Oh my goodness, have we got exciting news for the Oregon IDA Initiative! We have locked in our plans with national financial education expert extraordinaire, Inger Giuffrida, to roll out a new project aimed at (among other things) securing the Oregon IDA Initiative’s status as a national leader in financial education.

Standards for the whole state will mean that an IDA participant taking financial education in Coos Bay will have the same high-level, high-quality access to financial capability as a person opening their IDA in Ontario, or Eugene, or Salem. We already have strong partners across the whole state. The new standards will build on that foundation to ensure that partners all have the opportunity to share resources and trainings to continue evolving their programs for all the Oregon IDA Initiative’s clients.

In case you don’t know Inger already, let me fill you in on her before diving into the project specifics – short story, she’s basically a rock-star in the financial capability world.

Longer story, in addition to operating her own consulting business for 13 years, she served in the U.S. Peace Corps in East Africa, ran a community-based non-profit in Michigan helping women with low income build businesses and achieve economic security, developed a small business development and financial education program for a credit union in upstate New York, and led the asset-building department at a think tank in Washington, D.C. She has written several nationally distributed financial education curricula as well as the CFPB financial empowerment toolkit, Your Money, Your Goals for the CFPB.

We have been fortunate to work with Inger over the years and can hardly contain our excitement that she’ll be guiding us again, in collaboration with our statewide partners, in the refinement and development of the financial education component of the IDA experience. The collaborative process with our statewide partners has five primary goals:

  1. To provide a process for Oregon IDA Initiative Fiduciary Organizations to review and recommend changes or additions to the Oregon IDA Initiative Financial Education Standards.  The result will be revised standards for 2016.
  2. To provide a Financial Education certification process for Oregon IDA Initiative Fiduciary Organizations to ensure that financial education quality and consistency across the Initiative is in alignment with the Oregon IDA Initiative Financial Education Standards.  The certification process will allow for local innovation based on target audiences and service contexts.
  3. To develop and provide effective, efficient, and engaging training that will firstly, help fiduciary organizations develop the knowledge and skills required to meet the Oregon IDA Initiative Financial Education Standards, and secondly, to provide effective and engaging training and one-on-one support to clients.
  4. To develop assessment and evaluation tools that can help Fiduciary Organizations assess and evaluate their effectiveness in providing financial education.  Common assessment and evaluation tools will also help the Oregon IDA Initiative show collective impact through financial education.
  5. To acquire, adapt, and/or create high quality, unbiased curricular resources that support the implementation of all Oregon IDA Financial Education Standards at Fiduciary Organizations.

As you might have guessed, we are super stoked to have Inger on board to work with all of us in bulking up our collective financial capability muscles. At the end of this project, we’ll know with certainty that no matter where an Oregonian accesses an IDA in the state, they will have the same high level of education available to them. We’ll also have resources and regular trainings available for all practitioners to support them in designing classes and coaching that fits the clients with whom they’re working. Clearly, 2016 is going to be an exciting year.

Laina Green will be our project lead.  Please don’t hesitate to contact her with questions or comments (including how awesome you think this all is!).

How New Financial Education Standards Will Make Oregon Stronger

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