The mission of Common Wealth Athens (CWA) is to empower Athens working poor to achieve financial independence through innovative financial education and capability services. Embedded within this mission is CWA's commitment to be an integral part of Athens community-wide upward mobility solution for our working poor. CWA serves individuals and families who demonstrate a desire to make better lives for themselves through participation in financial education and continuation of the hard work in which each is already engaged.
Common Wealth Athens effects long-lasting change in clients by:
Empowering Through Financial Literacy
CWA provides low-wage clients complimentary client centered finanical educaiton, including empowerment workshops and one-on-one advanced financial sessions designed to empower and foster trust. Our financial counselors utilize motivational interviewing and other evidence based guiding communication techniques designed to create an environment of safety and trust, affirmation and cultural relevance in order to elicit and strengthen a client's motivation for change. CWA's curriculum wraps around access to the CWA Opportunity Loan empowering financially educated clients to solve for emergency shortfalls in a new healthy way resulting in long-lasting change.
Expanding Access to Banking
Partnering with Georgia United Credit Union, CWA connects its clients with traditional financial services, including second chance checking and saving, asset building and credit score enhancing products, steering them away from fringe services such as predatory lending and high-fee check cashing.
Providing Opportunity and Credibility Loans
A CWC Opportunity Loan of up to $750 with a six-month term and 3% interest is available through a donor-provided loan fund. Proceeds from this loan can be used for financial emergencies, to pay off predatory loans, or to address priority items (e.g. evictions) that substantially affect clients' credit scores. The successful repayment of this loan can not only address the emergency need, but also materially increase a client's credit score. CWA loans report to of all three major credit bureaus.
A Higher Return on Your Charitable Investment
Common Wealth Athens's holistic financial capability program enables the new banking relationship, along with the usage of appropriate and innovative financial products, to initiate a change in financial behavior via participation in the multi-tiered trauma-informed education curriculum. With loan repayment rates of 90%, charitable contributions are recycled multiple times and over many years, resulting in a highly sustainable model that maximizes donor benefits.