United Way NCA Celebrates the Opening of Its Fifth Financial Empowerment Center in Montgomery County

Mar 02, 2022

by Holly Martinez

On February 24, 2022, alongside partners M&T Bank, WorkSource Montgomery and Coalition for the Advancement of Financial Education (CAFE Montgomery), United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) celebrated the opening of its Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) in Montgomery County.

This marks United Way NCA’s fifth Financial Empowerment Center in the Washington region. The grand opening ceremony welcomed guests and speakers such as Montgomery County Councilmember, Will Jawando; Regional President for Greater Washington and Virginia at M&T Bank, Cecilia Hodges; Executive Director of CAFE Montgomery, Ronald M. Jennings Sr.; and Executive Director of WorkSource Montgomery, Anthony Featherstone.

United Way NCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers offer direct access to high-quality financial services and guidance in a welcoming, professional environment at no cost. Each FEC brings together the most effective partners to help clients grow income, build assets, manage debt, and improve credit.

“We look forward to working with each and every one of you here to invest in families and initiatives that will help individuals to be able to achieve, for many, what may have seemed impossible: living with enough financial resources and knowledge to build a foundation and a future,” shared Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO of United Way NCA.

Home to over one million individuals and families, Montgomery County residents will have access to much-needed resources for a community where many residents face substantial economic challenges.

“One of the best things about Montgomery County is that it’s many things. A third of our residents are foreign born. We speak hundreds of languages. We have some of the wealthiest communities in the country, and we also have the lowest income communities in the country,” shared Will Jawando, Montgomery County councilmember. “We care about each other. We’re connected […and] we take care of one another in Montgomery County,” he adds.

“We look forward to working with [United Way NCA] and bringing financial literacy to local citizens in Montgomery County so that all Marylanders that can improve their credit, grow their savings, work towards ideal employment situations and contribute to the community,” said Ronald M. Jennings Sr., executive director of CAFE Montgomery.

M&T Bank has been a critical partner in this effort, initially having contributed $300,000 in early 2021 towards the development of the Financial Empowerment Center to provide financial literacy education and other financial resources to the center’s visitors.

In addition to celebrating the FEC’s opening, United Way of the National Capital Area was presented with a generous contribution from M&T Bank of an additional $150,000 to support the ongoing operations of the Financial Empowerment Center in Montgomery County. “United Way and M&T share the same vision of what we want Greater Washington to be like. Both of our organizations want to provide access to resources to our neighbors to help them improve the quality of life for both themselves and for their families,” shared Cecilia Hodges, regional president for Greater Washington and Virginia M&T Bank.

The new Financial Empowerment Center is located at WorkSource Montgomery in Wheaton, MD and will offer services like one-on-one personal and small business financial coaching, workshops, tax preparation by IRS qualified volunteers, housing counseling, virtual libraries and more.

[These] services will allow families to go on vacations, to take trips together. It’ll increase business ownership and homeownership,” explained Anthony Featherstone, executive director of WorkSource Montgomery. “I’m really excited about the little things that are not so little that we may not see on paper, but the impact that they’ll have on lives moving forward and generations moving forward,” he adds.

United Way NCA is committed to providing residents with economic opportunity by removing barriers to stable and affordable housing and instilling financial empowerment so that community members can feel in control of their financial situations and feel confident in navigating challenging financial decisions. United Way NCA’s FECs are designed to provide services to help individuals and families advance on a path toward economic opportunity.

Learn more about United Way NCA’s Financial Empowerment Centers at https://unitedwaynca.org/financial-empowerment-center/

When none are ignored, all will thrive.

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