverty among poor and low-income families. The Division of Community Services directs funding to these non-profit organizations to help provide low-income and poor families across New York State with necessary services, including employment assistance and training, emergency food and housing, childcare, home heating and much more. Community action agencies are beneficiaries of New York State’s Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds, which are administered by the Division of Community Services. The Division monitors and tracks agencies’ progress in fulfillment of goals, while also ensuring compliance to CSBG guidelines. More information is available on the Department of State website.



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