Each year, DollarWise offers USCM members the opportunity to apply for an award through its Innovation Grants program. As of 2013, DollarWise has issued Innovation Grants to 24 cities.
Member cities of The United States Conference of Mayors are eligible to apply for the DollarWise Innovation Grants. Each year the program awards grants of $15,000 each to three cities to expand and enhance their financial literacy efforts. The application processes for both the Innovation Grants and Summer Youth Campaign Grants begin each November. Winning cities are announced the following January at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. Innovation Grants (see map above) have been provided to a wide variety of communities across the country, maintaining and expanding creative and innovative financial education programs.
2013 Innovation Grant Winners
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
The City of Baltimore has established a strong, ongoing campaign that weaves financial literacy education into the City’s YouthWorks summer jobs program. Each year, YouthWorks places approximately 5,000 young people ages 14-21 in six-week summer work experiences at more than 400 worksites throughout Baltimore. The DollarWise Innovation Grant will be used to support the salary of a coordinator who will oversee YouthWorks’ financial literacy component, remain responsible for ensuring that all program participants receive financial literacy training, and support the promotion and implementation of the program’s mission. The grant will bolster existing financial literacy efforts to help youth manage their summer earnings wisely through participation in an online financial literacy contest.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
The City of San Francisco’s Office of Financial Empowerment has offered financial services to 1,900 bay area residents through the San Francisco Financial Planning Day. It has also conducted over 150 financial education workshops with partner organizations reaching over 2,300 San Francisco residents. The DollarWise Innovation Grant will go towards the development of a toolkit that will illustrate best practices, learning, and the challenges associated with implementing financial education workshops and counseling, targeting four main demographics: domestic violence survivors, residents of affordable housing, adults with disabilities, and older adults. The program will refine this approach and expand services to community-based organizations.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
The City of Philadelphia has been a national leader in foreclosure prevention, saving over 5,000 homes through its Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion program. In order to prepare homeowners recovering from the crisis of foreclosure for long-term financial success, Philadelphia has established a comprehensive financial education effort called Tools for Financial Growth (TFFG). TFFG is a free service that helps homeowners develop better financial planning habits. The DollarWise Innovation Grant will be used to support the additional costs associated with the improvement of the Tools for Financial Growth program. It will also provide funding needed for site expansion and will help to support a larger number of program participants. A portion of the funds will also help pay for an independent professional evaluation of TFFG, in order to help improve the program.