Save Up Program

by Rise Foundation, Inc.
Toshuna's paid in full car

“The family that prays together, stays  and can save together”, that’s the sentiment Toshuna shared as she spoke about the fact that her brother and mother are also SAVE Up participants. In fact, Toshuna was first introduced to the program by her cousin Tameka who successfully purchased an asset through RISE’s SAVE Up program. Now it is Toshuna who is coming to the office to receive her check so that she can pay off her car.  More importantly, her entire family (brother, mother and cousin and even those who have not gone through the program) now considers themselves a “Saving Family”.  What could be more powerful than that?

"The road hasn’t been easy but it has been a determined and focused effort" that allowed Toshuna to pay off her car early and save money on the interest she would have paid. This mother of two, who works at a local government hospital as a nursing assistant, has indeed sacrificed for the freedoms she now has. The freedom is the product of investing both her 2014 and 2015 income tax returns into lump sum payments toward the balance of her car. Toshuna says that she and her family can now ride in comfort, free of the burden of a car note.  She says that the money she would have paid monthly for her car, will now be used as money toward her daughter’s college fund.  

Toshuna is an avid swimmer, who enjoys spending what free time she has writing poetry and reading. She says she enjoyed the six weeks of  classes at the RISE Foundation office. According Toshuna the helpful life lesson she took from the program was that there is no excuse for not saving money, no matter how small the amount. She says the major challenge for her was being determined to stick to the spending plan she developed in class. Through this process, she says that she has developed discipline and a willingness to sacrifice for her goals. Goals were a major aspect of the training. In fact, that is the jewel she shares with her fellow RISER’s. Toshuna says that "if you can see it, you can achieve it",which was a lesson learned through the creation of vision boards in class. She says that you should never stop working towards your goals. That is indeed a powerful lesson to live by!

Your contributions to RISE will help more families like Toshuna's to set goals for their families and continue to save a portion of their meager earnings to met their financial Goals.  Remember families working together with sound financial tools and technquites can help each other to do more with less! 

Verna and her daughter
Verna and her daughter

Verna, who has an entry level government job, enrolled in the Save Up Program in the spring of 2014. She heard about the program from a classmate and former Save Up participant.  They both were enrolled in an Industrial Readiness Training program at a Junior College in hopes of improving their employment opportunities.  Verna was excited when she learned that RISE could help her realize her dream of home ownership.  You see Verna and her daughter Morgan lived in a one bedroom apartment, sharing a bedroom, with no area outside where should could safely play

Being in the Save Up program didn’t come without challenges.  Verna openly shared during the class that “Saving is hard.  As soon as I started saving, something would always happen.  For example, the struts on both sides of my old car went bad and had to be replaced.  It all worked out though and I didn’t have to withdraw money from my Save Up account because RISE taught me to always save for emergencies.”

Verna realized her dream of home ownership before Christmas, with the purchase of a two bedroom, two bath, brick home in a gated community.  The house had all of the amenities that Verna could ever dream of and especially the large fenced-in backyard where her daughter can run and play.  Verna now shares with others, “Having our own home means that my two year old daughter gets to have her own room and I can play with her outside now….in the safe privacy of our own backyard…..thanks to RISE.”

What a Christmas present for Verna and her daughter, all because of donations made by you and others to the Save Up program.  Look at the smiles on both of their faces.  Please continue to support young struggling families like Verna, who want to work hard and improve their situation so their families can be safe and experience the American Dream of Homeownership!

Xylina  learned about the RISE Foundation’s Save Up Program through a friend and entered the program on July 3, 2014. Her goal is to be able to purchase a vehicle. Because of her large family, whenever they attend an event, they need to travel in two vehicles. Her dream is to purchase a vehicle large enough to accommodate herself, her mother, and four children.

She stays busy raising her four children and taking care of her elderly mother, who has dementia. However, she has found the time to complete a Food and Beverage Degree from Southwest Tennessee Community College (SWTCC) and is currently at  working towards a degree in Speech and Theatre. Xylina has been a Memphian for 12 years but when she lived in New York, she enjoyed participating in off Broadway productions. A natural leader with a bubbly personality has enabled Xylina to participate in the Ambassador’s Program, recruiting students for enrollment at Southwest Tennessee Community College. She also completed the Southwest Tennessee Community College Leadership Institute.

While being helped by RISE, Xylina is still willing to help others.  When the RISE Save Up staff was asked to present information about the Save Up program to a group of Hispanic families, Xylina translated the flyers into spanish and volunteered to accompany them to the event in order to make sure that those present would be able to hear in their language the importance of financial literacy and how Save Up could really help them to make better choices with their financial resources.  She even shared a few ponters herself based on what she learned in the class.  So as Xylina is being helped, she also understands the need to cascade the tools and techniques that she has learned to others in the community like her, who want to improve their family situations.      

Xylina has learned a lot about budgeting and managing her credit through the Save Up Program. She says “I have learned what my worth is financially and have learned how to properly allocate my resources, to recognize my financial limitations and act accordingly.” She says “I am not going to lie, it has been difficult to resist making impulse purchases, but I have managed to stay focused and on target with my spending plan. I know that life has its challenges, but you just have to push through it and make things happen and never give up.” She is well on her way to making her vehicle purchase and plans to do so by February 2016.

As Xylina has been helped through your donations, other families are in need of the services of RISE through the Save Up program.  Your continued support will make it possible for RISE to expand it's reach further in the community.  As you can see by the smile on Xylina's face, being able to not only "make ends" meet but to "make ends overlap" with savings for a specific family need,  is something to smile about.   

Keisha - A Save Up Mother
Keisha - A Save Up Mother

Keisha was a self-referral to the Save Up program because she had never met anyone who had gone through it or been served by any agency in the community that told her how her life could change and that of her children, if she would enroll in the program.  Keisha heard about Save Up after dropping by RISE to deliver some material from her employer to another RISE staff person.  The first thing that caught her eye was the "Wall of Homes" displayed in the office, where others in the same economic situation as she was in (living pay check to pay check and sometimes making poor money management decisions) had purchase some beautiful homes.  She always wanted a home for her family but thought that it would be way in the future, after the kids graduated from high school. 

When she saw the homes the first thing she asked was, "What are all of these pictures of homes for?"  The Administrative Assistant who greeted her at the door, shared with her that the homes were purchased by Save Up families and that they were all low income families who either qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit, lived in public housing, or had Section 8 housing vouchers.  This little piece of information was enough to wet her appetite to learn more about the Save Up program. Keisha immediately signed up for the next orientation class.

Well, Keisha did qualify and the rest is history.  She has completed her Financial Literacy group meetings and now is in the savings portion of Save Up.  Keisha attends all of the quarterly "Savers Club" meetings and has learned more from her peers in Save Up, by attending the Annual Save Up Family Reunion, as well as other events sponsored by RISE.  She keeps the "Dream Board" that she developed while in class in front of her constantly. This has helped her to stay focused not only on her dream of homeownership, but other things that she hopes to accomplish in her life.

Keisha is just one of the 125 families that are currently enrolled in Save Up and we have more waiting to join her.  Your contribution, and the contributions of others, can make that happen for these families who are on the waiting list wanting to improve their lives financially and make some of their dreams come true.  Please support Save Up because every dollar given is a positive investment to move families from tax benefit receivers to tax payers!  That's what Save Up is all about.

Ms. Tee
Ms. Tee's Save Up Success Story

 Dear Friends,

The Save Up program has helped many low-income families in our community to do incredible things with their meager earnings.  I would like to share with you one of our success stories, that involves a hardworking mother, Ms. Tee:

Ms. Tee, a divorced mother of four sons ages 14-19, saw a lifelong dream come to fruition when she closed on a home of her own.

A Department Tech for a local nonprofit, which serves people with disabilities, Ms. Tee spends her workdays shuttling clients to and from doctors’ appointments. Although Ms. Tee always dreamed of becoming a homeowner, she never believed homeownership was within her reach – that is, until she heard about RISE through a coworker.

Ms. Tee enrolled in the Save Up Program, which teaches participants how to create a budget based on their personal income and expenses, and how to obtain and improve their credit scores and credit reports. The Save Up Program also helps participants establish bank accounts and purchase assets.

RISE then helps participants obtain asset-specific training as needed, at no cost to the participant. For example, those saving for homeownership will need to complete homebuyer education classes. Finally, RISE will help Save Up participants purchase the asset for which they’ve saved. Assets include homes, cars, computers, post-secondary classes and small businesses.

“Being in the Save Up Program was a faith builder,” said Ms. Tee, who moved her family into their new home this past December. “Now I feel that I can accomplish anything. RISE is a symbol of me having faith in myself. Learning how to budget and save has helped me to purchase a home. My next goal is to save for my children’s college education.”

With your help and support, the RISE Save Up program can help create even more successfull stories like Ms. Tee's. We currently have a waiting list and with more support, can help more low-income working families to make better choices that benefit their families.  .

We are counting on you!


Karen Madlock, RISE  Save Up Program Coordinator


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Organization Information

Rise Foundation, Inc.

Location: Memphis, TN - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Aimee Burnwatt
Memphis, Tennessee United States

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