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Investing in the financial futures of thousands of Americans

3 min read

As National Poverty Awareness Month continues, so does our series of investments in our Catalysts doing great work to transform lives around the country. And this week, we’re excited to announce a $1.85 million investment in two organizations from our Financial Empowerment and Entrepreneurship portfolio – Rising Tide Capital and dfree®.

Millions of Americans not only struggle to make ends meet, but struggle to offload their debt. A whopping 80 percent of the population carries some sort of debt – a reality that hits low-income families particularly hard. Thanks to high interest rates and a high debt-to-income ratio, these families find themselves stuck inside a cycle of poverty that, too often, spirals down the generations.

Our Catalysts are working to end that cycle, implementing innovative strategies to catalyze entrepreneurship and help individuals develop healthy financial lifestyles that lead to long-term stability and success. Below is a look at their work:

dfree® - ($1.1 Million)

Although debt stalks many Americans, it hits minority communities particularly hard – a reality that Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Saories Jr. knew from personal experience with his own congregation. In response to the problem he saw ravaging his community, Saories developed dfree®, a curriculum designed to lead individuals grappling with debt into financial freedom. dfree®’s motto – “no debt, no deficits, no delinquencies” – has empowered thousands of Americans to take control of their finances and live in accordance with their faith and values. In fact, the program was so transformative that it helped many in Saories’ congregation not only to get out of debt, but to get to a place of such financial security that they could actually give. Offerings went up by $1 million – in the middle of the recession.

Since its founding in 2005, more than 800 churches across the nation have used Saories’s curriculum, helping more than 30,000 individuals across the country. Currently, the organization is working to develop content targeted towards individual demographic groups and organizations, including young adults, seniors, married couples, schools and community organizations.

Rising Tide Capital - ($750,000)

The American Dream should mean that anyone with a good idea – no matter their income, color, or gender – can make it a reality. But too often, individuals from low-income backgrounds don’t have the resources or the educational background needed to turn their ideas into a marketable product or service.

That’s where Rising Tide Capital (RTC) comes into the picture. Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, Rising Tide Capital (RTC) is dedicated to the economic empowerment of low-income families and communities through entrepreneurship that helps transform lives, strengthen families and build sustainable communities. They provide entrepreneurs in underserved urban neighborhoods with business management education, network development and opportunities to secure startup seed funding and accelerate business services. Through their work, RTC prepares men and women to break themselves and their communities free of poverty by creating jobs, increasing family stability and ultimately boosting the local economy. Founders Alfa Demmallash and Alex Forrester opened Rising Tide Capital’s first office in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 2004, and since then 2,500 people have graduated from RTC’s nationally-recognized Community Business Academy. Within two years of graduating, RTC’s entrepreneurs experience a 112 percent increase in average business sales with a corresponding 58 percent increase in household income.

These are just two of the 100-plus organizations Stand Together Foundation partners with to transform lives and communities around the country. We’re excited to share more of our Catalysts’ stories with you this month as we continue to roll out investment decisions – stick with us by signing up for updates here and joining the National Poverty Awareness Conversation on Twitter and Facebook using #PovertyAwareness.

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