Financial Literacy Month


(Stephen Vanderherberg) #1

Through the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation & Prosper Canada, WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment Program has supported over 7000 low-income Torontonians in the last year and enabled over $17 M in benefits and returns to be accessed by hard working families and individuals. WoodGreen celebrates with its dedicated staff, 200+ volunteers and thousands of clients the launch of Financial Literacy Month which recognizes the importance of financial skills and knowledge to create a prosperous Ontario. WoodGreen is excited to share about what it is up to during Financial Literacy Month and about the impact we are having with individuals & families everyday.

What’s on the agenda for WoodGreen during Financial Literacy Month:

We’ll be kicking things off October 31-November 1, when we convene with other Prosper Financial Empowerment Champions in Ottawa. The nation wide Financial Empowerment Champions convening will be an opportunity to showcase our program delivery innovation journey, discuss emerging trends and share best practices in service delivery. On November 1st, the Financial Empowerment Champions will meet with the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, as well as attend and exhibit our work at the Financial Literacy Fair at the Bank of Canada Museum.

During Education Saving week which is from November 18-23, WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment team will be hosting three special events to promote the Canada Learning Bond as part of a nationwide campaign with Employment Social Development Canada. The focus of the events will be facilitating families opening Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) accounts in order to access the Canada Learning Bond. Reach out to us to find out more.

From November 26-27, we will be attending the National Research Symposium on Financial Literacy hosted by Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR) in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). During this symposium, Steve Vanderherberg, the Director of Strategic Initiatives at WoodGreen will be speaking about WoodGreen’s experience in applying financial literacy research to improve client outcomes.

About WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment Program

WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment program equips low-income Torontonians with the financial skills and knowledge necessary to take charge of their financial futures. WoodGreen creates this opportunity through implementing innovative practices and research to support client success. WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment Program offers un-biased, financially-specific support services that are exclusively designed to serve the complex needs of Torontonians, like Maria*, an individual supported through our services earlier this year.

Maria had been recommended by her doctors to leave her full-time job, due to her deteriorating health. When she expressed that she could not afford to do so while also caring for her spouse who experiences chronic mental health challenges, they referred her to our Financial Empowerment program. In her initial visit to the Financial Empowerment clinic, Maria shared that she did not know how to tackle her household’s dire financial situation. She was relying on support from her family and felt she was “a burden” to them. Maria was also worried that taking over management of the finances from her spouse would negatively impact their relationship. Over several sessions and assessments, staff supported Maria to develop a monthly action plan to stabilize income and reduce expenses, access eligible income supports and benefits and most importantly, practice positive communication with her spouse about finances.

Maria has since left her job and reports that she feels “in control” of her family’s finances, has regained some physical health and feels a new sense of hope in a stable financial future.

*pseudonym used to protect client’s identity.

We invite others to share their stories and activities during Financial Literacy Month. If anyone wants to learn more about WoodGreen’s work in Financial Empowerment, please feel free to reach out to us or post a question. We would be happy to respond and share further about our experiences.

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