North Florida: Partnership Builds Wealth for Working Poor

By Hamer, Janet | Partners in Community and Economic Development, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

North Florida: Partnership Builds Wealth for Working Poor


Hamer, Janet, Partners in Community and Economic Development


A unique partnership that includes federal and local government, the private sector, faith-based organizations, and social service programs is helping the working poor in Jacksonville, Florida, move into the economic mainstream.

Combining funding from a variety of sources, Fresh Ministries Individual Development Account (IDA) Partner Group enables families to build wealth and strive for economic independence. The group received a $1 million grant from the federal government along with matching funds from the City of Jacksonville's Community Development Block Grant Program, Bank of America, Community Partnership for Protection of Children, and a private foundation.

Fresh Ministries is a faith-based organization that serves the urban core neighborhoods of Jacksonville. Its IDA Partner Group collaborates with neighborhood-based nonprofit organizations, private sector affordable housing providers, and local government agencies, including the Jacksonville Housing Authority, Vestcor, Families First, Jacksonville Urban League, Community Partnership for the Protection of Children, Family Counseling Services, Habijax (Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville), Operation New Hope, and Community Connections.

Financial education a key component of program

Central to a successful IDA program is a foundation of personal financial education. Participants complete a financial education course and establish bank accounts provided by SunTrust Bank and Wachovia. They are required to make monthly deposits. …

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