The Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development (CDICD), managed by National Disability Institute (NDI), recently announced in January 2022 the three winners and their partners of its Second Annual Inclusive Community Development Awards: True LinkFinancial and Sunrise Banks; Life Asset, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI); and Goodwill Industries of East Texas and Prosperity Bank.
The purpose of the awards is to raise the visibility of financial institutions’ and community-based organizations’ activities that are promising and exemplary in support of low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals with disabilities to improve their financial stability and health and be more active participants in adding value to our nation’s economy.
“CDICD is proud to announce the Second Annual Inclusive Community Development Award winners. Each of our winners have created unique initiatives that support people with disabilities in low- and moderate-income communities,” said Michael Roush, Director, Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development. “All of our winners demonstrated innovation, impact and inclusiveness that contributed to the vibrancy of their communities, including economic and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”
True Link and Sunrise Banks created the ABLE Visa Prepaid® Card with the view that high-quality spending tools are particularly critical to maximizing the benefits of ABLE accounts. The partnership shares a common goal: to increase the independence and financial capability of ABLE account holders by ensuring more account holders have a card in their name to make day-to-day purchases using their ABLE funds.
“True Link is committed to offering high-quality financial services built for people with disabilities and their loved ones,” said Kai Stinchcombe, CEO, True Link. “We’re proud to serve thousands of ABLE beneficiaries and to promote their autonomy and financial well-being through our services. National Disability Institute is a true leader in identifying initiatives that positively affect the futures of people with disabilities and their families, so it is an honor for True Link’s efforts to be recognized through the Inclusive Community Development Awards.”
“We’re excited to partner with True Link to help provide greater financial independence for consumers,” said Bryan Toft, Chief Revenue Officer, Sunrise Banks. “The ABLE Visa Card is a product we’re proud to support.”
Life Asset enables low-income entrepreneurs in the greater Washington, D.C. area to start or expand a business by providing microloans (a loan less than $5,000) and financial training to those unable to access loans elsewhere. By coupling microloans with comprehensive financial training and peer support, Life Asset equips clients with the tools they need to overcome barriers to economic opportunity, create jobs for themselves and others and become financially self-sufficient. Approximately 12 percent of Life Asset’s clients are people with disabilities.
“Life Asset is grateful for this recognition because it inspires us to continue our work providing microloans and business training to help people with disabilities create jobs and build their financial resilience through small business ownership,” said Markus Larsson, Founder and Executive Director, Life Asset. “There are many others who deserve to share in this award – primarily the many hard-working entrepreneurs with disabilities who provide invaluable products and services through their businesses. We look forward to continuing working with NDI and our partners to ensure that the needs of entrepreneurs with disabilities are included as we work to expand access to small business loans and training in the Washington, D.C. area.”
Goodwill of East Texas provides job training resources and wraparound support services, including programming strategically designed to increase independence and financial stability for individuals with disabilities. Prosperity Bank began partnering with the organization in January 2017 to provide financial educational workshops to Goodwill staff and program participants, many of whom were underbanked and lacked basic banking skills. More than 200 Goodwill of East Texas staff and program participants are served annually through this unique partnership.
“Receiving this award from the Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development validates the work that our committed staff perform daily,” said Kimberly B. Lewis, CEO, Goodwill Industries of East Texas. “Serving and working in an inclusive community breathes life into everyone involved. A diverse and inclusive community equates to more dollars in the community by 30 percent annually, as people with disabilities contribute as both employees and customers at local businesses. Socially, an inclusive community means that people have a sense of belonging. We all need that now more than ever.”
“Community involvement has always been a core value at Prosperity Bank, and it is an honor to be recognized for our efforts in this way,” said Scott Voland, Director of Sales Development, Prosperity Bank. “We are grateful for Goodwill Industries of East Texas and all the other organizations that have joined us in giving back to our community last year. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of those around us.”
Nominations were evaluated on innovation, responsiveness, collaboration and impact in building a better financial future for people with disabilities and their families. Focus areas included: workforce development, affordable and accessible housing, small business development, financial literacy and counseling, adaptive technology, digital literacy and digital access.
The Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development works to improve the financial health and well-being of low- and moderate-income individuals with disabilities and their families to reexamine the approaches, roles and responsibilities of stakeholders to proactively address financial access and economic opportunity needs of people with disabilities through community development. A key component is increasing awareness and usage of the opportunities and resources available under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
Launched in 2019, the Center is focused on the importance of inclusive community development activities. These include improving how the financial, community development and disability communities can work more closely together to respond to current financial and economic challenges and bringing attention to positive examples of CRA investment, lending and service that support financial resilience for LMI people with disabilities and their families. In the next year, the Center’s work will remain focused on improving the financial health and well-being of LMI individuals with disabilities and their families by increasing awareness of community development opportunities and usage of the resources available under the CRA.
National Disability Institute is the first and only national organization exclusively focused on the financial health and wellness of people with disabilities and their families. With an emphasis on poverty reduction, financial capability and financial inclusion, NDI continues to build extensive relationships between the disability and financial communities to focus on systems change.
To learn more about the Center for Disability-Inclusive Community Development and its activities, visit www.cdicd.org.