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RACINE — The Racine Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) recently received the Governor’s Financial Literacy Award for a second straight year. The recognition is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability.

The FEC offers free, one-on-one professional financial counseling to City of Racine residents. This counseling helps residents reduce debt; improve credit; and budget, save, and connect to safe and affordable financial products. The FEC also works to help residents plan for home ownership.

Vicky Selkowe, the city’s manager of strategic initiatives and community partnerships, was recognized by Gov. Tony Evers for launching the Racine FEC through a partnership with the national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund). She was joined by Dashieka Kidd, who is FEC manager and Racine Program Manager for Housing Resources Inc.

The Racine FEC opened in December 2020 after a grant application and development process that took about 14 months, Selkowe said.

“We are very (proud) to be the only center in Wisconsin and the first small city in the United States to offer its residents a financial empowerment center,” she said.

CFE Fund has helped establish financial empowerment centers in 41 communities and the District of Columbia. Selkowe said that work is underway to establish an FEC in Milwaukee.

Racine Financial Empowerment Center

Since its opening, the Racine FEC has served 361 residents. The residents have experienced:

  • $470,310 in debts reduced/eliminated
  • $84,401 in personal savings increased
  • 206 delinquent accounts removed from credit reports
  • 27 new safe/affordable bank accounts opened

In addition, 56 residents have reduced non-mortgage debt by 10% (and they’ve done that a total of 96 times). And, 49 residents increased their credit scores by 35+ points (and they’ve done that a total of 85 times).

Of the City of Racine residents served by the FEC to date, 56.2% identify as African American/Black, 17% identify as Hispanic/Latino, and 5% identify as multiracial. A little over three-quarters of the residents identify as female.

The FEC helps residents of all income levels. To make a free appointment for award-winning financial counseling, City of Racine residents are invited to visit the Racine FEC online to make an appointment.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...

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