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GreenLight Fund is bringing a new model of financial empowerment to Philadelphia

Compass Working Capital graduates. July 27, 2018 Category: FeaturedFundingMedium
GreenLight Fund Philadelphia has announced its newest portfolio company: Compass Working Capital (CWC), in partnership with Clarifi and the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA).

GreenLight is a national venture philanthropy network that supports the expansion of nonprofits with proven results to the cities where the network’s sites are based, focusing on organizations working with children, youth and families in poverty.

The Boston-based CWC trains public housing residents to build credit so they can move to home ownership. Financial services nonprofit Clarifi will implement the CWC model locally, specifically to expand PHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, per a press release.

As the Philly site’s ED, Omar Woodard, put it to Generocity in May: “Eventually, Compass will go away, and Clarifi will benefit from being trained by an evidence-based model.”

Here’s how the program works, according to a press release:

“The FSS program is designed to help residents build savings and achieve their personal financial goals. The program enables residents to capture a portion of their rental payment as savings when they increase their income. The Compass model integrates financial coaching services into the FSS program to help families overcome barriers and make progress toward their financial goals. Compass’ most recent data shows that nearly 40 percent of its program graduates choose to leave subsidized housing, 17 percent secure homeownership, and the average savings of a program graduate is $7,800.”

This is GreenLight Fund Philadelphia’s fifth investment, following Parent-Child Home Program, Year Up, Center for Employment Opportunities and Single Stop USA; it’s the first in the asset-building space.

From our Partners

GreenLight’s support for this investment totals $600,000. Its funders are Josh Kopelman, Burke Family Foundation, Santander Bank, Lenfest Foundation, Marc and Leah Singer, William Penn Foundation, John and Sue Simon, Terrace Fund, Osage Partners, NewSpring Capital, Brook J. Lenfest Foundation and Bank of America.

Woodard said the org’s next investment may focus on improving student attendance or supporting student apprenticeships.

In May, GreenLight also announced its selection of new nine new Selection Advisory Council members, including Peirce College’s Uva Coles, Reinvestment Fund’s Andy Rachlin and Comcast’s Dalila Wilson-Scott.

As for Woodard’s past political ambitions — the rumor mill was a-rumblin’ last summer that a run for Congress was in his sights — he said that for now, he’s totally committed to his current work: “The best place to achieve social impact right now is at GreenLight, doing the work, fighting poverty in the communities I live in and care about. Politics, fortunately or unfortunately, will always be there.”

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