WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 18, 2015) — The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the Citi Foundation to expand its Immigrant Integration Financial Capability project, a 2014 nation-wide demonstration project that resulted in significant improvements in the financial capability of low-income, Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants.
With this investment, three new organizations, Sapna NYC, Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment, and the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services will increase their capacity to offer culturally and linguistically-appropriate financial education and financial coaching, as well as access to products that help clients build credit and improve their savings habits.
These three organizations will build on the pilot project’s initial success and momentum, which has been documented in a recently released white paper – The Critical Moments of Immigrant Integration. In 2014, four organizations — Chinese American Service League, Chinese Community Center, Chhaya Community Development Corporation and Korean Resource Center — offered clients financial capability services coupled with other immigrant integration services such as ESL, citizenship education and workforce readiness training.
Clients participated in workshops on credit, budgeting and banking offered in their native language, and met individually with financial coaches to discuss financial goals. Clients were also offered the option to enroll in Lending Circles, a peer lending model that is a culturally-relevant alternative to conventional loan products, and uniquely helps clients to build their credit while also saving. Participants demonstrated significant improvement in their financial knowledge, behavior and confidence including:
- A 32 percent increase in the number of clients who knew how to budget and manage their money very well. Clients were also more likely to apply this new knowledge, as shown by a 35 percent increase in the number of individuals using a budget or spending plan at program conclusion;
- Clients were more likely to save monthly following program participation, increasing from 36 percent to 62 percent (pre- and post-test, respectively);
- At program conclusion, there was a 37 percent increase in the number of clients who reported understanding ‘very well’ how to improve or repair their credit.
- Preliminary data analysis indicates an average of a 132.9 Vantage Score increase for Lending Circle participants, with a repayment rate of 98.39 percent.
“These findings illustrate the critical role that community-based organizations can play in ensuring that immigrants successfully access reliable financial information, and safe and affordable financial products and services,” said Lisa Hasegawa, executive director of National CAPACD. “We applaud the Citi Foundation for investing in programs that provide greater access to culturally-relevant financial capability programs. This award will build the capacity of more Asian American and Pacific Islander-serving organizations across the country to deliver innovative asset-building programs to hundreds of low-income immigrants and refugees that face barriers to accessing the financial mainstream.”
This grant is one of five Growing Assets Program grants awarded by the Citi Foundation to support innovative programs that improve financial security and wealth building opportunities in communities of color across the U.S. Citi Foundation’s grant to increase financial capability within immigrant communities responds to findings from several Citi-sponsored reports that document the increasing financial vulnerability of immigrant populations, including low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities. Banking in Color, a 2014 report on financial access for low and moderate-income communities of color, found that rates of being unbanked were particularly high for immigrants (24 percent), and in particular, non-citizens (28 percent). National CAPACD’s Scrimping + Saving report, released April 2015, found that recent immigrants not only had lower rates of bank account ownership, but also a greater reliance on cash for daily transactions, and an inability to conduct financial transactions in English (36 percent).
Lucy Pyeatt, Housing Program Manager at Chinese Community Center – Houston, shared the following story of the program’s impact in 2014. “Our first year of the financial capability program allowed us to transform how we delivered crucial education and tools for financial success in our community,” said Pyeatt. “One client told me she had always wanted a credit score, but never knew ‘how to deal with credit cards.’ Thanks to Mission Asset Fund’s Lending Circle and the hard work of CCC’s financial coach, this client built her credit score and increased her savings over six months. Last month, she was approved for a low-interest auto loan, and immediately referred her son and daughter for financial education at our organization. This program allows us to reach not just individuals, but whole families and ultimately the broader AAPI community.”
The expansion of the Immigrant Integration Financial Capability project will engage a total of seven organizations operating in four metropolitan areas – New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. Through this expansion, National CAPACD seeks to deepen the impact of the program in each of the cities, while also reaching a greater diversity of AAPI clientele. National CAPACD serves as the intermediary and technical assistance provider to the participating sites. Mission Asset Fund, a California-based non-profit, will partner with National CAPACD and its members to offer access to the lending circle product, to provide opportunities for clients to practice new financial habits and skills.
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development is the first national advocacy organization dedicated to addressing the housing, community and economic development needs of diverse and growing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. It invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities.
Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (Chicago, IL) builds the capacity of the Filipino American community in greater Chicago to effect transformative social change through a process of grassroots education, action, research, and services.
Alliance for Multicultural Community Services (Houston, TX) helps refugees, immigrants and low-income residents of Harris County, TX become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life. AMCS provides an extensive array of immigrant integration services.
Chinese American Service League (Chicago, IL) was established and exists as a non-profit community-based social service agency for the purpose of strengthening the physical, economic and mental health of people of all ages and backgrounds of the Chinese community in the greater Chicago area.
Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX) is a multi-ethnic organization serving all Houstonians that is dedicated to bridging East and West by enriching families with educational, cultural and social service programs.
Chhaya Community Development Corporation (Jackson Heights, NY) is a community-based non-profit organization focused on improving access to housing opportunities, resources and information for South Asian Americans throughout New York City and the metropolitan area.
Korean Resource Center (Los Angeles, CA) was founded in 1983 to empower the Korean American community, low-income immigrant and people of color communities through a holistic model that combines education, social services and culture with effective community advocacy and organizing.
Sapna NYC (Bronx, NY) responds to the priorities of under-served immigrant communities by providing health education and social services, developing economic opportunities and promoting social justice through participatory action research, outreach and advocacy.
Mission Asset Fund (San Francisco, CA) is a nonprofit organization that creates innovative and responsible financial products and models that assist low-income families in overcoming financial exclusion.
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development’s (National CAPACD) mission is to improve the quality of life for low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by promoting economic vitality, civic and political participation, and racial equity.
Our membership encompasses a diverse base of nearly 100 community-based organizations and individuals spanning 19 states and the Pacific Islands.