Thank you to over 100 participants of the Own It – Albion – Financial Empowerment Fair! We appreciate the support of the community in promoting and attending the event – we could not have done it without you.
Special thanks to the following sponsors: Homestead Savings Bank of Albion, Starr Commonwealth, Albion Branch NAACP, Build Albion AmeriCorps VISTA Initiative, and Albion College. Your generosity made a difference in the Albion community.
For more information about the event,
What was the “Own It – Albion – Financial Empowerment Fair”?
This event originated with Homestead Savings Bank reaching out to Starr Commonwealth based on the community collaboration generated through the Albion-Marshall Resilient Communities Project (AMRCP). Homestead wanted to provide information to the community about resources they offer to build/sustain homeownership and general financial literacy information. As Homestead and AMRCP connected with the Albion Branch NAACP and the Build Albion AmeriCorps VISTA team, the event concept grew into a fair to showcase related programs/services that participants could connect with on the spot.
On Saturday, January 20th, 2018 Homestead Savings Bank had their staff facilitate three workshops during three different time slots throughout the afternoon. With this format, someone could go to all three workshops, while others could drop in and attend any one of the three. Workshop topics:
- Homeownership/Mortgage Lending
- Budgeting/Credit Repair and Counseling
- Financial and Elder Abuse/Predatory Lending, Retirement & Investment Planning
The following local organizations were also at the fair:
- Team 1 Plastics
- Albion Branch NAACP
- Build Albion AmeriCorps VISTA Initiative
- City of Albion Neighborhood Planning Councils
- Albion Interfaith Ministries
- Albion Health Care Alliance – Navigation Services
- Community Action
- Forks Senior Center
- Albion Community Gardens, Inc.
- Albion District Library
- Marshall Public Schools – Great Start Readiness Program
- Kellogg Community College
What was the outcome?
While the exact number of participants is unclear due to many people coming and going, at one point Homestead staff counted 90 people in attendance. Almost everyone who came went to at least one workshop. At least 10-15 people came at the beginning and stayed for the entire afternoon.
We received positive feedback from many participants and the participating organizations. People appreciated the opportunity to network with a unique blend of people and groups.
Homestead Savings Bank has been invited to participate in a Calhoun County wide program for elder abuse through Community Action. The date is to be determined. They also had a customer come in to apply to purchase a home for rental opportunities. Lastly, they followed up with a participant about their questions on investments.
● It was helpful to be able to speak within a group about topics that can be overwhelming when meeting one-on-one.
● Open forums on key topics are a need in the community.
Social Media Insights:
● 522 people were reached on Facebook (FB) on the day of the event by using FB Live, posting about the event, and FB’s automatic reminders to people who were “interested” or planning to attend.
● 3,493 total people were reached through FB in promoting the event over one month in advance.
● 17.5% of the engaged FB audience were women between the ages 27-34 (613 total women). The second largest engaged group were women between 35-44 (13.8% or 485 total women).
● The third and fourth largest engaged groups were men between the ages 27-34 (10.6% or 373 total men) and 35-44 (6.6% or 233 total men).
VISTA Survey Feedback – The following is info gathered from surveying participants as they left:
● Many participants wanted more information about investing in stocks, bonds, and property.
● Some participants wanted more information about budgeting and debt management while working with a fixed income.
● Other questions included seeking more information about affordable nutrition, taxes, and Housing Choice Vouchers through HUD.
● The majority of surveyed participants felt more confident in their knowledge of the topics and that it was a positive experience.
What can the community expect going forward?
● The VISTAs are working with the Southwest Michigan Community Development Corporation to provide credit management workshops on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 1 – 3PM at the Snyder Building and Thursday, Feb. 22 from 5:30 – 7:30PM at the Library’s Naomi Lane Room.
● Community Action is beginning to provide one-on-one financial empowerment sessions on Thursdays as an extension to their emergency services provided at 101 N. Albion Street. This is by appointment only. Call 269-986-4149 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
● Albion Interfaith Ministries (AIM) currently provides the following classes on financial empowerment topics and more! Call 517-358-0475 for more information:
- Establishing and Maintaining Credit
- Small Business Ownership
- Hands on Job Training
- Basic Technology/Needs for Jobs
- Job Manners and Customs
- Other Classes for Job/Career Preparation and Self-Improvement