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a cycle that shows the relationship among stress, health and money.

FHI Celebrates 16 years of Person-Centered Financial Education

16 years serving our community!  That’s what we are celebrating today!  And we celebrate by dedicating our future efforts to integrate Person-Centered Financial Education into the world of human services and economic development.

Sometimes, it takes time to get clear on what you’re doing or where you’re going.  Sometimes, you just keep moving forward, knowing that you’re headed somewhere – even if you’re not quite sure where.  Then somewhere along that bumpy road, as you keep moving forward, you take some wrong turns, some detours and sometimes you have to back up a little bit.  But over time, it seems to get clearer, and the further you proceed it becomes even more clear.

And I can tell you that after a 16 year-long and bumpy road, it feels like there is greater clarity in what FHI brings to the world and what we aim to become as we move forward. We’ve done a lot of great things to support the communities we work with – like helping approximately 3,000 people per year, offering live classes, online classes, designing classes, designing programs and functioning as consultants in many capacities.  However, it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that it became crystal clear to me as to where we are going.

A cycle showing the relationships among money, stress and health.

A large part of our core is what we call the “Causal Loop” – a way of looking at the relationship among money, stress and health.  And we’ve always said that we want to provide education that helps to mitigate some of the negative impacts of this loop.  I still believe this is central to who we are, but it did not truly capture our essence.

However, In our last blog, Joanne McLain introduced the concept of Person-Centered Financial Education. When she mentioned the term to me a few months ago, it was like one of those “eureka” moments.  We have searched for so long to describe who we are and how we’re different and, in that moment, – the term just felt so accurate and right that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  It’s what FHI has always been about, and you can see it in every aspect of every activity in which we engage.  Meeting the participant exactly where they are and respecting the individual’s journey – putting the person at the center of their own process – this is how we address the causal loop.

We have found that our place in the world is helping people who are economically stressed and helping the organizations that serve those people.  We fill a niche for people who are interested in learning more about their personal finances and economics but maybe not quite ready for traditional financial literacy classes.  We fill an incredibly large hole in human services, wherein case managers and front-line staff who have had not training in personal finances and or economics can learn about the basics of these topics so that they can better serve their clients.  We help these professionals to keep the process person-centered and strengths-based – and working to ensure that well-intentioned help isn’t actually traumatizing or re-traumatizing.

We are so grateful to all of you – thankful for all of our supporters and partners, employees and colleagues we’ve had over the years. It is with great conviction and perhaps a greater sense of self-awareness that we move forward into our 17th year. We are excited to promote PCFE more widely as a primary way of delivering financial education to everyone and of course, we hope you will join us on this journey. 

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