Financial Opportunity Centers & Field Building Initiatives
Financial Opportunity Centers
Financial Opportunity Centers are career and personal financial service centers that focus on the financial bottom line for low-to-moderate income individuals. This means helping people change their financial behavior in a way that encourages them to make a long-term commitment to increasing monthly net income, building credit, and acquiring assets.
Based on the Center for Working Families model developed by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Financial Opportunity Centers provide families with an “integrated” set of three core services: employment and career planning assistance; financial education and coaching; and access to income supports. These core services are provided to clients in a bundled fashion in order to reinforce one another and to provide a multi-faceted approach to income and wealth building.
In 2010, the model’s effectiveness at promoting economic opportunity was recognized by the White House, when LISC received one of the inaugural federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grants to expand Financial Opportunity Centers to 45 locations in 10 cities. LISC was awarded the SIF funds based on the innovative nature of the integrated services approach, as well as our commitment to data and strong initial evidence of success. Overall, since launching in Chicago in 2005, LISC's network has grown to over 70 Financial Opportunity Centers in 30 cities in 2014.
Field-building Initiatives: Integrated Service Delivery & the Working Families Success Network
In addition to supporting community-based organizations, LISC’s Family Income and Wealth Building program is actively engaged in initiatives that seek to advance high-quality, data-driven, financial stability programming among other national nonprofits, funders, and policymakers. LISC’s Family Income and Wealth Building program works with United Way Worldwide and MDC, Inc., to promote an “Integrated Service Delivery” approach across the social and human services field. Integrated Service Delivery is an umbrella term that encompasses many specific models for providing a strategically and seamlessly bundled set of economic stability services to low- and moderate-income individuals. Examples of Integrated Service Delivery models include LISC’s Financial Opportunity Centers, Centers for Working Families, and United Way SparkPoint Centers. For more information and resources for intermediaries and practitioners, please visit the Integrated Service Delivery website.
In 2013, a core group of national foundations and nonprofits, including LISC, formed the Working Families Success Network, the next stage of the work to build a coalition of organizations dedicated to Integrated Service Delivery. The Network is made up of national, state and local foundations, businesses and nonprofit organizations; and helps connect sites to potential funders, provides background and case studies, and assists local organizations in implementing the strategy in a way that makes sense for their community.