March 23, 2018 By Bryce Stout
Financial Stability. Concerns about money top the stress chart making financial education a principal priority at Advance Memphis. Our Faith & Finances course empowers our South Memphis neighbors to manage their hard-earned money in ways that can honor God and build stability by addressing budget, debt avoidance and expense tracking, among other key financial literacy principles. We teach the life changing messages that Jesus is making all things new and that He wants to use our finances as a part of His kingdom work. In the past 3 years, our number of graduates has doubled to 41 students in 2017. In 2018, we offer a morning class in addition to our Thursday evening class.
A key to success is the continued connection our neighbors feel with Advance staff and volunteers. Faith & Finances Ally volunteer Jeff Moreland comments, “My biggest takeaway was to see how others deal financially with what they have been given.” In fact, he agreed to be an Ally at the encouragement of a friend, thinking he would happily share his knowledge with the class. He soon realized he had more to learn than to give. Jeff enjoyed his experience and got to know people he wouldn’t have otherwise. A highlight for Jeff is the relationships he has begun with men in the class as they formed new spending habits together.
Improving good financial habits increases financial stability which, in turn, brings hope, relieves stress and provides more options for the future. Advance Memphis invests in our neighbors by offering tools to move them toward financial stability. Upon graduating from Faith & Finances, neighbors can open an Individual Saving Account (IDA). IDA participants receive $2 to match every $1 saved from earned income, with the goal to increase net worth through the habit of saving and the purchase of assets. Savings are used for purchasing a car or house, starting a small business, or obtaining a degree. Building assets improves financial stability and builds security. One graduate states, “I feel more secure because I’m actually working and striving for my goal. I took more control. I’m pushing back a lot of spending and I’m working on my goal. I know if I don’t save, I won’t accomplish it. I’ll actually still be dreaming.”
Faith & Finances often melds with our LAUNCH program for entrepreneurs, further strengthening our neighbors’ capacity for financial stability and meaningful work. Often Faith & Finances graduates utilize their IDA accounts to begin a new business through our LAUNCH program. Please see our “LAUNCH Start-Ups” page to learn about business owners like LaTonya Taylor and her Epic Bouncing business.
Click here to volunteer to be a Faith & Finances Ally volunteer.
Advance Memphis serves adults in the South Memphis neighborhoods of 38126 and 38106 by empowering them to acquire the knowledge, resources, and skills to be economically self-sufficient through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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