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City of Jackson Completes CityStart Blueprint; Prepares to Launch Financial Empowerment Services
Posted on 06/02/2021

JACKSON, TN– The City of Jackson announced today the completion of their CityStart Financial Empowerment Blueprint today, a detailed strategic plan for how the City plans to support and encourage financial empowerment among its residents in the years to come. The Blueprint is the result of a 6-month planning process involving data collection and analysis, virtual stakeholder engagement sessions, and policy research to inform the City of Jackson’s priorities, goals, and financial empowerment strategies. Goals of the Blueprint include launching a Financial Empowerment Center to provide free, one-on-one professional financial counseling as an essential government service to residents; promoting financial literacy from childhood to retirement; improving banking access; and addressing predatory lending services.

Work is already underway to realize the goals of this Blueprint, with the City of Jackson already awarded a second planning grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment for launching a Financial Empowerment Center. The Director of Performance Management, Lauren Kirk, will manage implementation of City of Jackson’s Financial Empowerment Blueprint, with assistance from the Anti-Poverty Task Force. The Blueprint will be available on the City’s website under Projects and Initiatives.

Background on the CityStart Program

 In October 2021, Jackson was one of five local governments selected to receive a planning grant and technical assistance to identify and plan for local municipal financial empowerment strategic priorities. The CFE Fund’s CityStart initiative, with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and others, offers local leaders and their administrations a structured approach to identify financial empowerment goals, convene stakeholders for sustainable success, develop concrete strategies, and ultimately craft an actionable blueprint rooted in local priorities and opportunities.

The City of Jackson was part of the third cohort of CityStart partners for the CFE Fund; the third cohort of five local partners joined twenty-four localities that had previously completed the CityStart engagement. Past partners have created blueprints that outline their administration’s public vision for integrating financial empowerment efforts within local government infrastructure – some working to open an Office of Financial Empowerment to serve as a platform for overall efforts, some identifying strategies centered around a specific municipal priority such as affordable housing, and some replicating existing programs such as the Financial Empowerment Center FEC Public initiative.

The CityStart initiative draws on the CFE Fund’s extensive programmatic work with local government leaders in over 100 cities and counties, connecting critical on-the-ground insights about the impact of financial instability on families, communities, and municipal budgets with tangible, measurable, and sustainable municipal strategies to improve families' financial lives. The City of Jackson, working with the CFE Fund, worked to craft its municipal financial empowerment blueprint identifying actionable implementation steps based on the financial needs of residents, key Administration priorities, and partnership opportunities. Development of the blueprint was based on a series of virtual meetings with key stakeholders, with a specific focus on financial empowerment during COVID-19, resident engagement, and racial equity. CityStart partners have historically leveraged their engagement with the CFE Fund to further their commitment to this work.

This work directly relates to the goals of the City’s Anti-Poverty Task Force in addressing predatory lending and financial literacy. It will also go hand-in-hand with other initiatives of the City to address homelessness, recidivism, and workforce development.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in over 100 cities and counties to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources – including 24 local governments that have already completed the CityStart engagement. The CFE Fund has disbursed over $52 million in grant support to municipal partners. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.

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