Memphis, TN – August 23, 2017 – Advance Memphis is very excited about a multi-year research study that was developed and started this summer by Josh Fikkert, an intern from Covenant College. The study will evaluate the long-term impact of Individual Development Accounts (IDA). IDA is one of the programs utilized by Advance Memphis and used around the country to stimulate savings, banking, and asset purchase as a means to financial stability for people who may be working, but remain trapped in poverty. Most studies currently available on the effectiveness of IDA only follow participants for about six months after purchase, and tend to focus exclusively on asset acquisition. This new study will attempt to follow and compare our participants in Work Life, who receive little financial literacy training; Faith & Finances, who receive very specific training in financial management; and IDA participants, who actually enter into a matched savings and asset purchase program. The study will compare saving and banking habits of the groups for up to two years after they complete the programs. The study specifically asks two questions: (1) “Are Faith & Finances and/or IDA participants more likely to demonstrate long-term savings behavior?” and (2) “Is IDA participation positively correlated with long-term banking habits?”. Saving and banking are factors that contribute to financial stability in peoples’ lives.
A presentation that introduces the research study and provides anecdotal information based on recent interviews can be found here: Evaluating the Impact of Individual Development Accounts on Savings Habits and Banking Relationships.
Josh Fikkert, a senior at Covenant College, is a Community Development and Philosophy major. We are thankful for Josh’s work this summer as an intern and for our continued relationship with Covenant College and the Chalmers Center at Covenant College. The Chalmers Center is a non-profit that works to equip churches and organizations to declare and demonstrate to the materially poor that Jesus Christ is making all things new. Advance Memphis has hosted numerous interns from Covenant College’s Community Development major over the years and is grateful for its ongoing relationship with the Chalmers Center as a training partner, a field-test site for curriculum development, and as a co-developer of the Work Life curriculum.
Advance Memphis will be looking for volunteers and interns to help gather and collate data from interviews and surveys of over two hundred program participants in the next several years to ensure study efficacy. If you would like to participate in any of our programs or help facilitate the study please contact Bryce Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As 2016 ends, the staff members of Advance Memphis are grateful to be serving the Lord by empowering our neighbors in 38126 to move into financial security through the multiplied efforts of almost 300 volunteers and dozens of donors who have joined us in this work.
Below you will see just a few tangible outcomes that only scratch the surface of how God has been transforming lives in our community. The outcomes that are more difficult to quantify are things like: A 40-year-old man who opens his first bank account to start his matched savings account; the woman who has stopped drinking; the man who can now support his children with dignity by working; the woman who earned her GED; and the man who has regained his driver’s license.
Renewal in 38126 takes many forms, and while this outcomes report shows just one year of our work, the transformation of our neighborhood and the empowerment of our neighbors is a process.
HEALING: This year we saw a graduate of our 2014 Jobs-For-Life ( now called Work-Life) program find stability and success in a position after years of battling to find and sustain employment. After two different temporary assignments working through Advance Memphis Staffing in temp-to hire positions, this individual had been let go both times due to failing drug tests. While he was on mandatory suspension he began attending OTC (Overcoming Through Christ) weekly meetings at Advance. After a second suspension, his presence in became OTC mandatory. After that, he never missed a weekly meeting and volunteered his time cleaning the building and helping out with refurbishing our new warehouse at 575 Suzette. He continues to make weekly OTC meetings and is currently participating in a paid apprenticeship program with yet another temporary staffing customer. This individual started his current assignment in June, 2016 and has maintained perfect attendance – winning our $50 reward on two separate occasions. We continue to pray for his success and often recognize him as a role model for others who are struggling with sobriety. He has never given up his desire of being drug free and working to sustain his financial needs.
COLLABORATING: We also have seen relationships blossom with our volunteers and graduates working together, forming lifelong friendships, and even business partnerships. Two volunteers worked together to find particularly creative ways to contribute to the development of a LAUNCH business. Not only did they contribute significant time to mentor a LAUNCH graduate; they decided that they could most effectively support his business by using their own vocational resources. Namely, these volunteers used their skills and connections to train this graduate to write bids for commercial properties, and then contracted his business to work on properties they manage, becoming his first major customer. This creative, relational engagement is worth so much more than a monetary gift; it is more difficult and complex, but it truly changes the game for one of our neighbors.
Want to join us? Here are a few ways to partner in this work:
As you plan and dream for ways to learn, grow, and serve in 2016, please consider using our 2016 Involvement Guide as a resource. Those who pray, give, and serve at Advance Memphis are the lifeblood of this work. The Guide contains class schedules, contact information, and volunteer roles–everything you need to make a plan to share your gifts in a way that blesses others and fits your life. We created this guide because we need roughly 240 volunteers every year, many of them in the highly relational roles that are essential to our programs. These volunteers are truly the body of Christ at work in Memphis. We thank you for considering ways you can get involved this year. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 2016 ADVANCE MEMPHIS INVOLVEMENT GUIDE.
In 2015, Advance Memphis, powered by 240 volunteers, 15 staff members, dozens of donors, and an incredible community of participants, operated programs that empowered the people of 38126 to move into financial security.
Below, you’ll see just a few of the tangible outcomes of the work this community did this year. There are many more life changes that are less easily measured: the 40 year old who opens his first bank account, the woman who stopped drinking, the man who proudly supports his children, the woman who earned her GED, the man with a drivers license and a new job.
THIS is how our Lord will “undo the straps of the yoke to let the oppressed go free.”
PARTNER IN THIS WORK!
Volunteer hours, donations, and prayers are essential. Get involved using the information below.
Each year 100+ Advance Memphis participants make choices and take steps to move forward with their educational and professional goals, such as: