BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (11/12/13)--The Affinity FCU Foundation has been selected as this year's recipient of the Mary O'Neill Financial Literacy Mini Grant by the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education to build a Spanish-language, culturally grounded, community-based financial education program in New Jersey.
According to the New Jersey Credit Union League, the coalition's mission is to improve the personal financial literacy of New Jersey's citizens by promoting the teaching of personal finance to people of all ages (The Daily Exchange Nov. 8). New Jersey's credit unions are the organization's premier sponsor through funds provided in part by the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation.
Affinity FCU is a $2.29 billion asset credit union based in Basking Ridge, N.J. Its foundation plans to develop a curriculum grounded in the culture and traditions of New Jersey's Hispanic community and deliver it through partnerships with community-based organizations serving those communities.
It will pilot the new program at the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs' offices in Dover and Morristown and evaluated before a wider rollout.
"Affinity was selected for its direct outreach to an underserved population, exceptionally well written and realistic outreach methodology, realistic timeline, and well-reasoned evaluation methodology," said NJCFE Executive Director Michale K. Drulis.
"Having partnered with Affinity in the past, we are aware of their exemplary track record and are confident that the Affinity Foundation will provide invaluable, financial literacy programs to those who need them the most," Drulis said.
The program's goal is to provide personal financial skills and institutional support that many low- and moderate-income Hispanic families lack, and help families to save money, accumulate assets and minimize personal debt while fighting discrimination and avoiding predatory lenders.
Many of the families remain disconnected from mainstream financial institutions. Hispanics represent 17.5% of the population in New Jersey, but nearly 50% do not have a transaction account--a basic starting point in financial management and wealth-building, said the Affinity Foundation. It cited a recent study indicating that 43% of Hispanics said they knew nothing about these subjects. That compares with 12% of the overall population.
"This program will allow recent Hispanic immigrants to develop relationships with mainstream financial providers while gaining the experience with and exposure to basic financial tools that American families need in order to prosper," said Dr. Lauretta A. Farrell, executive director of the Affinity Foundation.