Co-creating a Personal Finance Program for NYC

The Situation. Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners works to create change in the financial lives of New York City residents. They believe strongly in the need to break people out of inertia and support them to take actions – even small actions – to improve their money management skills and build a healthy personal balance sheet.

They wanted to build a program around a research-based “Getting Ahead Cycle” that incorporated behavioral economics and outcomes-driven financial counseling. Neighborhood Trust came to Global Learning Partners (GLP) to bring the best of dialogue-based adult learning methodology to create a new “Getting Ahead” program.

The Journey. We worked with Neighborhood Trust to research, develop, pilot-test, and launch this comprehensive learning program. The five-week program combines face-to-face group sessions with individualized financial advising and product offerings through a network of community development credit unions. It connects low-income New Yorkers to productive banking services, a financial plan, and a trusted relationship with an expert financial advisor.

GLP and Neighborhood Trust staff worked collaboratively along the way by co-creating the foundational steps of the design and learning objectives for each session. Neighborhood Trust staff provided content expertise while GLP creatively crafted a sequence of learning tasks to achieve the objectives. In order to ensure that this strong design would be used effectively in the hands of Neighborhood Trust financial advisors, we crafted and led a unique facilitator training built on the belief systems of NT.

The Impact. Here are a few reflections by a seasoned financial advisor, Tyler Phillips, following his participation in the GLP-led facilitator training:

The way the training was designed was quite efficient and we covered a lot of material with no “filler.” Everything was absolutely relevant and I and other advisors were anxious to take the new material and skills we learned and start using them right away. I enjoyed the challenge and format of the training. I felt a real connection to the material as I was able to experience the new “Getting Ahead” curriculum from both the facilitator and participant perspective which I know will be invaluable to my work with clients.

So far, the response from the field has been powerful. Financial advisors claim that families are facing their financial lives more honestly, discussing them more openly, and taking steps to make change. Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners has over 20 nonprofit host partners using the Getting Ahead program with their clients, enabling them to achieve their own mission more effectively.

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