Urban League Partners with Five Portland CUs to Advance Financial Well-Being of Black Oregonians

Five Portland-area credit unions and the Northwest Credit Union Foundation have partnered with the Urban League of Portland to advance the financial well-being of Black Oregonians.

The new pilot program, called the Financial Empowerment Collaborative (FEC), will foster financial empowerment in Portland’s Black community and provide solid pathways for participants on their path to financial and housing stability and wealth creation.

The FEC’s approach will focus on addressing Black Oregonians’ unique needs, so they can gain access to supportive products, services, education, and financial tools. The program will include customized financial education and coaching, case management, and an environment where participants can easily access essential credit union products and services.

“The Urban League of Portland is excited to be a part of a partnership with local credit unions to empower and increase financial education and resources to our community,” said Urban League Director of Housing Programs, Denetta Antoinette Monk.  “Launching a Financial Empowerment Collaborative is a strategic step towards accomplishing Urban League’s mission to empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life.”

The partnership grew out of discussions among Portland-area credit unions eager to find opportunities to create tangible positive community impact in the wake of racial justice protests that shook the city in 2020.  The credit union partners are Advantis Credit Union, Consolidated Community Credit Union, Point West Credit Union, Rivermark Community Credit Union, and Unitus Community Credit Union.

“We are proud to join forces to provide financial support and resources for this important pilot program,” the five credit union partners expressed in a joint statement, “By working together, our organizations can accelerate and deepen the delivery of meaningful financial services to the Black community in Portland.”

Together, the five credit unions contributed $166,000 to support the hiring of a dedicated Financial Empowerment position at the Urban League and to provide for NWCUF’s role as an intermediary grantmaker for the partnership. In this role, NWCUF will provide staff support, coordination, and facilitation for the FEC’s work.

“Credit unions exist to create more equitable access to financial services,” said Sharee Adkins, Executive Director of the NWCUF. “This partnership speaks directly to the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy that drives Northwest credit unions to create positive impact in the communities they serve and their efforts to provide services to the region’s underbanked residents.”