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Posted on: July 17, 2019

Shelby County Trustee Launches Financial Empowerment Center, Offering Free Financial Counseling

Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center

Regina Morrison Newman, the Shelby County Trustee, in partnership with the national nonprofit organization Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced today the grand opening of the Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center (GMFEC), offering professional, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching as a free public service to all local residents. At the GMFEC, professionally trained counselors help individuals and families manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products. At the core of the FEC model is the integration of counseling into other social services, including housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, legal services, and more.

The GMFEC operates on a hub and spoke model. The hub location is in the Crane Building at 254 Court Ave., Suite 100. The “spokes” or co-locations currently include Memphis Housing Authority, the Shelby County Office of Reentry, specific branch locations of Pinnacle Bank and Simmons Bank, the Tiger Banking Center on the University of Memphis campus, and the RISE Foundation offices with more being added. Community Referral partners currently include Catholic Charities, MIFA, America’s Job Centers, United Way of the Mid-South, Latino Memphis, Shelby County Community Services Agency and MLGW. The GMFEC aims to be able to meet clients where they are, both physically and financially. Visit our website, www.gmfec.org for more information. To make an appointment, call (901) 390-4200.

The RISE Foundation is the non-profit service provider who oversees the counselors and the day to day running of the GMFEC. The GMFEC is a sponsored program of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. The Assisi Foundation, MLGW, the Shelby County Assessor’s Office, the Shelby County Mayor, the City of Memphis, and the United Way of the Mid-South have provided grant funding and/or in-kind support.

“The Trustee’s Office is proud to have spearheaded this much needed service for all Shelby County citizens. The Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center is not just another program – it is HELP for as long as a person needs it. Financial empowerment for everyone is one of the keys in moving our entire community forward by helping raise people up.” - Regina Morrison Newman, Shelby County Trustee

“Financial Empowerment has always been a common thread in all programs birthed at RISE, and having a Center like this (GMFEC) is included RISE’s strategic vision. We are grateful for the leadership of the Shelby County Trustee in making this center a reality in our community.” – Linda Williams, President/CEO of RISE

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) is proud to sponsor the GMFEC. The mission of the center aligns with our commitment to building economic self-sufficiency for families in Memphis. The GMFEC is a vital addition to the work of the RISE Foundation and continues to advance opportunities for families to plan their future and increase economic stability for all. – Ruby Bright, Executive Director and CAO, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis 

“Local leaders know first-hand the connection between family financial stability and community financial stability,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Regina Morrison Newman and Shelby County are part of a growing national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with Trustee Newman on this critical work.”

First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, FECs across the country have worked with almost 85,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $101 million, and increasing their families’ savings by close to $10 million. In addition, a recent CFE Fund evaluation showed that this program works even for residents with very low incomes and other complex financial challenges. Shelby County is one of 28 local governments working to launch a local FEC initiative.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in over 80 cities to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.

About the Shelby County Trustee’s Office

The Shelby County Trustee collects county property taxes and assists municipalities located in Shelby County with delinquent property tax collections. By state law, the Shelby County Trustee serves as the banker for Shelby County Government. In addition, the Trustee coordinates banking services for approximately fifteen different county offices, including various elected officials and the Shelby County Board of Education. The Shelby County Trustee oversees a cooperative effort among the elected officials, Shelby County Schools, and Shelby County Government to maximize interest earnings and streamline banking costs. The Shelby County Trustee also oversees a number of community outreach programs including Tax Freeze, Tax Relief, Quarterly Tax Payments, Project HOME, Bank On Memphis, On My Own Financial Simulation and the Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center. 

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