Financial Empowerment

IDA (Education & Business)

Program Background and Description

The Lower Columbia Hispanic Council offers IDA accounts for higher education and to start or improve a business. The accounts offer a 3 to 1 match on money saved with a maximum of $1,000 per year for up to 3 years, for a total of up to $9,000 in matched funds and $12,000 in total dollars saved!

Program Structure

Participants of the program enroll with us and we manage their case to ensure they stay on track. Once the participant is eligible for a withdrawal they submit paperwork to us for approval and we send it to our fiscal agent, CASA of Oregon for disbursement of funds.

Partners/Key Players

CASA of Oregon is our fiscal agent and manages participants’ funds. Our organization has a primary manager for the program and helps to provide assistance with enrollment and general program participant support.

Overall Goals

To help Clatsop County Families increase their financial stability by providing access to funds for higher education and to start or improve their personal small business.

Racial Disparities Acknowledgement

Oregon has a long history of creating race-based policies regarding affordable housing, homeownership, and predatory financial practices that have deprived communities of color from accessing resources and opportunities for hundreds of years. There is evidence of the impact of cultural and institutional racism within the community development field, including:
  • Displacement of Native people from their lands, including the political termination of many local tribes
  • Black exclusion laws that mandated public whippings
  • The immoral rounding up of Japanese Americans during WWII
  • Continual city policy of displacing African Americans from their long time neighborhoods for the purposes of city planning
  • Out of state investors contributing to gentrification across the state
  • Deportation and intimidation by government agencies and organizations designed to protect all that live here, including Latino/a people
We recognize that the historic policies are systemic in nature and have resulted in predatory lending targeting vulnerable communities, stagnated economic mobility for low-income individuals and families, and the inaccessibility of asset building and intergenerational wealth for communities of color. With the knowledge that these injustices have never been adequately addressed, we must, in good conscience, face racial equity work head-on. In the field of asset building, there are ways that we can address and reverse these injustices. We can acknowledge the lack of representation by communities of color in our client loads and ask ourselves why that is. We can examine how we support our clients of color by leaving out the most harmful pieces of dominant culture’s values in our program policies and looking at where certain practices might be supporting racism. Whenever possible, we can present a program that is culturally competent and supportive of creating environments and spaces where every person is welcomed, respected, and valued. We can use the IDA as a tool to increase access and opportunities for communities of color, end generational poverty, and help to close the racial wealth gap. By participating in this program, we acknowledge historical and contemporary injustices and will work towards reversing them and preventing their future occurrences by utilizing the tools at our disposal, including the IDA program.  

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