DCA awards $1.8M in grants through Financial Empowerment Pilot Program

Will enable nonprofits to offer financial counseling to individuals in underserved communities

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs recently awarded $1.8 million in funding to 10 nonprofit organizations through the Financial Empowerment Pilot Program.

The DCA is managing the three-year program, which is designed to create financial counseling programs for people in underserved communities.

Awards were given to nonprofit organizations with demonstrable success using the field of financial empowerment services to mitigate the effects of structural poverty. The programs must focus on serving traditionally underserved cultural or linguistic communities and those communities historically disenfranchised from access to banking and wealth-building tools, including:

  • Youth transitioning from foster care or the juvenile justice system;
  • Veterans;
  • Seniors, especially those raising their grandchildren;
  • People with behavioral health needs;
  • People with disabilities;
  • Reentry participants;
  • Survivors of domestic violence.

Selected programs may be an expansion of existing, successful services or may be the creation of an adjacent service.

A look at the awards:

  • Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation: $300,000;
  • New Jersey Community Development Corp: $300,000;
  • Norwescap: $299,163;
  • Greater Bergen Community Action: $250,000;
  • Rescue Mission of Trenton: $125,725;
  • HOPES Community Action Partnership Inc.: $116,166;
  • Urban League of Essex County: $108,946;
  • Paterson Task Force for Community Action: $100,000;
  • Ocean Community Economic Action Now: $100,000;
  • Camden County Council on Economic Opportunity Inc.: $100,000.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who also serves as DCA commissioner, said these grants will have tremendous impact.

“These awards will fund programs that enhance economically vulnerable people’s ability to make informed choices about financial issues through education and skill building, particularly in the areas of access to banking services, credit improvement and reduction of unsecured debt,” she said.

“Free and confidential one-on-one coaching will be provided by trained professionals to help New Jerseyans in underserved communities reach their money goals, learn about consumer protections and their legal rights and achieve greater control over their finances.”