Inclusiv and Clark Atlanta University announce new partnership

Inclusiv and Clark Atlanta University are pleased to announce a new partnership between the Whitney M. Young Jr., School of Social Work Center for Children and Families and On the Rise Financial Center.

The Center is an Inclusiv initiative, which, in collaboration with credit union partners 1st Choice CU, BOND Community CU, Credit Union of Atlanta and Peach State FCU, promotes financial inclusion by providing Westside residents with financial education classes, one-on-one financial coaching, and access to affordable credit union accounts and loans.

Through this new partnership, On the Rise Financial Center has established an internship program for Clark Atlanta University Master of Social Work students to gain practical experience by supporting the financial coaching programs delivered by the Center. This mutually beneficial relationship not only enables MSW students to build their on-the-ground experience, but also enables On the Rise Financial Center to expand its capacity to serve unbanked and underbanked residents in the Westside community.

“Inclusiv is thrilled that our On the Rise Center will be able to bring financial empowerment programming and services to an even greater number of individuals and families on Atlanta’s Westside through our new partnership with Clark Atlanta University,” said Cathie Mahon, Inclusiv President/CEO. “Helping consumers build assets and improve financial capability is an important way that the Center seeks to contribute to the overall well-being of the Westside community, and we look forward to being able to share this expertise and practical experience with the Clark MSW student interns who participate in this program.”

The Whitney M. Young Jr., School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University holds the distinction of being the oldest accredited social work program at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in the world and is the first accredited Social of Social Work in the state of Georgia.

This internship program was built on the pioneering work of the Center for Social Development at Washington University of St Louis, which developed the Financial Capability and Asset Building Curriculum for social work students. “The School of Social Work is very excited about this new partnership with On the Rise Financial Center,” said Dr. Jenny Jones, Dean of the School. “More importantly, this partnership provides our students with real world application of social work practice and its impact on the economic well-being of individuals and families.” This work promotes the core values of the social work profession as it relates to economic justice, in that all individuals, families, and communities should have their basic needs met (including food, housing, utilities, health care, transportation, education, child care, clothing, and paid taxes), and have control over their day-to-day finances.

“In financial development for low-income communities, On the Rise Financial Center in Atlanta and the School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University are breaking new ground,” said Margaret and Michael Sherraden at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. “Families now have a place to turn for practical and effective financial guidance as they build more secure and rewarding futures. At the same time, social workers are being trained in basic financial capability practice.”

Inclusiv launched On the Rise Financial Center in 2017 to build financial well-being for individuals and families on Atlanta’s Westside, serving three neighborhoods that were once home to the leaders of the civil rights movement: English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill. In recent decades, however, these once-prosperous neighborhoods experienced disinvestment and are now among the lowest income segments of the City, with 44 percent of adults living below the poverty line. On the Rise Center is made possible through the support of our lead sponsors at Equifax, as well as the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, and Invest Atlanta.

For the past three years, the Equifax Foundation and Community Affairs staff, in concert with The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and other key partners, has been on the ground in the Westside developing a long-term strategy focused on improving the financial futures of the families in the community.

“One of the best ways to strengthen communities and enable access to credit is by ensuring residents have the means and educational resources to make sound financial decisions to prepare for key milestones in life,” said Dann Adams, President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax. “For this project, Equifax has been a committed partner in providing access to affordable financial products to help Westside residents achieve their goals.”

Regina Grant (On the Rise), Anna Foote (On the Rise), Beverly Westbrooks (Clark Atl Uni Doctoral student), Tasia Montgomery (Clark Atl Uni MSW student/intern), Deja Trammell (Clark Atl Uni MSW student/ intern), Cathie Mahon (Inclusiv), Eli Hill (Reception/Admin support).

About Whitney M. Young Jr., School of Social Work Center for Children and Families

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a comprehensive, private, urban, coeducational institution of higher education with a predominantly African-American heritage. The Whitney M. Young Jr., School of Social Work Center for Children and Families at Clark Atlanta University is a policy and practice institute with a mission to improve the health and well-being of African American children and families. CCF is guided by the Afrocentric Perspective in providing direct practice, training, research, and policy commentaries to practitioners and stakeholders related to health, mental health, and community practice.

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