Notes from the Field #15

Budget Buddies, a 2016 Social Innovator
Budget Buddies graduation event of their 17th program at House of Hope (or HoH), Inc. family shelter in Lowell (September 2019)

Budget Buddies is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower women in improving their financial health and creating a more secure future for their families and communities. The secret to their success is that every woman is matched one-to-one with a coach who is dedicating their focus on their coachees' financial situation and goals. During the pandemic, Budget Buddies ensured that their services would be available to as many women as possible.

New research suggests that COVID-19 has caused a “she-session” of epic proportions - the full effects of which we really are only beginning to see. The sudden loss of childcare services and the lockdown of so many industries that account for large amounts of female employment have been devastating to women in the workplace.  Women of color and moms, who account for 69% and 67% of the women in Budget Buddies programs respectively, are facing particularly challenging times in terms of both employment and housing stability. While the road to recovery will be long, Budget Buddies is committed to meeting this increased demand by expanding their financial health programs to reach more women going through economic hardships. 

Early on in the pandemic, Budget Buddies quickly transitioned their group-based money-management workshops and one-to-one individualized coaching to be entirely virtual. The virtual programs expanded their geography, where they could connect with communities where the need is greatest, and be more flexible in the ways they serve clients. This allowed their team to provide more women with the financial resiliency, peer connection, and emotional support needed during a time of deep financial need and uncertainty. It has also allowed them to work with more women, and many new partners, who can now refer clients directly to them.  

Budget Buddies has noticed an increase in attendance and engagement in the middle of a pandemic where many are experiencing some level of Zoom fatigue. This is partly due to the ease of virtual access, but also to the fact that women can build more peer-to-peer connections. Luckily, the women in their program have their volunteer coaches to thank -  who act as cheerleaders, accountability partners, sympathetic listeners, financial goal setters, and everything in between. Women facing financial challenges, can now reach out to the organization directly and register to join a Budget Buddies program. 

Here’s what a few clients shared out: 

  • Deliferd wanted Budget Buddies to know that she got another job offer and now has to decide which job is better. This is a good problem to have. 
  • Daniela obtained a new credit card with a lower interest rate and she received professional development to enhance her job knowledge.
  • One client of Budget Buddies shared that she opened her own massage business.
  • Waketa has been working on her credit score and raised it from 550 to 620. She will also have saved $1,100 by the end of the month.

Budget Buddies is very lucky to have the support of many capacity-building funders who care deeply about the financial health of the most vulnerable women in the community. Their funders see the transformative impact that the Budget Buddies model can have on the lives of women living on the economic margins. However, it is still an uncertain time in terms of funding as the long-term impacts of the pandemic are not yet fully understood. 

Help support Budget Buddies in the following ways: 
  • Become a Coach volunteer -  For two hours/week over 12 weeks. This 24-hour commitment equals roughly $3,480 as an in-kind donation. This volunteer opportunity uniquely offers the opportunity to deeply and personally impact the life of a woman as seen in their story about Leanna and Helen. See other volunteer opportunities here
  • A gift amount of $1,000 covers the cost of a woman participating in our 3-month financial health program including 12-14 financial health workshops and 1-to-1 coaching. 
  • A gift amount of $500 can help us provide women with a computer or iPad and a hot spot to bridge the digital divide and improve their ability to participate in our virtual workshops (also usually provides their children with a learning platform as well) 
  • Become a Presenters volunteer - You will have a chance to share your expertise by leading a workshop related to banking, budgeting, fraud, wants vs. needs, credit, eating healthy on a budget, vision boarding, etc. Their 1-2 hour commitment can be a one-off or a regular part of your life as some presenters have presented between 30-40 workshops for us.  

Make a donation here

For additional information or questions please reach out to Yana Rankine 

Notes from the Field #14

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