The New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) announced Feb. 10 it awarded $1.8 million in grants to 10 nonprofits through the Financial Empowerment Pilot Program.
The initiative, which was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021, is designed to create programs to help the financial resiliency of Garden State residents.
“I was thrilled to sign the Financial Empowerment Pilot Program into law and excited that DCA has now identified these 10 nonprofit organizations to provide financial knowledge and skills to some of our most vulnerable communities,” said Murphy in a statement. “Financial literacy is key to managing one’s money. Learning how to save, invest, build credit, and so on will not only empower individuals and families to understand how to reach their financial goals, but will allow them to continue to share the knowledge they gained for generations to come.”
The three-year pilot is being overseen by the DCA.
“These awards will fund programs that enhance economically vulnerable people’s ability to make informed choices about financial issues through education and skill building, particularly in the areas of access to banking services, credit improvement, and reduction of unsecured debt,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who also serves as DCA commissioner. “Free and confidential one-on-one coaching will be provided by trained professionals to help New Jerseyans in underserved communities reach their money goals, learn about consumer protections and their legal rights, and achieve greater control over their finances.”
The DCA said that awards were given to nonprofits who demonstrated success in providing services to mitigate the effects of structural poverty. Programs must focus on serving traditionally underserved cultural or linguistic communities and those historically disenfranchised from banking and wealth-building tools access, such as veterans, seniors, youth transitioning from foster care of the juvenile justice system, people with behavioral needs, people with disabilities, re-entry participants, and survivors of domestic violence.
More information about the Financial Empowerment Pilot Program is available here.