For more than 10 years, the Minnesota Community Action Partnership has sponsored Four Cornerstones of Financial Literacy train-the-trainer workshops for direct service staff working with low-income people in Community Action Agencies and other organizations. Ongoing collaboration with Lutheran Social Service Financial Counseling and the Office of Economic Opportunity, Minnesota Department of Human Services has made this initiative possible.
Training workshops prepare direct service staff to deliver financial education classes and one-on-one financial coaching to their clients. Originally designed for Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM), the statewide individual development account (IDA) program, the Four Cornerstones of Financial Literacy curriculum was developed by Darryl Dahlheimer of Lutheran Social Service Financial Counseling in partnership with FAIM coordinators from around Minnesota.
The Four Cornerstones curriculum strives to build financial empowerment through four core areas of financial education:
- Budgeting to Create Savings - Budgeting that works, finding ways to save, organizing bills.
- Debt Reduction & Asset Building - How to deal with each type of debt, dealing with collections, building assets.
- Building a Good Credit Rating - How to get one and read it, how to build good credit and improve bad credit.
- Consumer Protection & Financial Institutions - Resources and rights, scams to avoid, dealing with financial institutions.
The curriculum employs the learning circle method, a technique that builds upon the life experiences of participants. The Four Cornerstones of Financial Literacy curriculum and accompanying Leader’s Guide has been shared with interested anti-poverty organizations throughout Minnesota and the nation. To date over 1,400 participants have attended the two-day training workshops.