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Partner Highlight

Financial Beginnings Oregon Partner Highlight

COUNTRY Financial

Financial Beginnings Oregon would not be where we are today without the support of COUNTRY Financial. Since 2013, they have been invaluable partners in our work to create meaningful financial education opportunities across Oregon. Each year, they galvanize their employees to support our work as volunteers, and they donate tens of thousands of dollars to support our work.

Recently, we sat down with representatives from COUNTRY Financial to discuss our shared passion for financial education, and to hear more about what motivates them to be so involved in the community. Read the interview below, and learn more about COUNTRY Financial and their amazing work at their website: https://www.countryfinancial.com/

Financial Beginnings Oregon: Why does your organization feel it important to invest in financial literacy and capability?

COUNTRY Financial: For 90 years it's been our mission to help families and individuals achieve their financial goals no matter what stage they're in. We aren't born with the knowledge of how to handle our finances or have the right tools to make important financial decisions. We understand the importance of investing in financial literacy programs to ensure our community members have access to the educational resources they need to learn these skills to achieve financial security and a comfortable future.

Financial Beginnings Oregon: How has your organization connected with the communities you serve through financial education?

COUNTRY Financial: COUNTRY Financial has been able to establish deep connections with many teachers, parents and students in Oregon through our volunteer efforts, events and scholarship programs. It's a pleasure to hear the first hand stories from individuals who feel better equipped to navigate their financial future thanks to our volunteers' efforts and Financial Beginnings' programs.

Financial Beginnings Oregon: How has Financial Beginnings Oregon helped you improve upon your organization's financial education efforts?

COUNTRY Financial: Working with Financial Beginnings helps us reach youth in the classroom and start educating them early about the very basics of money and then build upon that strong foundation as they approach and plan for their future.

Financial Beginnings Oregon: How has your organization's financial education efforts impacted the communities you serve, in particular low- or moderate-income neighborhoods?

COUNTRY Financial: Teaching classes in partnership with community-based organizations enables us to reach individuals in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods, where we are able to provide education and resources to help many adults feel more confident about their banking, budgeting and credit-related decisions, as well as helping them mitigate debt and increase their financial stability.

Financial Beginnings Oregon: How have you witnessed financial education changing people's lives for the better?

COUNTRY Financial: We witnessed one young man, born to first generation Ethiopian immigrants, take the lessons he learned though a Financial Beginnings program in high school and devise a plan to pay for college on his own. He opened his first checking account, applied for a credit card to begin building a credit history and started an emergency savings account. Financial education helped build his confidence and take pride in his self sufficiency. He became empowered knowing he had the tools to learn how to support himself and manage money on his own.

Our annual Money Smart Teen essay contest is another example of financial education affecting people's lives. The scholarship opportunity engages students and their families by presenting a topic that is timely and relevant. It prompts students to think deeply about topics such as disaster preparedness or income volatility and write about how it could affect a family financially and what steps we can take to prepare ourselves. We've seen first-hand how families have taken immediate action to protect themselves financially, based on what their teen discovered through the exercise.

Financial Beginnings Oregon: Why does your organization feel it important to support Financial Beginnings and its mission of empowering youth and adults to take control of their financial futures?

COUNTRY Financial: It's important for us to support Financial Beginnings because it aligns with our own mission of helping families achieve their financial goals and achieve financial security. We know we are stronger together and can make a greater impact by supporting and working with like-minded organizations.

Financial Beginnings Oregon: Please complete the following sentence: "Financial empowerment is..."

COUNTRY Financial: "Financial empowerment is being able to make choices and know there's a path to achieving your goals."

"Financial Beginnings' lessons were important. A lot of people might now save themselves from falling into too much debt. It might even prevent someone from having to foreclose on their home." - Student Participant