Our Solution

Our Solution - Common Wealth CharlotteThe mission of Common Wealth Charlotte (CWC) is to empower Charlotte's working poor to achieve financial independence through innovative financial education and capability services. Embedded within this mission is CWC's commitment to be an integral part of Charlotte's community-wide upward mobility solution for our working poor. CWC 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 Charlotte effects long-lasting change in clients by:

Empowering Through Financial Literacy

Partnering with Workforce Development Agencies and any organization dedicated to upward mobility for the working poor, CWC provides low-wage clients complimentary trauma-informed financial education (TIFE), including empowerment workshops and one-on-one advanced financial sessions designed to empower and foster trust. TIFE is a new best practice based on clinical brain research of the working poor surrounding the Psychology of Scarcity. The curriculum incorporates a deep understanding by financial instructors and volunteers of the physical, psychological, and emotional trauma experienced by this population. Based on such trauma informed research, our financial counselors and volunteers 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. CWC's TIFE curriculum wraps around access to the CWC 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 banks and credit unions, CWC 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 1.5% prepaid 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.

A CWC Credibility Loan is a $120 loan with a six-month term and 1.5% prepaid interest. With a monthly payment of $20, a client can easily place a paid-in-full loan on his or her credit report, and achieve a 40-80 point increase.

CWC is an approved credit-repoting agency of all three major credit bureaus, and services its loan portfolio in-house.

A Higher Return on Your Charitable Investment

Common Wealth Charlotte'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 80-85%, charitable contributions are recycled multiple times and over many years, resulting in a highly sustainable model that maximizes donor benefits. Moreover, Common Wealth Charlotte utilizes the new national best practice of integrating workforce development training with financial capability services to further enhance upward mobility.