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Cooperatively Speaking: It Takes a Community

For many years now, I’ve used this space to share the Point West story with you. Whether it was updates on our financials, new products or services, or asking you to volunteer to serve your cooperative, it’s always been about the credit union. For this quarter, I thought I’d take the focus off of Point West directly, and share a bit more with you regarding some of the wonderful community partners we are currently working with here in the Portland metro area.

All of these organizations share similar missions and goals – to provide Financial Wellness to our local community. Working together, we can increase our capacity to better serve you, our fantastic members, as well as to reach new, underserved communities that need access to meaningful Financial Wellness.

Innovative Changes

Innovative Changes is a nonprofit helping low-income people build their long-term financial health through financial education, responsible small-dollar consumer loans, credit building techniques and asset building opportunities.

Certified as a CDFI Loan Fund by the US Treasury, they provide a variety of important programs, including regular financial education courses, loans to build or rebuild credit, and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a matched savings program that enables individuals/families with limited financial resources to save and build assets.

Point West is proud to partner with Innovative Changes to help provide credit building loans and credit card options, and to assist with their financial education efforts. Learn more at innovativechanges.org.

PSU Business Outreach Program

The Business Outreach Program (BOP) at Portland State University provides technical assistance and business consulting services to locally owned, small businesses, with a focus on emerging, minority, and women-owned enterprises. As a strong supporter of micro-enterprise small businesses, Point West is truly excited to be working with the BOP to help support our local business community.

Since its inception, the BOP has been providing technical assistance and business consulting services to small business owners and micro-entrepreneurs through workshops, trainings and peer based learning opportunities, as well as through professional one-onone consulting to clients enrolled in their long-term support programs. In conjunction with providing services to business owners, the BOP provides PSU students with a unique opportunity to engage in community-based learning, through firsthand business consulting and professional development experiences with local small businesses and service providers. Learn more at pdx.edu/business-outreach.

Financial Beginnings

Financial Beginnings is a local nonprofit that provides finance education to youth and young adults across the Northwest. Through the generosity of community members, volunteers, businesses (like Point West!) and foundations, Financial Beginnings is able to provide these programs at no cost to participants, which include school classrooms, nonprofit organizations and more. Financial Beginnings educates over 20,000 young people each year, and that number continues to grow.

Point West has partnered with Financial Beginnings for years, and has been a strong supporter of their programs and dedication to teaching our younger generations about the importance of saving and creating healthy spending habits that will benefit them long term. Learn more, or sign up to volunteer, at financialbeginnings.org.

The List Goes On and On…

This is just the tip of our community partner iceberg. I didn’t even get to share with you organizations like Mercy Corps Northwest  (microenterprise lending and education), Hatch  (social entrepreneurship incubator), or Metropolitan Family Service  (offering a holistic approach to financial stability with focuses on education, health and asset building). We will continue to collaborate with programs that increase capacity here at Point West, expand these organizations’ ability to reach deeper into the communities they serve, and together, help us achieve Financial Wellness for all.

Point West was founded on the cooperative principle that together, we can achieve so much more. Each of you, our member-owners, make our cooperative possible. By extending that cooperation to our community and leveraging their access and expertise, we will continue to build something meaningful and lasting.

Cooperatively,

Amy Nelson, President/CEO

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