Goodwill (copy)

Employees and supporters of Goodwill Industries of Tulsa gather outside the agency's new facility in Tulsa in 2016. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

Tulsa has been selected to receive a $20,000 planning grant from the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to implement financial empowerment programming.

Goodwill Industries of Tulsa will partner with the city to offer free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service through the creation of a Financial Empowerment Center that will be scheduled to open in late 2020.

“We appreciate this Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund grant to provide free financial counseling to residents in Tulsa,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “As part of our city’s mission to build a foundation for economic prosperity for all Tulsans, we will use this opportunity to increase access to information and supports for Tulsans to become financially stable and empowered.”

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Krystal Reyes, Tulsa’s chief resilience officer, and Karla Davis, director of finance and information technology at Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, were participating in a training session regarding the program Wednesday in New York City with representatives from other cities that are receiving similar grants. More than two dozen local governments across the country are working to replicate this proven model.

“Goodwill is excited to partner with the city of Tulsa and the Tulsa Area United Way as we work together to build the financial resilience of Tulsans,” said David E. Oliver, president of Goodwill Industries of Tulsa. Goodwill is a Tulsa Area United Way partner agency.

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, with support from seed funder Bloomberg Philanthropies, as well as Capital One, the JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, is working to expand the Financial Empowerment Center model to local governments across the country.

First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008, the Financial Empowerment Centers have worked with more than 98,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by more than $137 million and increasing their families’ savings by over $19 million.

Tulsa is one of six localities just selected for a Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund grant, along with Gaithersburg, Maryland; Paterson, New Jersey; Racine, Wisconsin, Richmond, Virginia, and Washtenaw County, Michigan. These six are joining 26 other local governments already working to offer the services.

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