What We Do
Common Wealth Charlotte (CWC) is an innovative non-profit organization providing financial capability-building services to Charlotte’s economically-vulnerable families. CWC uses financial education coupled with access to traditional, yet specially-designed banking products and services. It's trauma-informed financial education (TIFE) curriculum is unique to any other organization operating locally, and offers a proven alternative to traditional, one-way financial assistance. CWC produces long-lasting change and upward economic mobility by replacing the negative experiences of scarcity, poverty and having to continually ask for financial assistance with empowerment, higher credibility as a borrower and an opportunity for the recipient to "pay it forward" to the next family in a similar situation.
TIFE is a new best practice introduced to the Charlotte community by CWC. It involves a deep understanding and recognition of the physical, psychological, and emotional trauma experienced by our most fragile working poor. It accomplishes its effort by empowering clients in both classroom and one-to-one settings, create an environment of safety, trustworthiness, transparency, peer support, mutual respect, consumer choice, and culturally relevant discourse.
CWC's unique approach provides access to a re-banking program and donor-funded loan collateral pool, allowing its credit union partner to bank and make low-interest loans (called CWC Opportunity Loans) to clients with otherwise insufficient credit scores. These services enable clients to start on a pathway of upward mobility and break out of the cycle of poverty by providing an affordable alternative for depositing paychecks, addressing financial emergencies, refinancing existing predatory debt, and paying off items that negatively affect credit scores.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 - SPECIFIC NEEDS:
In an attempt to provide a needed service to those we all serve who have financial questions arising from the COVID-19 crisis, Common Wealth Charlotte has established an “COVID-19 Financial Question” system. This system is designed specifically for low-income wage earners having concerns about current (or impending) financial hardship due to loss of income from job cessation, voluntary or mandatory quarantines or other hardships caused by COVID-19.
Access to the system is easy:
Text the word “finances” to 474747
The sender will receive a text response with a link to complete a short “COVID-19 Financial Question” form. That form will be returned to a queue CWC has set up, and our Advanced Financial, Education and Loan Administration teams and trained volunteers will respond with a phone call to address the question, offer relevant guidance if possible, and make referrals to other appropriate agencies as necessary.
We do not know how to anticipate demand for this system, and we cannot guarantee we will be able to provide answers for every situation. But we will do the best we can to expedite return contact and to provide some basic information on issues we expect people to face. We believe we will field many “what if I cannot…” questions, including:
… pay my mortgage?
… make my car payment?
… pay my rent?
… feed my family?
… pay my utility bill?
… pay my credit card?
… pay my income taxes?
We have answers and guidance for those and other basic questions. If nothing else, the CWC Advanced Financial Counselor will provide reassurance that someone is there to listen.
If you have additional questions about this system, please contact me at the email or number below. If I do not answer, please leave me a voicemail and I will follow up with you. And if you have staff working remote who would be willing to be trained in some counseling of basic questions, CWC would love to build a database in case this overwhelms us. As I wrote – we do not know what kind of volume to expect.
More information and FAQs can be found here: https://www.commonwealthcharlotte.org/covid19
How You Can Help:
Financial donations for our efforts in providing support for urgently needed loans.