Key funding for Tacoma Goodwill financial planning program

Key to Change, a Tacoma Goodwill program that helps participants with financial planning, recently received a $50,000 grant from the Key Foundation to provide financial literacy classes to the general public. This is the second year the foundation has supported the program.
In 2007, there were more than 230 participants who took the free, eight-session program. There were 30 separate programs held with the state Department of Corrections, New Phoebe House, Phoenix Housing Network, The Salvation Army, and among Tacoma Goodwill’s own employees.
According to Tacoma Goodwill, nearly all the course participants were introduced to a credit counselor and learned about the services that are available; most got an understanding of how to read a credit report and could identify a predatory lender. The state Department of Corrections reported that after an initial course, all of its participants paid their fines and victim compensation payments on time.
Program goals for 2008 include increasing the number of participants to 360 and organizing at least 40 separate sessions. New versions of the curriculum are being organized, including ones in Spanish and Russian, and courses focused on the needs of military families and at-risk teens. The program started in 2007 to educate people who may be “unbanked,” unaware of the complex financial tools available and who may be more susceptible to payday lenders. The classes are designed to boost knowledge of money matters such as checking and savings accounts, investing and credit.