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 Loans

Providing these clients with a unique CWC Opportunity Loan of up to $750 with direct paycheck drafts and a maximum six-month term at 3.15% APR.  This CWC Opportunity Loan is substantally below market rate due to a donor-funded collateral pool established at our lending partner credit union.  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 address emergency needs, and also materially increase a client's credit score.

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 losses expected to remain well below 10%, charitable contributions will be 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.