As we begin a new year – and a new decade – it is important to appreciate the efforts, work, history, and growth of our incredible organization. Prosperity Works was started with one primary goal: to remove barriers and create opportunity for financial equity and inclusion in the state of New Mexico. Throughout our 20 year history, we have worked tirelessly to do just that. Over the years, we have engaged with communities, legislators, business owners, and advocates across the state to champion and advance policies and practices that work to address the systemic factors that block financial stability and contribute to poverty.
We are proud to have worked to create successful programs that continue to make a positive impact in New Mexico, like the New Mexico Individual Development Account program and Prosperity Kids, a matched children’s savings account. We are proud to have worked with partners across the state to reframe poverty and to encourage the shifting of attitudes and behaviors in addressing and working to alleviate poverty. We are proud to have championed access to fair lending for all New Mexicans and to hold lenders accountable for predatory practices - work our team continues to carry out today. And we are immensely proud of how far we’ve come and excited for what the future will bring.
As we move forward, my vision for Prosperity Works is that we can become an accelerator for common cause issues around the state – those policy and programmatic efforts that endeavor to create an equitable economic and social landscape for all New Mexicans – so that we, as a network of partners, advocates, and leaders can really make the positive impact we hope to see for our State and our people. It is with a collaborative and relentless spirit that we will continue our work and I hope that you’ll join us.
2020 Policy Agenda Priorities
Prosperity Works supports
Giving Tuesday, this year held on December 3rd, is our largest annual fundraising event here at Prosperity Works. Traditionally, on that single day each year we set out to raise as many dollars as we can, all of which which goes directly towards our programs and initiatives - and all of which energizes and furthers our mission to power economic opportunity and change for all New Mexicans.
We are extremely proud to announce that with your help we raised $10,980!
In a jam-packed year full of fundraising projects both internally and externally, the total we raised is impressive. But we're even more blown away by the number of individual donors who helped us reach this milestone. We had over 40 donors who with their gift were expressing a heartfelt commitment to our work: "Yes, I believe the best investment I can make is investing directly in hardworking New Mexicans."
We promise to deliver a return on your investment in 2020.
We also couldn't have reached this goal without the grassroots financial support from local businesses who wanted to signal that they believe in the mission of Prosperity Works by providing generous corporate match dollars.
We know that there are many wonderful organizations making a difference in New Mexico every day. Donors who gave to Prosperity Works on #GivingTuesday 2019 were assured their gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by these exclusive partners up to $5,000. In short, this kind of support amplifies our reach and strengthens our mission in a compounding, impactful way.
So we want to send a very special THANK YOU to both these donors and our community partners. You've taken an active role in empowering real change to the economic future of our local communities. Your engagement and commitment inspires us everyday to fight for great financial equity and inclusion for all the people of New Mexico.
Again, thank you from all of us here at Prosperity Works. We couldn't do what we do without your support.
Hello, Prosperity Works family, friends and support!
Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) is an international day of giving created in 2012 and traditionally held every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Conceived as a response to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the consumerism of the holiday season, Giving Tuesday is a way to give back to your local communities. Whether it's donations of time, money, food, clothing or other essential services, Giving Tuesdayhas become a reminder for us to pause for a moment of dedicated reflection -- and to connect with the causes, non-profits and charitable organizations that are closest to our hearts.
We've seen the exposure - and the recognition - of Giving Tuesday grow exponentially since it began, with participation by over 8,000 non profits and counting.
And the results are truly inspiring. In the last few years alone, giving on Giving Tuesday has doubled (from $116 million in 2015 to $264 million in 2017)! What began as a grass roots seed has now blossomed into a large-scale fundraising movement, with matching dollars coming in from partner corporations and philanthropic foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook, the Case Foundation and Google.
Here at Prosperity Works, Giving Tuesday is our largest fundraising event of the year. It's a vital revenue component in our ongoing work of advocating for financial equity and inclusion for all New Mexicans.
Equally important, Giving Tuesday has proven to be an invaluable way for us to connect (& reconnect!) with our Prosperity Works' friends, donors, prospects and influencers, as we continue the work and progress we've made with our matched dollar savings accounts like IDAs and CSAs, our Prosperity Kids program, as well as our ongoing fight against predatory lending in our state.
You'll be hearing about Giving Tuesday from us quite a bit over the next few days, as we lead up to this very important day next Tuesday, December 3rd. And while we hope Prosperity Works remains front and center on your list for Giving Tuesday 2019, we also recognize that any and all giving on this important day makes a world of difference.
After all, we're all in this together. And to quote former Senator Paul Wellstone, "We all do better when all do better."
Join us on Giving Tuesday this year!
The Department of Agriculture recently proposed making changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) that would take critical food benefits away from 3.1 million Americans, mainly working families with children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, and will cut off school lunches for half a million children. If this proposal goes into effect working families who live near the poverty line will lose SNAP benefits when a small increase in earnings pushes their income past the current cutoff. The change would also stop states from automatically enrolling children whose families receive SNAP for free school meals.
Read our letter to Secretary Perdue at USDA and if you'd like to add a public comment to this proposal you may do so here.
The Prosperity Works Board of Directors announces that Michael Barrio will take over as President & CEO when Ona Porter retires this fall. Barrio, a Las Cruces native, has been serving as the Director of Advocacy at the nonprofit organization since 2017. Board and staff alike are excited about the commitment to economic equity, public and private sector experience and extensive network of New Mexico relationships that Michael brings to the role.
“Michael's passion for the mission, his vision, and strategic approach to advance an opportunity agenda is
precisely what we need at this stage,” says Ona Porter, who will assume a Founder Emeritus role on the Board of Directors.
Please see the complete press release below.
Fighting insidious predatory lending in New Mexico requires a double-headed strategy: holding small-dollar lenders accountable to common-sense regulation AND expanding more fair-lending solutions to reach the people who need them most. The Albuquerque Journal published a story about how more and more New Mexico employers are offering fairly-priced credit-building loans as an employee benefit. We're proud to help employers offer this solution to stabilize their workforce and keep them out of the clutches of the loan sharks. If you know an employer or HR Professional who is interested in learning more about TrueConnect, please give us a call.
"Nearly 16,000 employees across New Mexico – predominantly in the public sector – have access to TrueConnect loans, according to Prosperity Works, a nonprofit anti-poverty organization in Albuquerque that has helped the company expand in New Mexico. Participating employers also include the city of Las Cruces, Central New Mexico Community College and Comcast New Mexico.
The loans are “one of the ways we can begin to address the fact that individuals and families need access to small-dollar lending and that they shouldn’t be punished for that by paying triple-digit APRs and being stuck in a cycle of debt that’s almost impossible to get out of,” said Michael Barrio, advocacy director for Prosperity Works."
Please visit the ABQ Journal to read the full story.
Nancy Martira, Communications Manager
Ona Porter, Founder & CEO of Prosperity Works, announces her retirement from the Albuquerque-based organization in late 2019. Porter founded the statewide nonprofit organization in 2000.
“Understanding that poverty is a policy failure rather than the set of character flaws that are commonly assigned to the poor, Prosperity Works has proven that opportunity and social justice are what is needed for people to thrive. Addressing systemic barriers that prevent people from living a life of dignity while providing access to economic inclusion have been hallmarks of our work, and will continue to be so,” Ona said in her retirement announcement. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished with our partners across the state during my tenure.”
The Prosperity Works Board of Directors is handling the search for the new CEO who will lead Prosperity Works into its third decade of service. The Board has engaged an external executive search consultant to ensure that the search will be appropriately comprehensive and inclusive.
Download the Full Press Release Here
When you dine out at Chello Grill on Tuesday, May 21st and show this flyer on your phone, 50% of your total sale will be donated to Prosperity Works. Bring your friends, bring your family, or bring your coworkers and help us make this a successful one-day fundraiser. Please read the fine print above. Thank you for the many ways you support Prosperity Works!
Nancy Martira, Communications Manager
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is accepting public comment on a proposal to roll-back existing consumer protections on small-dollar loans. We know this industry is notoriously predatory and now the CFPB wants to make it easier to trap Americans in high-cost debt that they can't afford to pay back. We will be submitting our comment before the May 15th deadline. Please read our letter below. If you would like to have your name or organization added to our letter, please send us a message. You may submit your own comment on this proposal here.
Jill Geltmaker, Vice President
Editor's Note: Did you catch our VP Jill Geltmaker on KQRE13 this morning? Here's more information about some of the tips and tools Jill mentions in this segment.
If you are an American who is receiving a tax refund, chances are you’re already planning how to spend that money. In one study, 27% of Americans who planned to receive a tax refund said they would use that money to pay down high-interest debt, which is a great use of the money. We also know that a significant number of Americans will use their refund to finally receive medical treatment that they’ve been putting off due to cost. Only 16% of Americans polled in the GoBankingRates survey of 1,000 people planned to put that money into a savings account. There are many good reasons why you should be part of that savvy 16%!
According to a study by the Urban Institute,families with even a small amount of non retirement savings are less likely to be evicted, miss a housing or utility payment, or receive public benefits when income disruptions occur. Saving just $250 can help protect you from unplanned expenses and give you peace of mind. The Federal Reserve Bank’s latest report states that 40% of U.S. Households cannot cover a $400 emergency expense. If you don’t have a plan to cover household emergencies, opening a designated savings account - separate from retirement or college savings - is a great place to start.
Once you’ve created a savings account, here are some strategies to build up funds. Did you know that you can split a direct deposit into a checking and savings account? If your employer offers direct deposit of your paycheck, the easiest way to save money painlessly is to automatically have a set amount of your pay go directly into your savings. Are you the kind of person who thrives on challenges and games? SaverLife is a web-based program that incentivizes you to keep adding to your savings account. Just sign up and link your existing bank account to SaverLife, and you'll automatically be entered to win prizes every week that you meet a savings goal that you set. Plus, you'll receive helpful nudges to save as well as badges and certificates to celebrate your successes. SaverLife is not a bank or savings account. To participate in SaverLife, you need an online bank account with a bank or credit union based in the United States that you can connect to online. The program is free to join, thanks to the support of the national nonprofit organization EARN, which helps working families achieve prosperity through savings.
If you have a smartphone and you’re comfortable using apps, there are many ways to set up automatic savings habits. When you sign up for the Acorns app, you connect your Debit card to the app. When you make a purchase on the debit card, it automatically rounds up the difference and puts the spare change into an account managed by Acorns. For example, if you pay for a lunch that costs $9.30 on your Debit card, Acorns rounds the purchase up to $10 and deposits $0.70 into your Acorns account, which is then invested in funds of stocks and bonds. Digit is another way to save money painlessly - and it’s not based on using your Debit card. Digit connects directly to your checking account and monitors they balance everyday. When Digit thinks you won’t miss the money, it automatically transfers small amounts of cash to a Digit-managed savings account. While the money is not invested, you can set specific goals and earn a “Savings Bonus” on what you’ve saved each quarter. Each of these apps do have fees associated with them, which means that while you’re saving will be automatic, there will be a small cost. Please do your own due diligence and review all terms and conditions before signing up.
Saving even a small amount of money now means that when something unexpected happens, you’re less likely to run up expensive credit card debt or, even worse, resort to high-cost payday loans. In New Mexico we have so many wonderful small community banks and credit unions - if you’re feeling overwhelmed when it comes to savings, it’s always a great choice to walk into one of your friendly, local institutions and ask to speak with someone in Member Services about your options.