PORTLAND– To reflect the evolution of its work since its founding 10 years ago, as well as the increased diversity of the clients it serves, the nonprofit Community Financial Literacy is rebranding itself as ProsperityME: The Center for Financial Education.
The new name – pronounced Prosperity Maine – reflects the broader scope of services that the organization provides to immigrants, refugees, and asylees. At its inception, the nonprofit provided financial literacy courses, one-on-one financial counseling, and coaching. It quickly added support for higher education in partnership with FAME, career development, matching savings program in partnership with CEI, and job skills training in partnership with Portland Adult Education. Today, services have further expanded to include scholarship fund for asylum seeker, loans for secure housing and small business startup support and development. The service area has also expanded beyond Portland to include Lewiston and Auburn and soon to expand to York County.
“Ten years ago, I had a vision that all of Maine’s immigrants and refugees, their families, and communities could reach financial stability and improve their quality of life,” said ProsperityME Executive Director Claude Rwaganje. “The vision was great, but its mission – to teach financial literacy – was narrow. I came to realize that financial literacy alone was not sufficient to help people and families become more prosperous. Over time we built the robust curriculum and service offerings now under our umbrella.”
Over the last 10 years, ProsperityME has served 3,144 individuals and families from almost 30 countries with courses and financial counseling. Of them:
- 804 participated in one on one sessions;
- 175 financial courses and workshop were offered;
- In partnership with CEI, we helped 190 individuals and families participate in the Individual development account program. These participants had savings and Matching funds totaling 1,136,000. 106 of these participants had never owned a savings account prior to their participation in the IDA program. They purchased assets that had a value of 1,600,000-all of which stayed in Maine and had a positive effect on local economies.
Just last year, the organization provided 35 classes and workshops to 489 people, counseled or coached 109 individuals, opened matching savings program accounts for 33 individuals and assisted 315 walk-ins looking for services.
ProsperityMe will continue to build on this success in 2018 and beyond beginning with the establishment of a college scholarship fund, seeded with a generous $75,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor. This donor will match ProsperityME’s fundraising, dollar for dollar, up to $75,000 to create a fund for Maine students that are seeking asylum who don’t qualify for any federal or state aid to receive tuition and fees.
The ProsperityME Executive Director and board of directors will begin to introduce the new branding to the community immediately. We invite our partners and the public to help us introduce this next chapter of the organization throughout Maine.
About ProsperityME: The Center for Financial Education
Formerly known as Community Financial Literacy, ProsperityME empowers, through education and counseling, members of refugee and immigrant communities to invest in themselves to build financial stability, careers, businesses and wealth that contributes to their personal prosperity and the greater prosperity of Maine.