GetLifted is an exciting initiative that began in 2017-2018 to create lasting financial wellness and reduce shame and stigma surrounding debt in the North Side of Minneapolis and East Side of St. Paul. LSS Financial Counseling partnered with local organizations and individuals to provide financial education training to selected participants following a selection process. Following their training, selected attendees (known as Financial Wellness Ambassadors or FWAs) passed on their new financial knowledge and skills to others in their communities. This unprecedented initiative reached 2,400+ community members, made possible through generous funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation on behalf of Wells Fargo.
Our goal through this process was to empower individuals in these communities with financial capability and encourage participants to bring their own connections and creativity to the project to inspire others. Together, we leveraged the knowledge and networks of existing and emerging leaders to share financial tools and resources in new, fun and engaging ways.
The East Side of St. Paul and the North Side of Minneapolis were chosen for this initiative as they are home to residents who are wealthy in experience and diversity. They are proud, active, and hardworking communities with vibrant networks of people and agencies committed to revitalization. They also bear the scars of historic disinvestment where many residents struggle to make ends meet.
How GetLifted is Different
GetLifted took traditional financial education a step further. Community members were not only provided with knowledge, but also financially empowered and supported to be truly innovative as they shared that knowledge. GetLifted is about taking risks and working together to find solutions to financial distress. There are so many creative people within these neighborhoods who want to help. This initiative provided them with both the resources and opportunity to make a difference. Although LSS Financial Counseling organized this initiative, it was truly driven by the passion and hard work of community members.
GetLifted II in 2019
In 2019, LSS Financial Counseling received a new round of funding from Wells Fargo as an extension of the successful work done in 2017-2018. LSS recruited 13 Financial Wellness Ambassadors (FWAs) to lead their own financial education events to further their reach the communities of North Minneapolis and East Saint Paul. We also recruited a Lead FWA who worked in partnership with key LSS Financial Counseling employees and the FWAs to develop, market and lead their events. These 14 individuals were FWAs who participated in the first round of GetLifted and are deeply committed to developing their communities through the impact of financial capability programming.
The FWAs led 20 events in 2019-20, reaching 617 people. Sixty-nine percent of the event attendees reported that they gained increased financial knowledge and confidence.
GetLifted’s work will continue in 2020, thanks to new funding from The Bremer Foundation. Ten FWAs from North Minneapolis will reengage with their community and empower community members with financial knowledge and skills.