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City of Jackson Awarded DollarWise Innovation Grant
Posted on 01/25/2021

JACKSON, Tenn. – During the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting January 21-23, it was announced that the City of Jackson was selected to receive $10,000 in grant funds to support the city’s Anti-Poverty Task Force via a mobile economic mobility campaign called “The Hub.” Jackson is one of only seven cities to be selected nationwide.

DollarWise is the economic mobility initiative of the United States Conference of Mayors. DollarWise believes in helping residents thrive economically. The campaign fosters and supports innovative programs to promote educational opportunities, jobs and livable wages, financial capability, homeownership, affordable healthcare and more. DollarWise addresses three primary components to address economic mobility:

  1. Removing barriers that prevent economic advancement;

  2. Creating economic opportunity through education and skills development; and

  3. Building assets to create intergenerational wealth.

The DollarWise Campaign is made possible through support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, its founding sponsor.

With the establishment of the Anti-Poverty Task Force, the City of Jackson began taking a more direct, comprehensive approach to addressing poverty and other quality of life concerns in the city. Access to resources emerged as a key finding of the Task Force. In particular, access to credible financial services is a critical concern, with Madison County having the highest number of predatory lenders per capita in the state of Tennessee, along with a high percentage (53%) of families just one emergency away from poverty (United Way ALICE Report, 2020). In response to these concerns, the City of Jackson applied and was selected to participate in the 2020-2021 cohort of the Cities for Financial Empowerment CityStart program. The purpose of this program is to assist the city in developing a financial empowerment blueprint that places the city at the forefront of financial empowerment services.

As part of this plan, the City of Jackson will use DollarWise funds to create a mobile resource hub (The HUB) as the first of a multi-phase initiative to improve economic mobility and financial empowerment across our city. The Hub will serve as a mobile financial counseling and resource clinic that will travel to low-income neighborhoods and various partner agencies to provide free one-on-one financial counseling to citizens, in addition to other complimentary services.

“We believe breaking the cycle of poverty begins at access,” said Lauren Kirk, director of performance management for the City of Jackson. “Without access to basic resources, services, information, and opportunities, individuals and families experiencing poverty are prevented from moving beyond their current circumstances, and it can have a lasting effect for generations. The City of Jackson will strategically use the DollarWise funds to improve access to resources and services for our community, which will in turn spur upward economic mobility.”

“The Hub will help us address an immediate need to overcome access barriers in our city. Long term, this project will aid in the future goals of the Anti-Poverty Task Force to better understand and address financial empowerment, poverty, economic mobility and access, and other quality of life concerns in our city by providing data and feedback from residents on how The Hub is utilized, what services or resources need to be provided, and other ways we can foster economic mobility in our communities.”

Contact DollarWise program manager James Kirby at: jkirby@usmayors.org for more information about the program. Contact Lauren Kirk, director of performance management, for the City of Jackson, at lkirk@jacksontn.gov for more information about the anti-poverty task force.

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About the United States Conference of Mayors
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. To learn more visit usmayors.org.


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