Hispanic Unity Receives $1.6 Million for Center for Working Families Program

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Hollywood, Florida - Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF), a South Florida-based community organization announced today a grant of more than $1 million from The Jim Moran Foundation to fund the Center for Working Families (CWF) program over the next three years. The organization also announced a $555,000 grant from United Way of Broward County for the same program, also for a three-year period.

The Center for Working Families is a new approach to help low-income families reach financial stability and move up the economic ladder. Successfully pioneered by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in other cities, the program was launched by Hispanic Unity in January 2011. It is now supported by other major local and national funders. The CWF offers an innovative framework for how families can increase their earnings and income ("Earn It"), reduce their financial transaction costs ("Keep It"), and build wealth for themselves and their communities ("Grow It"). The objective of this concept is to remove barriers for participants in achieving financial well-being and success.

An initial research study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (2010) states that "clients who receive high-intensity bundled services are 5 times more likely to achieve a major economic outcome than clients who receive non-bundled assistance." HUF partnered with the Urban League of Broward County and both organizations started the program, the first of its kind in Broward County, at the same time.

The Jim Moran Foundation along with the United Way of Broward County and the Children's Services Council of Broward County provided the initial seed money to launch CWF at Hispanic Unity.

What makes the program unique - and powerful - is the bundling of services which are delivered intensely over a long period of time. HUF clients participate in the program until they have reached their goals. A team of program specialists including Career Coaches, Employment and Income Specialists and Financial Coaches work with clients in group settings and in one-on-one sessions.

In its first three years after the launch, the program has impressive results. By the end of year three, 601 participants had participated in the program. In 2013, 51% of the program participants had secured a job, 100% of the participants had attended financial literacy training and one-on-one meetings with a Financial Coach. 71% of the participants had reactivated or started savings programs. And more than 60 of the participants had purchased assets - a car or a home.

"My husband, Jim, understood that in order to succeed in life, you had to work hard - but he also knew you needed the right opportunities and, sometimes, a helping hand along the way," said Jan Moran, chairman and president, The Jim Moran Foundation. "For more than a decade, The Foundation has partnered with Hispanic Unity because of their mission, heart and commitment to the families they serve. Through this second multi-year grant to support the Center for Working Families, we are continuing Jim's legacy by helping individuals and families prepare for brighter futures."

The real impact of the program is its ability to transform the lives of the participants.

CWF client, Fiordaliza Fernandez-Urena came to HUF, sometimes on foot, after walking for more than an hour with the youngest of her two children. She was a single mother with a small toddler, a preschool-age child, living with her sister and cleaning homes to survive. She relied on the bus or others for transportation and without childcare there was little she could do to jump start her career. She had dreams, but they were on hold. After participating in CWF her life changed completely. She joined the program and began to save. HUF helped her secure child care - one of the biggest obstacles our clients face - for her two children. She learned how to search for a job and how to be effective at interviews.

Today she is employed as a data clerk coordinator at an automotive group and in September registered at Broward College to begin her Dental Assistant Degree. Fiordaliza is joyful, "no words can express what I feel when I realize that little by little, I am meeting all my goals and putting everything in its place..." A life transformed.

"United Way of Broward County's focus for the past five years has been on finding Pathways to Prosperity. We are interested in funding projects that allow the clients served to earn, keep and grow assets. So when Hispanic Unity of Florida approached us to fund Center for Working Families we knew it was a perfect fit. We were the first funders to come aboard and have just recommitted to three more years. The work in this area is critical to Broward County's continued economic success" said, Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County.

What's next for this program? Hispanic Unity is currently in discussions with a funder to launch a Vocational Training Program focused on Customer Service Skills in the Retail and Hospitality Industries. HUF would provide the full National Professional Certification in Customer Service curriculum and training to those individuals seeking employment.

About The Jim Moran Foundation

Founded by automotive pioneer Jim Moran, the mission of The Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. The Foundation has invested more than $45 million in education, elder care, family strengthening, after school and youth transitional living initiatives since its inception in 2000 -- with efforts currently focused in Broward, Palm Beach and Duval counties. Through a long-term Grant Agreement, The Foundation's significant funders are JM Family Enterprises, Inc., and its subsidiaries, including Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC. It is located at 100 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, Fla. 33442. To learn more, visit www.jimmoranfoundation.org or call (954) 429-2122.

About United Way of Broward County

United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, non-profit organization servicing Broward County for 75 years. United Way of Broward County mission is to focus and unite the entire community to create significant lasting change in the impact areas of Education, Income and Health, the building blocks for a better life, which positively impacts peoples lives. United Way of Broward County is the catalyst for change and convener of partnerships that unite the hearts, minds, and resources within the Broward community. For more information, visit www.UnitedWayBroward.org.

About Hispanic Unity of Florida

Hispanic Unity was founded 32 years ago by community leaders to ease the acculturation transition for newcomers from other nations. Today this nonprofit provides assistance through 19 programs, in three languages, to Browards diverse community. Hispanic Unity remains the countys largest agency dedicated to the immigrant population, providing them with the tools they need to build a new life. In 2013, the agency served 20,000+ clients, from toddlers to adults. The agency offers assistance at eight Broward County sites in addition to 18 FREE Tax Preparation sites and 11 Citizenship Preparation sites. Its mission is: Empowering Hispanics and other members of the community to become self-sufficient civically engaged and to lead productive lives.

For more information visit us at: www.hispanicunity.org or call 954-964-8884 ext. 216

HUFs programs and services are made possible by the following Annual Empowerment Partners:

Aetna, A.D. Henderson Foundation, Ana G. Méndez University System, American Express, AutoNation, Bank of America, BBi, Chase, Childrens Services Council of Broward County, Citrix, CITI, City of Hollywood/CDBG Funds, Cleveland Clinic, Comcast, Comerica, Coventry, Florida Blue, Ken Brown & Elizabeth Sanjuan, Herb Block Foundation, Internal Revenue Services, JM Family Enterprises and SE Toyota Distributors LLC, Kenny and Sandy Tate, JP Morgan, MasTec, Memorial Healthcare System, Montero Law Center, NALEO Educational Fund, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Nova Southeastern University, PNC Foundation, Publix, Sun-Sentinel Childrens Fund, School Board of Broward County, Publix, Target, Renaissance Executive Forums, The Jim Moran Foundation, The TK Foundation, Tripp Scott, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), United Way of Broward County, Wells Fargo, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and WSVN.