Financial Navigators

The Financial Navigators initiative helps residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote assistance in navigating critical financial issues and making referrals to other social services and resources. With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation, the CFE Fund is partnering with 31 local governments across the country, providing them with technical assistance and funding to launch a new public Financial Navigators program.

Trained Financial Navigators provide structured guidance over the phone to help people strategize around supports for disruptions to their income and other financial concerns. They help residents triage financial issues, identify immediate action steps, and make referrals to other services. Assistance includes managing expenses through prioritizing payments and when to make them, as well as maximizing income through ensuring receipt of federal payments, unemployment benefits, and other resources. In partner cities and counties across the country, helping residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 through the Financial Navigators initiative is a critical part of front-line emergency response efforts.

To learn more about the Financial Navigators initiative, contact I-Hsing Sun, Chief Program Officer.

CityStart

The CFE Fund’s CityStart initiative, supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and others, offers mayors and their administrations a structured approach to identify financial empowerment goals, convene relevant stakeholders for sustainable success, develop actionable strategies, and ultimately craft a blueprint that is rooted in local insights and opportunities.

This two-phase action engagement connects critical insights about the impact of financial instability on municipal governments with tangible, sustainable strategies to improve families’ financial lives. Often, the first phase of the initiative is a municipal financial empowerment “boot camp” that brings together key local constituencies. Based on issues identified in the boot camp, as well as mayoral priorities, the CFE Fund works with city partners on a second phase: implementation planning. This more intensive engagement harnesses the momentum from the boot camp to design a comprehensive financial empowerment blueprint and identify key implementation stakeholders.

The CityStart initiative stems from the CFE Fund’s extensive work with local government leaders, and connects critical on-the-ground insights about the impact of financial instability on families, communities, and municipal budgets with tangible, measurable, and sustainable municipal strategies to improve families’ financial lives. CityStart cities have historically leveraged their engagement with the CFE Fund to further their commitment to this work.

If you have any questions about the CityStart initiative, contact Tamara Lindsay, Principal.

Local Consumer Financial Protection Initiative

People work hard to provide for their families and improve their financial circumstances. And while community organizations and social services across the country invest heavily in helping them, at the same time vulnerable communities have long been targets of fraudulent, predatory financial products and services. Just as local governments play an increasingly meaningful role in financial empowering their residents, they also can play a unique role in protecting residents’ hard-earned assets.

Building off of work begun by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, and NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) then-Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, the CFE Fund was tapped to help local governments across the country develop and enhance their capacity to offer their residents consumer financial protection and empowerment. Local consumer protection agencies can augment financial empowerment gains by protecting consumer assets through licensing, regulation, enforcement, mediation, and outreach and education.

In 2017, with generous seed funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the CFE Fund selected four local governments to launch local offices of consumer protection. These cities have each successfully launched their efforts, developing consumer complaint infrastructure, identifying enforcement priorities, and pursuing legislative reforms. The CFE Fund recently announced a second cohort of local administrations selected to raise consumer awareness of and protect residents from COVID-19 related scams, and continue planning for broader consumer financial protection capabilities within the city.

Please contact Kant Desai, Principal, with any questions or to learn more.