RISE Foundation, Inc.

RISE's mission is to help people become self-sufficient by building and sustaining human and financial assets.
Aug 16, 2016

Financial Health is a Family Affair

Erika
Erika's Smiling Save Up Face

Families that enter the Save Up program must first complete a six module course in financial skill building. The facilitated classes are geared to help the head of household prepare the family for the assets that they plan to purchase at the end of the program. When the entire family is not involved, it makes it difficult for the ‘breadwinner’ of the family to make sound financial choices.  For example, when a low income family is saving for a home, it is important for the children to be involved.  They must realize that saving money for up-keep on a house is just as important as saving to make the first down payment.  When everyone is involved in setting the goal, children are excited about having something that belongs to their family and are usually willing to help with the savings as well.

As in the case of Erika, who completed the financial classes provided by RISE and wanted to save to purchase a home for herself and two children.  She wasted no time in sharing with the family what Save Up was all about, as well as including them in deciding the family’s asset goal.  Needless to say, the family was excited about the idea of finally having a home with a back yard. 

After every class, Erika sit down with her children at the kitchen table and discussed what she learned.  The kids even helped with some of the homework assignments – especially the ‘Dream Board’ that Ericka had to present to her fellow classmates.  They even discussed the credit report and how important it is to pay bills on time and checking to make sure that the Credit Bureau has good information about their account history.  So, it was no surprise that at the end of the six weeks, the entire family wanted to attend graduation.  The children along with Erika were proud of their first steps in meeting their family’s goal of purchasing a home.

Erika will be successful, as she works over the next eighteen months to two years to reach her asset goal – she has the whole family working and looking at ways to make good financial choices. They all realize that their family’s successful participation in the Save Up program is a Family AffairA Family Affair that will lead to financial habits to reach more asset goals in the future!

Erika
Erika's home
Jun 28, 2016

Spreading Financial Wellness to others

RISE provides the Common Cents (financial literacy) class to residence of Shelby County, who want to improve their financial health.  Most of them are low to moderate income individuals, who are initially reluctant to share the “real deal” about their financial condition.  Once in the class, and meet others in similar situations, the “flood gate” of sharing begins.   

For example, Linda talked about being in an abusive situation, and the abuser would not allow her to be involved in any of the financial transaction of the household.  Through counseling and the help of her family, she was able to get out of the situation but then was left with bills in her name that the abuser stopped paying.  Without his income, she was in a terrible predicament.   Linda shared how she was able to learn in the Common Cents class about developing a spending plan and comparing it to the amount of money that she was earning.   When they didn’t match, she looked at ways of aligning them, one of which was contacting the creditors to make payment arrangements. Linda now shares with others how she was able to reduce stress in her life as a result of taking control of her situation – both emotionally and financially.

Then there’s Latasha, who took the class in an effort to start building her credit to purchase a home for her family.  She knew she wanted a home but wasn’t sure about how to get ready financially to take on a loan.  Through the Common Cents class, Latasha learned about the importance of reviewing your credit report at least once each year. When she reviewed her report, there were items that she knew nothing about on the report.   Rather than paying someone to correct the report, she was able to write the credit bureau to challenge the entries and they were removed. She was happy to see her credit score increase!

At the end of the class, the facilitator gives certificates to each participant and photographs are taken highlighting that they have the skills and tools to make sound financial decisions.  Most of them share this information with their families, co-workers and others they know.  RISE encourages Common Cents participants to share what they have learned in order to expand the reach of RISE to others in the community.  That’s what RISE is all about – helping individuals/families to help themselves, with the expectation that the information will cascade to others in their network of family and friends.  

May 25, 2016

Chris: Exceeding Expectations, Breaking Barriers

With your support of RISE, we will continue to motivate and encourage our youth to push beyond adversities, set achievable goals and use every talent bestowed upon them to make positive outcomes.


Chris exemplifies how to change your mindset to be optimistic and extend your creativity for the good. The RISE family salutes Chris, a recent college graduate and alumni Goal Card participant, for overcoming challenges and breaking barriers. Chris, the kid with no college acceptance letter and no scholarship offers, has proven to all the naysayers and most importantly, himself and family, that he isn't just a slim, unassuming kid with no drive, focus and dedication—he is now a college graduate.

RISE’s original Goal Card school had been identified as the national contest winner of the 2011 Commencement Challenge, all thanks to Chris, a RISE Goal Card Participant at the time, who charmed our U.S. President Barack Obama in a video submission. Chris was chosen to introduce the President at commencement, surpassing the valedictorian and salutatorian. 

Now, five years from that moment, Chris has turned the tassel again, this time becoming the first college graduate in his immediate family to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

Chris said that if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t do anything differently “No, I wouldn’t change a thing! Honestly, I couldn’t have scripted what I did any better. Although I came up without the guidance of my dad, I had positive influences from RISE and from my neighborhood that helped to provide hope and direction. All that led to me being the person I have become and doing the things that I have been blessed to experience and accomplish, so I’m good!”

Help us to continue our work and mentor and motivate our youth.  We currently serve over 700 children and with your help with can continue to make dreams realities. The more you give, the more RISE's Goal Card program can expand its reach to serve more youth in the Memphis community.  

 
   

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