Our News: The Latest from Financial Beginnings Oregon
Our Executive Director served as a member of the Oregon State Treasurer's Financial Education Advisory Team (FEAT)--which recently released a report containing recommendations.

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FBOR Represented on Statewide Team Impacting Oregonians

September 21, 2021 -- Financial Beginnings Oregon Executive Director Kate Benedict was selected as a member of the Oregon State Treasurer's Financial Education Advisory Team (FEAT), which has collectively recommended action items to help Oregonians in every community become more financially literate and empowered.

From January through May 2021, Benedict joined 13 fellow Advisory Team Members from the financial education community for ongoing meetings, all of whom were invited by State Treasurer Tobias Read.

Chaired by Read, the advisory team's objective was to guide Oregon State Treasury's efforts to provide resources to--and a foundation for--Oregonians to gain confidence when making financial decisions.

"The goal when starting the Financial Education Advisory Team was to map roads forward for using Treasury tools to help Oregonians," stated Read.

The FEAT has released seven financial education priorities and specifics in its report:

  • Augment and amplify existing programs - Create a centralized clearinghouse and hotline; an online calendar of public financial education events; and a community resource map
  • Improve visibility via outreach and tools - Spotlight successes with a Financial Literacy Award; highlight financial news on social media; create a newsletter focused on financial empowerment efforts in Oregon
  • Enhance and promote equity - Work with allies in underrepresented communities; provide a state-level forum connected to financial education equity, with a specific focus on racial equity; identify equity metrics; encourage practical financial education
  • Be accessible to all Oregonians - Improve connections to the Spanish-speaking community; ensure financial education information is offered in multiple languages; promote efforts by partner organizations
  • Leverage and support partnerships - Help enhance capacity of nonprofits; interface with state agencies, trades, and allies; host and sponsor meetings and events; work with Oregon's sovereign tribes on shared financial education priorities
  • Help advance public policy - Create a financial education committee; help expand saving opportunities for adults with disabilities
  • Set benchmarks - Create an Oregon Financial Education report card; aggregate data; collect metrics to show public impact of these initiatives
  • "Many of these objectives align with the aim and outreach of Financial Beginnings Oregon--I am honored to have had the opportunity to lend my expertise and insight," Benedict said. "Being a part of this collaborative advisory team has helped solidify the importance of all of these organizations' important missions to support a more financially resilient Oregon."

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Financial Beginnings Establishes DEI Committee, Equity Statement, and DEI Goals
October 25, 2021 - Financial Beginnings is furthering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts by taking action: forming a DEI Committee to lead, oversee, and report out on DEI matters; establishing an equity statement; and crafting DEI goals.

The organization as a whole worked to establish an equity statement, which is:

We recognize a greater need to serve minoritized and marginalized populations stems from a long-rooted history of systemic oppression, which has excluded these populations from having equitable access to financial knowledge and sound resources.

The equity statement also guides the DEI committee, chaired by Financial Beginnings Nebraska Program Manager Karrissa Jyles.

"As an organization, we understand the challenge of recognizing and reducing barriers in the financial realm. We're excited to reflect the needs of the communities we serve by operating through a DEI lens--and our committee is making progress," Jyles said.

Overall, the committee is working to move DEI forward for Financial Beginnings and its key partners and stakeholders. Duties include:

  • Develop and implement Financial Beginnings' DEI strategic goals
  • Create common language for the organization as it relates to DEI
  • Share best practices for DEI in human resources, education & training, organizational development, and hiring
  • Serve as a resource for guidance and consultation regarding DEI
  • Share professional development opportunities around DEI

The duties were set in motion starting in May, when the committee welcomed facilitator Nefertiti Beck to lead an all-staff meeting, which included board members, centered on defining DEI terms and discussing ideas in tandem with Financial Beginnings' vision.

Recently the committee finalized the organization's DEI goals, which are in the form of categories with purpose statements:

  • People - Financial Beginnings listens to and engages individuals who are diverse and representative of the learners we serve.
  • Programming - Financial Beginnings strives for programs and volunteers to connect with diverse communities.
  • Access - Financial Beginnings proactively works to identify and overcome barriers that diverse communities face accessing our programs.
  • Process - Financial Beginnings creates and maintains clear processes and tools for incorporating the voice and needs of the diverse communities we serve.

"We are defining our role in creating a more inclusive and equitable society, particularly as we strive to deliver our financial education programming to additional underserved communities across the country," said Financial Beginnings CEO, Melody Bell.

Next up, Financial Beginnings USA and affiliates will develop their own goal for each category aligning with the goal purposes and with national initiatives.

"The committee is making great, important progress in furthering inclusive goals and creating and implementing a shared, actionable vision," Jyles said. "We are committed to creating equity, and ensuring our intentions have a meaningful impact for learners, stakeholders, volunteers, staff, and communities."