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December 2020 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Goodbye 2020 and Looking Ahead to 2021

The year 2020 has been a time of transitions, adjustments, and pivots as we have made our way through the most unimaginable and uncertain times. As a network, we have pulled together to ensure that Texas families could continue to receive financial coaching services, information on the CARES Act Protections, assistance with paying bills and basic necessities, and even safe, affordable small dollar loans or grants to assist families during the never-ending pandemic. The RAISE Texas network was resilient, and we are proud and thankful for ALL OF YOU and your efforts to assist the lives of so many Texas families.

As we say goodbye to the craziness of this year, we want to thank Woody Widrow, Founding Executive Director of RAISE Texas, one more time for all of his hard work throughout his career as he steps down from his position in the coming weeks. Woody’s final thoughts as Executive Director:

"Over the past 13 years, RAISE (Resources, Assets, Investments, Savings, and Education) Texas has been a large part of my life in helping ALL Texans become financially stable. I would like to thank all of you that have played a big or small role in moving this work forward since 2007 and even before that when we were the Texas IDA Network and then the Texas Asset Building Coalition. Even though at times we were not as successful as we had hoped for, and the many challenges placed in front of us working in the great state of Texas, it has been an honor to work with many of you over these last two decades. As I have said repeatedly 'if it were easy to do, someone else would have done it'. The successes and victories through RAISE Texas did not come easily. But when they did, it made it all worthwhile. Thanks for being a large part of our success and helping Texans become financially resilient. Keep doing what you are doing for it will lead to positive results."

Next year RAISE Texas will continue making affordable comprehensive financial coaching trainings available to increase the number of high-quality financial coaches in Texas; we will push the Roadmap to Financial Resilience Initiative forward and work on expanding savings opportunities across Texas; and, most importantly, we look forward to starting the year of 2021 under the strong leadership of our incoming Executive Director, Elizabeth Colvin.

“I am honored to be following in the footsteps of Woody, who has served as the founding director of this small but mighty organization that was the first of its kind in the country. While 2020 has been incredibly challenging and scary for so many Texans, there is also a new awareness around the importance of financial stability and the asset-building activities that RAISE Texas and many partners have advanced for decades. We are in a unique position to effect change and I look forward to working with you to make that happen.” -Elizabeth

Welcome Elizabeth Colvin, New Executive Director of RAISE Texas

The RAISE Texas Board of Directors and Staff would like to officially welcome RAISE Texas’ new leader, Elizabeth Colvin, to the organization. Elizabeth was most recently the Director of Local Affairs at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin where she worked closely with local stakeholders and managed a regional cancer coalition working to improve access and care for uninsured patients. Prior to that, Elizabeth worked for Foundation Communities in Austin and BakerRipley in Houston. In those roles, she created volunteer-based free tax preparation and health insurance enrollment programs and supervised agency initiatives designed to increase the financial stability of individuals and families. Please feel free to reach out to Elizabeth at ecolvin@raisetexas.org.

The 2020 RAISE Texas Virtual Summit was a HUGE Success- Still Time for YOU to Get Involved

Thank you to everyone who attended RAISE Texas’ First Virtual Action Summit last month. We were thrilled to bring together about 150 participants from across the state of Texas to launch The Roadmap to Financial Resilience Initiative. RAISE Texas is embarking on a journey to change this truth of too many Texans without an infrastructure of opportunity to prop them up. Our plan is to create replicable community-sponsored cohorts in Texas that will lead to strong efforts to find solutions, break down barriers, and eventually build long-term financial resilience for vulnerable populations. Now is the time to get your organization and community involved in the three key steps to help more Texas families get on “The Roadmap to Financial Resilience.”

  • Step 1: Achieving Short-Term Financial Stability
  • Step 2: Achieving Income Stability
  • Step 3: Crafting Emergency Savings Accounts
Click here for more information on The Roadmap to Financial Resilience. Or, email Lauren at Lgates@raisetexas.org if you are offering an emergency savings program or hoping to launch an emergency savings program in your community.

Texas News

Texas Organizations Win Inclusive Community Development Award

The National Disability Institute’s Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development released the winners of its First Annual Inclusive Community Development Awards. The purpose of the awards is to raise the visibility of promising and exemplary activities by community-based organizations and financial institutions to support low- and moderate-income individuals with disabilities to improve their financial stability and health. We want to congratulate the Houston Financial Inclusion Working Group and JPMorgan Chase on being selected for this award. The goal of the Houston Financial Inclusion Working Group is to improve financial stability of LMI people with disabilities through actively engaging clients in mainstream financial products and services, promoting financial education to ensure accessibility and hep clients overcome barriers through financial resource fairs, webinars, workshops and one-on-one financial coaching through its partnering agencies. Click here to read more about the awards and the work of the winners.