New Project Will Provide Technical Assistance and Funding to Cities to Strengthen Financial Inclusion Efforts
Despite our nation’s relative prosperity, many Americans lack the means to pay all of their monthly bills and do not have the necessary savings to cover unexpected expenses, such as a sudden illness or other personal crisis. In response, city leadership in promoting financial inclusion efforts is taking center stage in many cities.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is launching a new, two-year project to assist cities in developing comprehensive financial inclusion strategies to help low-income families improve their financial health. Cities can apply to participate in the Cities Building Systems to Promote Financial Inclusion project by responding to the request for proposals (RFP).
Financial inclusion means that all individuals and families, regardless of income, have access to quality, affordable financial services and information. Financial inclusion programs expand access to services by empowering low-income households to take advantage of available benefits and tax credits, manage money effectively and build assets, such as savings and a home or business, to increase their financial stability.
Through a $1 million grant from MetLife Foundation, NLC is implementing Cities Building Systems to Promote Financial Inclusion to offer technical assistance and training to mayors, other local elected officials and city staff to assemble the building blocks of a citywide financial inclusion agenda for families to build assets and achieve financial stability.
Technical assistance during the two-year project will include one-on-one guidance, site visits, monthly webinars and other peer sharing opportunities as well as access to resources and national experts. The project will also include a Mayors’ Institute on Financial Inclusion, in which mayors from selected cities will spend two days together sharing ideas and brainstorming ways to solve challenges and take advantage of opportunities to help residents gain a solid financial foothold.
Responses to the RFP are due to NLC by Friday, December 4th, 2015. Once selected, cities will have two opportunities to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support their financial inclusion efforts.
This initiative builds on NLC’s long history of building the capacity of city leaders to address their residents’ financial challenges. In 2014, with the support of MetLife Foundation, NLC conducted in-depth research on financial inclusion programs in cities across the U.S. This research resulted in a comprehensive report, City Financial Inclusion Efforts: A National Overview that highlights the growing commitment of city leaders to mitigate the financial hardships many of their residents face on a daily basis.
Our recent blog series on financial inclusion has great stories on how financial inclusion works and its impact on communities. Check it out!