“This is a national movement — a culmination of all of our local work in San Francisco’s Mission District. On a micro-level, it’s about strengthening organizations by offering customized training and technical assistance. But the big picture centers around fostering wealth and power building not just for Latinos, but for all low- and moderate-income clients, immigrants and communities of color, in urban and rural settings across the country.”
This is how MEDA Director of Asset Building Programs Lucy Arellano describes the 18-month project — in partnership with the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) — with over eight expert MEDA staff teaming up for best practice exchange. Arellano advocates that MEDA’s financial-integration model, which is already being shared across California and other states, is a universal strategy to leverage communities’ strengths and allow them to thrive. In addition to organizational capacity building in the area of direct service, MEDA is seeking to build and work in coalition with communities across the country in the areas of community engagement, financial education, and policy and advocacy, to name a few. The goal of this is to build individual and collective wealth and power that will pivot communities to a place of equity and influence, rather than deficit.
Through the recent launch of the NALCAB project, MEDA is poised to showcase results in every part of the nation, and in varied communities with different foci, from housing to small-business development.
“Financial integration needs to be an integral part of any organization supporting communities to build generational assets,” explains Arellano.
Additionally, some organizations want a focus on data and evaluation, while others are seeking client-focused solutions to financial integration. The training channels will be in-depth phone calls, intensive site visits and a comprehensive convening at NALCAB’s Fall 2019 training conference. The outcome of this project will be the further refining of this financial-integration model, and work toward coalition priorities.
The dozen nonprofits that NALCAB selected to receive low-, mid- or high-touch technical assistance, customized to meet defined organizational goals, are:
- Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association, Salinas, Calif.
- Azteca Economic Development and Preservation Corporation, Laredo, Texas
- Building Skills Partnership, Los Angeles
- Center for Community Self-Help, Durham, N.C.
- Chinese American Service League, Chicago
- Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Grow Brooklyn, New York
- Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala.
- Homewise, Santa Fe, N.M.
- Houston Area Women’s Center, Houston
- Lawrence CommunityWorks, Lawrence, Mass.
- Merit, Salem, Ore.
MEDA was chosen for the project based on the knowledge and the results Arellano’s team has demonstrated. Additionally, NALCAB was impressed on how the nonprofit has been nationally recognized as being the vanguard of integration of financial education into all services.
“Our first partnership provided technical assistance to two NALCAB members who both significantly increased their capacity to integrate financial capability services,” said NALCAB Associate Director, Holly Frindell. “Since then, MEDA has refined their Viva! Model bringing a holistic approach to the work. We look forward to leveraging MEDA’s knowledge and strengths to expand the capacity of our network to integrate quality, culturally relevant financial-capability services into their asset-building programs.”