Save Up Program

by Rise Foundation, Inc.

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

Tracie is a divorced mother of four sons between the ages of 14 and 19 years old.  She is employed b yan organization helping people with developmental disabilities to lead full lives.

She had always dreamed of being a homeowner but thought that it was not within her reach.  Then she heard about RISE through a co-worker and decided to become a Save Up participant.  She said that the biggest challenge that she faced as a participant was doubt, but through her faith, was able to overcome it. Tracie has something to be thankful for this holiday season.  In October 2014, her family moved into their brand new home.   

She said “being in the Save Up Program was a faith builder.  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.”

In 2012, we first met Brian, an unemployed father of a seven year old son.  He heard about the Building Assets for Fathers and Families (BAFF) program though Maximus, a partner agency.  As a non-custodial parent, he wanted to find a good paying job that would enable him to save money, pay his bills, and meet his child support obligation. 

His job search led him to a Maximus sponsored job fair, which he learned about at a BAFF workshop.  At the job fair, he was interviewed and hired on the spot to work for Maximus as an Establishment Caseworker. Once he became employed, he used the skills that he learned in the BAFF Program to manage his credit and create a realistic spending plan.     

In January of 2013, he enrolled in the Save Up Program.  As a Save Up participant, Brian became a focused and diligent saver, setting his sights on purchasing a vehicle.  He says that he is grateful for the opportunity to purchase reliable transportation, which is essential to realizing his dream of working in the IT field. 

On April 17, 2014, Brian purchased a beautiful 2007 Chrysler 300 Touring!  Now he is able to get to work, to see his son, and to get to class.  He is set to graduate with his Bachelor's degree in Information Science next year.

We are so glad that we could play a part in helping Brian to stabilize his family situation and to make better informed financial choices so that his family could prosper!

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Organization Information

Rise Foundation, Inc.

Location: Memphis, TN - USA
Project Leader:
Aimee Burnwatt
Memphis, Tennessee United States