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Community Services and Revitalization Newsroom

Living Cities Grant Boosts Financial Empowerment Efforts in Louisville

Friday June 14, 2013

Media Contact: Tina Lentz, 574-6827 / 649-5005
Chris Poynter,  574-4546 / 396-2015

Living Cities Grant Boosts Financial Empowerment Efforts in Louisville  
Action steps recommended to help Louisville's most vulnerable citizens  

Social service providers and civic leaders today marked the completion of a grant that will help add financial empowerment to services provided to Louisville’s most at-risk residents including the homeless. Through the $164,000 Living Cities grant, awarded to Louisville Metro Community Services and Revitalization (CSR), 13 homeless service agencies helped develop tools and resources that will increase access to financial education and empowerment opportunities for Louisville’s most vulnerable citizens.
For the past 18 months, two community teams worked to create a service provider approach that embeds financial empowerment into the homeless service provider system and be a model for all social service systems in the community. The “Money Talks” teams created a common language and a community vision where “all people in our community have the knowledge, tools and opportunities to fully participate in their quest for financial empowerment in a respectful culture.”

One result of the “Money Talks” initiative has been the development of a Community Financial Empowerment Certification program that will provide training opportunities ranging from behavioral economics to empowerment coaching.

“As we build a network of case managers and social workers who understand and utilize the financial empowerment approach, we should begin to see an impact on the lives of the people we serve.” said Tina Lentz, CSR executive administrator over Financial Empowerment Initiatives.

Statistics show that many clients return for additional services as soon as the next crisis occurs. The “Money Talks” model helped service providers look to innovative strategies that break the crisis-to-crisis cycle. Providing support to increase the capability of clients to make informed choices and encourage them to take action toward their own financial goals, is one such approach.

In recent years, Louisville has been laying a foundation to move the financial well-being of its residents to the forefront of community awareness and action. An array of public and non-profit programs provide critical resources and services daily to address the crisis experienced by residents across with basic human needs including food, housing, health, employment, transportation, childcare, and clothing.

Two initiatives, Bank On Louisville and the Family Economic Success Network, have brought a variety of partners together to help the unbanked and under-banked connect to mainstream financial services and access financial education and asset-building opportunities. With its universal reach and accessibility, a Community-wide Financial Empowerment System may serve to help unify related systems like homeless, workforce, and health. CSR has been the lead agency on many of these efforts.

The partners who participated in the effort include the Coalition for the Homeless, Louisville Urban League, Family Scholar House, St. John Center for Homeless Men, Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul, Family Health Centers, Bellewood, New Directions Housing Corporation, Family & Children’s Place, YMCA Safe Place, Wayside Christian Mission, and Volunteers of America.

For more information about the Department of Community Services and Revitalization (CSR) and the “Money Talks” program, visit


Living Cities is an innovative philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions whose members include the Ford, Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations
Living Cities’ mission is to harness the collective power of philanthropy and financial institutions to improve the lives of low-income people and the cities where they live.