• Goodwill exceeds goal on SunTrust Bank grant for financial literacy courses

    Margie Genter, vice president of mission services for Goodwill Manasota, teaching a class on financial literacy

    SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – For the past two years, Goodwill Manasota has offered financial resource classes to the community with generous support from SunTrust Bank. This year, its grant of $10,000 has helped 257 individuals – surpassing the program goal by nearly 40% – paying for a financial literacy coach for low- and moderate-income workers at external companies and organizations. Classes covered budgeting and debt reduction, and provided tools and resources so participants can make sound financial decisions.

    Some demographic notes about those who have participated in the financial literacy classes:

    A lack of financial literacy creates a big problem:
    • Fewer than 11% of registrants had more than three months’ worth of expenses saved.
    • Fewer than 16% had any savings at all.
    • 78% said they had no financial plan in place.
    • More than 80% won’t have enough to cover unexpected costs or emergencies.

    Why they attended the workshop:
    • 42% looking for assistance in improving their financial literacy and repair credit
    • 13% have credit or debt that has been referred to collection agency
    • 22% are behind on monthly bills or rent/mortgage
    • 25% currently seeking affordable rentals or subsidized housing
    • 11% owe money to the government (IRS, student loans, child support, etc.)
    • 21% need assistance with food, utilities and work clothing
    • 14% can’t afford the cost of going to school

    Evaluations from financial literacy program participants indicate that 78% did not have a financial plan in place before the workshop. Affirming the program’s effectiveness, 91% of the individuals who attended the classes indicated they felt they had a solid financial plan in place after the workshop. And 100% wished they’d had a financial class before they reached a crisis level.

    Thanks to the continued funding from SunTrust Bank, Goodwill has been able to continue to expand and export the Goodwill Financial Literacy Program into additional community venues. Goodwill is currently working with the Children’s Guardian Fund, which provides resources to children and teenagers in the foster care system, to provide classes to adolescents, ages 13-19, in their program.

    “If someone has never learned how to budget or been taught financial literacy, the chances for self-sufficiency are greatly reduced – even if they are working,” said Margie Genter, Goodwill Manasota’s vice president of mission services. “With the recent reduction in local unemployment rates, programs such as our financial literacy classes are still urgently needed. We appreciate the support of generous partners like SunTrust as we strive for innovative ways to strengthen, employ and educate our community for this and future generations.”

    “The SunTrust Foundation is pleased to hear that our support of Goodwill Manasota is succeeding in strengthening financial literacy in our region,” added Josh McCoy, Manatee County market president of SunTrust. “Our hope for the financial literacy classes has been that they will offer significant benefits to area employers as it positively impacts their workforces, which will serve to strengthen our community, and enable young people to get started on the right foot as they move toward independence and self-sufficiency.”

    For more information about Goodwill’s programs and services, call (941) 355-2721 or go to experiencegoodwill.org.

    About Goodwill Manasota
    Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.