SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – National Financial Literacy Month is recognized every year in April in the U.S. to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. For the past 15 years, Goodwill Manasota has been committed to promoting financial literacy and ensuring that individuals living at or below the poverty level have the knowledge and resources they need to effectively manage their money and transition from poverty to economic independence.
The classes offered by Goodwill Manasota cover topics ranging from credit counseling and using online banking to understanding consumer credit; coursework was developed in collaboration with area banking institutions. In 2017, 158 community members attended financial literacy classes through Goodwill’s Good Neighbor program. Additionally, 39 Goodwill Manasota employees completed "Budgeting 101" on Goodwill U, the organization's online training classes, 96 people (Goodwill employees and members of the community) participated in instructor-led budgeting classes, and 21 Goodwill employees completed the Home Buyers Education program – three of these team members were pre-approved for mortgages and purchased homes last year.
The National Capability Study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Foundation concluded that nearly two-thirds of Americans could not pass a basic financial literacy test (the study was based on a survey of more than 27,500). Even more troubling: the percentage of those who can pass the test fell from 42 percent in 2009 to 37 percent in 2015.
In order to support financial literacy efforts in our community, on numerous dates in April at three of its Community Rooms, Goodwill will offer a free class, “Credit Smart/Protecting Your Information,” with Jason Russ, a Wells Fargo At Work Program consultant. Russ will discuss how credit works as well as how the home financing and buying process works; the class will enable participants to make informed decisions regarding their future. The course will also offer tips to protect private information and what to do when you become a victim of fraud.
Classes take place at the Ranch Lake Community Room (8750 E. State Road 70, Bradenton) on April 18 and 26, 4-5 p.m.; Mecca Community Room (5150 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota) on April 20, 4-5 p.m.; and Cortez Community Room (3465 Cortez Road W., Bradenton) on April 25, 4-5 p.m.
“We know that employment is just the first step in the long road to financial security. If someone has never learned how to budget or been taught financial literacy, the chances for self-sufficiency are greatly reduced,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. "We are grateful to corporate partners like SunTrust and Wells Fargo, who have supported our financial literacy program with generous grants, and to Manatee Community Federal Credit Union for assisting our team members in building their credit and obtaining home and emergency assistance loans."
For the Good Neighbor class schedule, go to experiencegoodwill.org, click on “Community” and then “Neighborhood Classes,” or call (941) 355-2721.
PHOTO ID: Jason Russ of Wells Fargo (left) with Goodwill Manasota team member Samantha Valentin
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 41 million pounds out of the landfill. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org