CFSI Awards MEDA $300,000 to Promote Financial Capability

CFSI-logoCFSI’s Grant Fund Supports Eight Innovative Nonprofit-led Programs Designed to Help Americans Improve Their Financial Lives

San Francisco, CA, April 24, 2013—– The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) awarded the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) $300,000 through the Financial Capability Innovation Fund II (FCIF II). MEDA is one of eight grantees CFSIA awarded grants totaling $2.5 million. Each grantee will promote greater financial capability for low- and moderate-income families through their pioneering products and services and offer new approaches for changing consumer behavior.

MEDA will use the grant to provide secured credit cards through their free tax preparation program, and use text messages to encourage responsible usage and build credit for their low-income, primarily Latino and Spanish-speaking clients. The pairing of MEDA’s financial coaching with financial products will help these clients improve their credit, increase their savings, reduce their debt, and achieve financial stability.

The VITA Credit Builder project is supported by a grant from CFSI’s Financial Capability Innovation Fund II. The grant fund was developed in 2010 in partnership with the Citi Foundation, as part of their efforts to build consumer financial capability and outcomes. FCIF is supported by a collaboration of funders led by the Citi Foundation and including Capital One Foundation, NYSE Euronext Foundation, Charles Schwab Bank, Charles Schwab Foundation, and Experian.

“The eight organizations funded this year offer fresh perspectives on the industry’s efforts to foster positive financial behavior and provide concrete mechanisms for meeting consumer needs in new ways” said Jennifer Tescher, President & CEO, CFSI. “By funding innovative programs like these, we seek to support promising interventions designed to transform the underbanked marketplace. We believe these programs will empower consumers to take greater control over their financial lives.”

CFSI selected the grantees from a highly competitive pool of proposals that included more than 125 applications from 38 states and Washington DC.

The other Financial Capability Innovation Fund II grantees are:

  • Center for Community Self-Help, Oakland, CA, will test underwriting models and behavioral design features with small-dollar credit products
  • D2D Fund, Boston, MA, will employ “gamification” mechanics on a national scale to encourage positive savings behaviors in SavingsQuest
  • Juma Ventures, San Francisco, CA, will develop a Facebook application and mobile alert system to supplement their college savings program for high school youth
  • Mission SF Community Financial Center, San Francisco, CA, will leverage technology, the power of peers, and behavioral economics to integrate a scalable savings-focused financial capability model into municipal employment programs for youth and young adults
  • Moneythink, Chicago, IL, in partnership with, will develop a mobile application to support savings behavior and supplement a financial mentoring program between college and high-school students
  • National League of Cities Institute, Washington, DC, will offer financial coaching and repayment supports for households behind on utility bills
  • Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, New York City, NY, will partner with employers through their new program, PayGoal, to allocate a portion of employees’ wages toward their financial goals and communicate progress toward these goals as part of every paycheck

In addition to monetary support, FCIF II grantees will begin a long-term relationship with CFSI through which they will receive strategic guidance, heightened visibility, and access to an unparalleled network in the financial services industry.

“It is important for us to support innovative nonprofits and the work they are doing to improve financial capability around the country,” said Sarah Gordon, Vice President, Advisory Services and Nonprofit Investments. “Because of their position within underserved communities and the personal relationships they have with consumers, nonprofits play a key role in the effort to transform financial health.”

The impact of each grantee will be evaluated by research partners including: Innovations for Poverty Action at Yale University; the Take Charge America Institute; Harder +Company Community Research; National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders; the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; the Center for Community Capital at UNC; and the team of Michael Sherraden, Margaret Sherraden, and Vernon Loke.

For more information about MEDA’s program, please contact us at or at 415-282-3334.

For more information about each grantee and FCIF II, visit


About CFSI

The Center for Financial Services Innovation is the nation’s leading authority on financial services for underbanked consumers. Since 2004, its programs have focused on informing, connecting, and investing – gathering enhanced intelligence, brokering and supporting productive industry relationships, and fostering best-in-class products and strategies. CFSI works with leaders and innovators in the business, government and nonprofit sectors to transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to or follow on Twitter at @cfsinnovation.

About MEDA

For nearly 40 years, MEDA has striven to achieve economic prosperity for San Francisco’s low-income families. MEDA serves approximately 6,000 individuals annually through business technical assistance to low- to moderate-income Latino entrepreneurs; homeownership counseling and education in purchasing homes and intervening in foreclosures; free tax return preparation and benefits screening for low-income working families; financial coaching and education specifically tailored toward improving credit, increasing savings, and lowering debt; and digital literacy, technology training, and job placement services for Latino and primarily Spanish-speaking adults. For more information, visit



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