Cash Value: How The Financial Clinic Puts Money into the Pockets of Working Poor Families

Practitioners engaged in the nascent field of financial development lack a shared system of tracking and analyzing customer progress toward financial security. Practice leaders—ranging from direct service organizations such as the Chicago-based LISC to NeighborWorks America of Washington, D.C.—define customer progress by their individual outcomes frameworks. But without uniform outcomes measures to assess our customers’ progress—and thus, our own performance—the field as a whole is handicapped. Many factors contribute to this problem, two being most prominent: organizations are grounded in distinct theories of change, are funded by a variety of sources with their own expectations, and lack of clarity about how to measure aspects of our work.

The Pivotal Role of Human Service Practitioners in Building Financial Capability

This report shares remarks by Mae Watson Grote, Founder and CEO of The Financial Clinic, at the Coin A Better Future conference in May 2018.

The journey from financial insecurity to security, and eventually, mobility—what we conceptualize and even romanticize as the quintessential American experience—is one that far too often ensnares people at the insecurity stage, particularly those communities or neighborhoods that have historically been marginalized and deliberately excluded from the traditional pathway towards prosperity. Fraught with debt and credit crises, alongside a myriad of predatory products and lending practices, to a sense of stigma and shame many Americans feel because of their economic status, financial insecurity involves navigating a world on a daily basis where everyday needs are at the mercy of unjust and uncontrollable variables.

Scaling Financial Development: Improving Outcomes and Influencing Impact