LISC National
Our Work

Financial Opportunities

We know that healthy, sustainable communities are made up of people who have living wage jobs and feel confident about their economic futures. To get there, residents need the skills to advance along the path of employment and manage their money well.

That’s why LISC Toledo invests in helping people tackle all the facets of financial life—earning a steady pay check, budgeting, building good credit and saving for education and retirement. 

Toledo Financial Opportunity Centers

The underlying theory of the LISC Financial Opportunity Center model is that the best way to improve the financial bottom line for low-to-moderate income families is by helping people to simultaneously boost earnings and reduce expenses. 

Client Stephen Combs with ProMedica FOC’s Site Administrator & Financial Coach, Michelle Gorsuch.
Client Stephen Combs with ProMedica FOC’s Site Administrator & Financial Coach, Michelle Gorsuch.

Expanding on the Center for Working Families model developed by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, LISC developed the FOC model to build financial capability by offering families a suite of services that attack each of these areas of concern—employment, income supports, credit-building and financial management—through one on one coaching and education services offered at trusted community-based organizations. 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.

LISC Toledo supports a network of 3 FOC at six sites in Toledo in partnership with United Way of Greater Toledo. 

    Bridges to Career Opportunities

    There’s a catch-22 to unemployment in many low-income communities: basic skills gaps often prevent unemployed or underemployed residents from accessing training and credentialing programs that can lead to living-wage jobs; local industries often lack a workforce with the right blend of technical know-how and “soft” skills needed for success in the workplace. A solution lies in matching employers in need of workers with a specific skill set to job seekers who've been trained in those skills. 

    That’s what LISC Toledo’s Bridges to Career Opportunities model makes possible. Clients working with our local network of Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) can ramp up foundational literacy and math skills, get technical training and pursue certifications for a particular industry—and receive support like financial coaching to set long-term goals and help manage expenses during training. These programs connect clients to “middle skills” jobs with a career pathway, and help local employers staff up with employees who can get the job done. For more details, check the FOC calendar.

    Credit Building

    A bad credit rating, or no rating at all, is a serious barrier to financial independence. The fees, deposits, and high interest charges demanded of people with low or no credit take a debilitating bite out of monthly cash flow and can make it virtually impossible to increase net income and build assets.

    A good credit history and credit score, on the other hand, can pave the way to better jobs, lower interest rates and asset building. That’s why Toledo FOCs work closely with clients to remedy expensive debt and set up manageable payment plans that help grow a healthy credit rating. 

    In 2018, 42% of participants receiving all 3 bundled services offered at the FOCs achieved a key financial outcome - a major feat for  a majority of these participants who were living below the poverty line upon enrollment!   Key outcomes among these participants include:

    • 25% increased their net income 
    • 16% improved their credit scores by an average of 43 points
    • 17% placed in unsubsized jobs
    • Over 1,800 individuals received free tax prep services, bringing over $2.3 million in tax refunds back to our community!


    Valerie Moffitt, Director of Financial Opportunities