Steady inflation since 2021 has affected consumers and businesses worldwide. In the US, rising prices have hit mid to low-income households the hardest, as they spend more of their income on necessities like food, gas and rent. In the face of major financial stress, an individual’s mental and emotional health can begin to suffer. And without strong financial literacy, these issues can be exacerbated.
Rose Foundation grantee California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) is responding to today’s economic troubles by building financial wellness within impacted communities. The organization advocates for bank and corporate financial services to expand access to affordable housing, small business ownership, and other resources that build household and community wealth. On the ground, CRC provides services to low-income communities and communities of color.
In 2021, CRC received a two-year grant from the Rose Foundation’s Consumer Products Fund to support their “Economic Health Promotoras” program. Promotoras stems from the Spanish term “Promotoras de Salud” which translates to “community health workers”. These individuals are recognized by the Latinx community as trusted workers who empower their peers through education and connections to health and social resources. Modeled after Promotoras de Salud, CRC trains individuals from at-risk communities on increasing people’s financial capability. Hailing from the communities they serve, CRC’s Promotoras help low- and moderate-income families improve their understanding of and access to safe, affordable financial products, while sharing strategies that build and sustain family economic security.
One year into their funding, CRC has provided us with an interim report of what they have learned and achieved over the past year.
- CRC Economic Health Promotoras provide in-person financial capability training. In 2022, over 800 adults including 133 youth participated in group workshops and one-on-one counseling.
- Information received from participants informed their policy work on fintech and crypto regulation, along with educating the sector on the role that banks can play to increase broadband access and adoption.
The macro-economic backdrop of the past year was marked by rising inflation and the crash of crypto. As inflation has become a major stressor for low-income families, CRC has given particular attention to its negative impacts on women’s emotional and mental health. According to CRC, a number of recent studies have shown that social isolation, access to childcare and rising prices are causing more women to feel angry, depressed, anxious, or fearful about their finances. In response, CRC is developing workshops and coaching sessions to help families cope with rising prices and financial pressures triggered by the pandemic and other factors.
With the very public decline of FTX and its resulting shocks across the crypto market, CRC began hosting financial capability workshops focused on crypto currencies. Youth in their workshops report being aggressively marketed to by crypto companies, promising a huge upside with no mention of risk. In their workshops, CRC explains how the unregulated crypto industry is rife with misleading claims, misrepresentation of their products and outright fraud. Furthermore, many of the companies prey on vulnerable populations who don’t have disposable income to invest in a speculative market. The organization views the industries predatory behavior as an economic and social justice issue. CRC is working with partners to push regulators to take a more active role in ensuring that consumers are protected from overly risky investments and misleading marketing claims.
During this time of great financial stress, we are proud to support an organization committed to helping those most at-risk. Stay tuned for more exciting updates from CRC’s 2-year Consumer Products Fund grant.