Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
614.645.5300
[email protected]

Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
614.645.6456
[email protected]

Media Advisory
News Date: May 12, 2022

City of Columbus Launches Financial Empowerment Center

First Lady Shannon Ginther and Columbus City Council President Pro Tempore Elizabeth C. Brown today announced the launch of the Columbus Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), which provides free financial counseling with licensed professionals for all Columbus-area adults. The Columbus FEC is supported by the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) and managed in partnership with Jewish Family Services.

“A financially stable individual is better positioned to earn a wage that supports their household, recover from a crisis more quickly and pay less than 30% of their monthly income to live in the neighborhood of their choice,” said First Lady Ginther. “With financial stability comes opportunity and peace of mind, and I look forward to seeing the FEC strengthen our community and improve quality of life across Columbus.”

The Columbus FEC offers one-on-one counseling sessions for individuals age 18 and older to learn and expand core financial skills such as opening a bank account, increasing credit scores, navigating loans, negotiating with creditors, increasing savings, planning for major purchases and more. Participants will have the option to schedule follow-up appointments with the same financial counselor to build trust, strengthen continuity and better ensure a personalized experience.

“The Financial Empowerment Center is a perfect example of what is possible when the public and nonprofit sectors come together. The city and our partners at Jewish Family Services identified an area needing improvement and took the steps needed to correct this shortfall,” said Council President Tempore Brown. “This counseling will give our residents another state-of-the-art resource at their disposal that’ll give them the confidence they need to continue to strive for holistic success. This counseling and the individualized plan each client will be provided with will serve as a roadmap for them to achieve financial prosperity.” 

First piloted in New York City under Mayor Bloomberg in 2008, Financial Empowerment Centers have since expanded nationwide and worked with over 133,000 clients to reduce individual debt by over $192 million and increase family savings by close to $38 million. Columbus is one of nearly three dozen local governments working to launch a local center. 

“Local leaders know firsthand the connection between family financial stability and community financial stability – and this connection is especially important during the current crisis,” said Jonathan Mintz, president and CEO of the CFE Fund. “Columbus is part of a growing national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with the city to help residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 and work toward a stronger financial future.” 

Year one of the Columbus FEC is supported by a $150,000 grant from the CFE Fund and $150,000 from the city’s general fund. Subsequent years of the program will receive up to $100,000 from the CFE Fund and a 1:2 match from the city.

More information about the Columbus FEC can be found at www.columbusfec.org or by calling (614) 237-9675.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund):

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting-edge experience with large-scale programs, research and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in over 100 cities and has disbursed over $59 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow them on Twitter at @CFEFund.