Income Leadership Delegation
The Community Building Council (CBC) of United Way of Adams County is engaging the community by identifying key concerns and opportunities for growth and advancement. Led by the CBC, teams of community members formed Leadership Delegations in the areas of Education, Health and Income to play a lead role in decision-making about critical issues and create a stronger awareness of those issues.
In 2013, the Income Leadership Delegation led the development of a community initiative to address the issue of financial stability in two ways:
1) Educating our young people to make them better financial stewards once they are adults
2) Providing education and resources for adults who wish to make changes in their financial status.
The Financial Stability Initiative was awarded seed funding through the United Way resource investment process to launch a three year pilot covering these strategies. The Initiative seeks to help families in Adams County maintain economic independence by reducing the amount of unsecured debt. As well as help all youth develop skills that prepare them for a successful future. Each component of the Financial Stability Initiative, as highlighted below, has outcomes and indicators with which to measure success.
• FINANCIAL COACHING: An individualized financial coaching program is now being offered, free of charge, through the United Way. Through financial coaching, clients will develop necessary skills and tools to better track spending, budget money, reduce debt, build savings and improve credit.
• INCOME TAX PREPARATION: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) program provides free income tax preparation for tax payers whose household income is $50,000. Since 2008, Adams County residents have saved over $395,000 in tax preparation fees and received over $3.5 million in state and federal income tax refunds. VITA volunteers are specially trained to ensure taxpayers claim all available tax credits.
• FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR YOUTH: A third piece of the Financial Stability Initiative is financial literacy for youth incorporating both nationally recognized and locally developed programs to be rolled out in school districts county-wide. Junior Achievement®, a nation-wide financial success program, will be rolled into elementary, middle, and high school curriculums throughout Adams County to empower students to focus on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.
• COLLEGE/CAREER READINESS: A new program called Ready for College; Ready for Work will recognize students who have successfully met criteria to earn a Workforce Readiness Certificate based on the program standards that emphasize skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace.
“An alarming number of families in Adams County do not earn the money to meet their basic needs,” said Brian Peuster, Financial Stability Coordinator, United Way of Adams County. “We want to encourage youth to develop the skills that prepare them for a successful future while at the same time helping families make good choices to safeguard their income and work toward financial self-sufficiency.”
If you would like to be involved with the Income Leadership Delegation or the Financial Stability Initiative community initiative, contact Brian at (217) 222-5020 or by email to: email@example.com.