For 45 years, MEDA has worked to break down and overcome the systemic barriers faced by the low-income, immigrant Latino community endeavoring to build generational assets.
This is especially important in this time of federal political vitriol being an affront to our community, other low-income communities and other communities of color. There is an urgent need to spur widespread, institutionalized and systemic asset building in California: Over 30 percent of California households would be in poverty in fewer than three months if they were forced to deplete all of their assets. When families have a dearth of such assets, they could be one medical emergency or layoff away from financial ruin.
It is prime time to leverage the strength and resilience of our community: Latino unemployment rates are at historic lows; high school and college graduation rates are climbing; and Latino-owned businesses are some of the fastest growing.
MEDA is grateful that JPMorgan Chase & Co. understands this situation, and has awarded MEDA a two-year grant to continue to meet this challenge across our home state of California. By concentrating in the state with the largest Latino population, MEDA is positioned for even stronger national impact via the sharing of the tried-and-true Viva Model with community-based organizations.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been a longstanding partner in supporting MEDA’s track record of strengthening family finances. MEDA has for many years purposefully integrated a financial-education model into all of its own programs and services. Whether a client walks through the doors of Plaza Adelante to get a job, start or expand a small business, get their taxes done or gain technology skills, learning how to manage one’s finances is imperative. That is why MEDA has provided financial coaching to over 4,000 clients just since 2014.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. was also cognizant of MEDA’s model being scalable, customizable to any organization’s diverse client demographics, and part of a bigger Latino and racial equity strategy across the United States. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s support has allowed MEDA to partner with nonprofits as far away as North Carolina, Seattle and Denver.
“We must focus on generational asset building in our community beyond even our children’s lifetimes. What are we doing today to honor our parents’ sacrifices that sets us up to build a legacy of wealth, decision-making and equity rather than struggle? Financial capability is at the core of our ability to do all of that, and that’s why it must be at the core of asset building programs,” states MEDA Director of Asset Building Programs Lucy Arellano of her mission. “We’re looking to do more than just train and provide technical assistance — that’s a means to an end. This is our contribution to a movement.”
The Viva! Model is tailored to include a culturally specific lens, focusing on life goals, juggling short and long-term engagement with other pressures, and factors in more-tangible items such as banking, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) and, most importantly, empowerment.
Comprehensive training of organizations will include:
- Client forms and tools ranging from financial assessments and self- and peer-learning activities to individual action plans and goal sheets.
- Data-tracking methods to track long-term betterment of debt, income, savings and credit (DISC).
- Culturally relevant marketing materials.
- Training and coaching guides/manuals.
- Customized technical assistance.
Over the next two years, there are conferences slated for each of the state’s three regions — Northern, Central and Southern California — including urban and rural centers. Nonprofits will collaborate, strategize and exchange best practices. Organizations can apply for coaching and technical assistance, complemented by pass-through funds to support their local work. There will be two awardees, based on readiness, commitment to integration and ability to sustain once the grant sunsets.
“I want to thank our partners, including our fellow community members, organizations and funders, especially, JPMorgan Chase & Co. And I look forward to meeting new partners to continue to scale this impact across California and the country,” concludes Arellano.
CBOs: Would your organization like to part of MEDA’s sharing of its Viva Model?
Email Lucy Arellano.
Funders: Would you like to lend your support so MEDA can further scale this proven work?
Email Adriana Solis-Lopez.
Community members: Are you looking to strengthen your family’s finances?
(415) 282-3334 ext. 101 or email us.