This week, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray issued a proclamation commemorating April 2012 as “Financial Literacy Awareness Month” in the District of Columbia.
Operation HOPE’s Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant commented on this landmark announcement:
We are honored to work with Mayor Gray and the members of this council and countless others to help bring the powerful message of financial dignity and literacy to the Washington, D.C., community and throughout the nation.
Mayor Gray stressed his commitment to enhancing economic opportunities for the District’s residents in remarks delivered during the proclamation ceremony:
I’m committed to boosting economic development and opportunities for all, and an important part of this is helping make sure people manage their money effectively for themselves and their familie. The District’s Bank on DC program is committed to providing our residents with the financial-literacy tools they need to be successful consumers in their communities. This month we highlight the importance of financial-literacy awareness for all of the District’s residents.
Mayor Gray also presented and swore in nine new members of the District’s Financial Literacy Council, which will be chaired by veteran financial-services advocate Tamara Haye Daufour and will help improve programs that educate District residents in how to manage their personal finances more effectively.
Basic financial literacy is the essential prerequisite, along with working hard, to succeeding in our society. Unfortunately, though, some of our most disadvantaged residents never learn how to benefit in the long term from their hard work and maintain the wealth they earn – thus contributing to the perpetuation of poverty. Working together, this council will guide programs that help residents learn how to manage their finances effectively and how to recover from hardships like bankruptcy and foreclosures.
The Mayor named six members of the Council, including its chair. The remaining three members were designated by DC Council Chair Kwame R. Brown; Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette M. Alexander, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs; and District Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi. To learn more about the Council and its members, click here.
The announcements highlight real progress District residents have made via the efforts of the City’s Bank on DC program, yet acknowledges that more work remains to be done. Through this proclamation, the Mayor recommits the resources of the District government to aiding residents in maintaining their finances, supporting their households and building wealth.
Bank on DC, a key Operation HOPE partner, strives to raise awareness among unbanked consumers – particularly those in the low-to-moderate-income market segment – about the benefits of account ownership. The program is designed to empower residents to work towards creating a sustainable economic model for their households. Initiated in April 2010, this collaborative offers financial services to the 37,000 un-banked households and 72,000 under-banked households in the District. This program is intended to help the unbanked and under-banked improve financial literacy, build assets and save money.
Bank on DC is sponsoring several events to encourage financial literacy this month. In partnership with the Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), Bank on DC will provide District residents with access to financial education and services via its Financial Empowerment Series. The series is free and open to the public. The 12-week, 90-minute classes will be offered on a three-month rotation. The program offers six classes facilitated by Bank on DC banking partners while integrating six online modular lessons to measure inputs and outcomes of each resident through BODC’s My Starting Point portal. This online digital platform will support the in-class instruction delivered by the banking partners.
A few of the topics to be taught are the basics of banking, budgeting, credit building, understanding cards (i.e. debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, prepaid cards), and an introduction to savings and investment accounts.
Locations for the workshops along with their respective on-site contacts can be found here.
Bank on DC (BODC) is a collaborative effort between the District Government, the Federal Reserve, financial institutions and numerous nonprofit organizations to provide greater access to financial services/products and education to the unbanked and under-banked residents of the District. Special acknowledgement of BODC financial partners: Agriculture FCU, Amalgamated Bank, Bank of Georgetown, Bank of America, District Government Employees FCU, DVA FCU, HEW FCU, Industrial Bank, PNC Bank, United Bank, and Wells Fargo. Visit: www.bankondc.org.