Monday, March 31, 2014

Catalyst Miami to Launch Lending Circles Program

With founding support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Catalyst Miami announces that it will soon launch an innovative social lending program which will help financially excluded communities of Miami-Dade County gain access to the financial mainstream. Catalyst Miami’s Lending Circles program will help consumers under-served by traditional banking institutions build credit, develop sound spending habits, and receive financial coaching.

The Lending Circles program will focus on formalizing social lending circles popular in many of the immigrant communities of Miami-Dade County. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to connect to the formal banking sector while building savings, establishing credit scores, or repairing damaged scores. By the end of the program participants will have both credit histories and savings which can be used for anything from the seed capital needed to form a new business to a simple desire to build savings.

Catalyst Miami will work closely with participants to help them reach their financial goals by offering financial coaching services such as credit counseling and family budgeting, in addition to benefits enrollment, tax services, and career services.

For more information please contact:
Terry Tasker, 786-527-2574,

Funded by:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Grant Seeking 101 Webinar - Notes

3/20 Grant Seeking 101 Webinar

Managing Expectations:

·         Establish relationships, cultivate, steward
·         Reality check
o   How are you serving the community?
·         Individual donors
o   Board support
o   Establish track record
·         Identify local grant makers
·         Start-ups
o   What makes you unique?
o   Pitch project as a pilot – reasonable $$
o   Guidestar 990’s – search
·         Call and Ask! Program officer
·         Match funder with organization’s mission
·         Competitor’s funders – 990’s
·         Corporate foundations
·         Reserve searching

Develop a funding plan:

·         Begin identifying 6-12 months in advance
·         Organize by deadline
·         Identify who will write/assign
·         Multiple proposals in pipeline
·         Proposal lead – programs

Build a portfolio of documents:

·         IRS determination letter
·         List of BOD – keep current
·         990’s, current budget, 3-5 year budget

Grant review:

·         Multiple reads, board members, other staff
·         Cycles – 3 to 6 months
·         Impact your project will make?
·         How is this shared?
·         If you use percentages, give context
·         Long term results

Financial piece:

·         Be proactive about financial story
·         Short budget narrative
·         Use emotion in proposal to connect foundation to your org’s work
·         Storytelling and numbers

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

·         Need to explain impact
·         Current data to demonstrate need and relevance** examples
o   U.S. Census Bureau
o   School Report Cards
o   FBI’s US Crime Data
o   Kids Count
o   Women’s Health Care
o   Local Health Departments

Compelling program description:

·         Be realistic about metrics
o   No more than 5 objectives/outcomes
o   KISS-simplicity-not pedantic
o   Do you have resources to track the metrics?
o   Do you have the budget?
o   Ways to move indicators
§  Break into blocks, # served, $
People give to people, connect head to heart

·    Beyond the proposal:
o   DO
§  Site visit – “best chance”
·         Schedule when activity in progress
·         Have board member and client present (prep them)
·         Allow sufficient time
o   DON’T
§  Take phone calls
§  Use phone or ipads, even for notes
§  be unorganized
§  don’t overdo snacks
§  No long powerpoint presentations


·         Shared Database:
o   Better coordinator of services
o   Better referrals
o   Collaboration – especially with data
o   Cost sharing, demonstrate impact together
o   Better assess impact of grant investments

·         Questions
o   Letter of intent – no more than 2-3 pages
§  How it is going to be used will determine its content
o   Time spent writing a grant
§  Be precise with goals, not a life project
o   Create grant pipeline
§  Spreadsheet with dates, $’s, etc.
o   Foundation’s not in community – program or office in community
o   Repeat funding for same program
§  Specify program foundation is interested in
§  Focus on report
o   Develop relationships with program officers

§  How often should you contact a program officer if no response? Wait a week, and then call back. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Asset & Opportunity Network: House Committee Attacks Financial Protection

House Committee Attacks Financial Protection

Refute unfounded stories that the CFPB is hurting consumers.

Despite having proven its worth as an effective watchdog for public interest, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is under attack. Last week, the House Committee on Financial Services released an online survey asking people to weigh in with stories about how the CFPB is hurting the public. These unfounded claims suggest that business as usual in Washington is best for America. We know the real value of consumer financial protection. We need to tell those stories!

As our partners at Americans for Financial Reform put it in their announcement, “We can’t let the industry win. What the Committee should hear is the real story about financial abuses that impact Americans.”
Do you have 5 minutes?
If so, share a story about how the CFPB has helped you or the clients you serve. The CFPB is a positive force in the financial marketplace, so please take a moment and tell the House Committee the side of the story it doesn’t want to hear.
Thank you for all you do to protect consumers in the financial marketplace, today and every day.
Want to share your story with us or send other feedback? Email

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