United Way of the Piedmont launched the Financial Stability Initiative in April 2016 to better address poverty in our three-county footprint in a collaborative and innovative way. The initiative is led by a Financial Stability Task Force made up of 25 leaders from all sectors of the community. The mission of the Task Force is to move 2,000 families on to the path to self-sufficiency in 2,000 days.
The 2,000 in 2,000 challenge is a recipe for community change. The goal is to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring families have the skills and assets needed for long-term success, or self-sufficiency. We are doing this by building partnerships and implementing data-driven, place-based strategies that change the current system to be more effective, affordable, and accessible.
HISTORY & PROCESS
United Way of the Piedmont realized that through the Community Investment Process nearly 75% of the resources earmarked for Financial Stability were allocated to the Safety Net services, leaving only 25% to invest in programs that help families acquire and manage resources at the self-sufficient level. Understanding the importance of equally investing in programs on both ends of the spectrum, the Board of the United Way decided to launch the Financial Stability Initiative.
To help inform this work, United Way, with the support of a $15,000 grant from the Mary Black Foundation, conducted a detailed needs assessment of poverty and financial stability in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties. The needs assessment included:
- Fourteen (14) diverse focus groups with 200 providers, community members, and consumers of services related to financial stability
- One-on-one interviews with 50 key stakeholders, leaders, and experts in the community
- An in-depth quantitative analysis of poverty and self sufficiency
The path from poverty to self-sufficiency is often riddled with roadblocks that can be daunting to even the most motivated family. Self-sufficiency is defined by a family having the income to meet all of their basic needs without any outside assistance. Basic needs include housing, childcare, transportation, healthcare, food, and taxes. For some families of four in our community, this can mean needing an income as high as $53,916 in order to be self-sufficient. This income is more than double the Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four.
But the path to self-sufficiency is about more than increasing income. The needs assessment determined that families must also have access to affordable housing, reliable transportation, night-shift childcare, workforce development opportunities, mentors, and financial literacy.
Click the links below for an overview of poverty and self-sufficiency in each of our three counties:
Full reports on Financial Stability, Poverty, and Self-Sufficiency in our community:
Through the needs assessment, the Financial Stability Task Force has identified seven areas of focus to increase opportunities for self-sufficiency and financial stability.
In 2016-17, efforts will primarily focus on the following areas:
For more information about the Financial Stability Initiative or to get involved in this effort, please contact Hannah Jarrett.