United Way’s Mobile Financial Resource Team named Outstanding Workforce Development Program

April 6, 2017 (Ann Arbor, MI) – In just a year since its inception, United Way of Washtenaw County’s Mobile Financial Resource Team (MFRT) has made award winning progress toward financial stability for Washtenaw County residents.  Michigan Works! selected MFRT as the “Outstanding Workforce Development Program” and will formally recognize their work at the upcoming Michigan Works! Impact Awards reception on April 7.   The Michigan Works! Impact Awards honor those who have built economic results by actively creating jobs and developing fresh talent in their communities.

MFRT provides free one-on-one financial empowerment coaching to build and sustain foundation-level asset building.  This mobile program uses the FDIC’s “Your Money Your Goals” curriculum, and services are provided on a rotating basis at local neighborhood nonprofit agencies. Unlike other providers of financial education services in Washtenaw County, the only requirement for receipt of services is a desire to become more financial stable.

“We have been able to forge powerful partnerships with Washtenaw County Agencies, and these partnerships mean that more residents have access to safe, unbiased financial information”, shared Marshall Averill. “We are excited to continue our work to help more people become financially stable and look forward to what comes next.”

In 2016, through this program 700 individuals attended a financial workshop and 23 individuals received 3-12 months of financial coaching.  Of those who received financial coaching: 74% decreased household monthly costs; 61% saved at least $250 or more at the end of 6 months; 47% improved their credit score; 91% felt more empowered to manage their personal finances. 

Marshall Averill and Brian Rakovitis are the two forces behind United Way’s Mobile Financial Resource Team.  Both native Michiganders and both graduates of Eastern Michigan University, they came to United Way of Washtenaw County as AmeriCorps members charged with providing one-on-one free financial empowerment coaching.  

The program also connects individuals to other human and financial services.  Partnerships include: Washtenaw Community College (providing financial literacy workshops to incoming students), Michigan Works! (offering job-seekers workshops on-site and one-on-one coaching), Groundcover News (providing newspaper vendors both workshops and one-on-one coaching) , The Ann Arbor Housing Authority (providing residents preparing for an exit from supportive housing with workshops and one-on-one coaching) and Community Alliance (providing employees with financial literacy workshops). 

Support for United Way of Washtenaw County’s Financial Stability program is provided by Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, DTE Energy, Internal Revenue Service, Key Bank, the Office of Community and Economic Development, Michigan Association of United Ways, Old National Bank, and the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor.