SUCCESS THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS: THE ROADS TO FINANCIAL HEALTH PROGRAM.
Situation: Family and Consumer Sciences Agents can be called upon to participate in public/private collaborations that begin with lofty goals, unfamiliar partners, inadequate time lines, and limited resources. While these opportunities can be challenging, Agents can employ the Extension Logic Model to lead successful collaborations with public-private partners. In February, 2016, County of Volusia requested UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County and United Way of Volusia-Flagler to partner in order to develop and deliver a new, unduplicated debt management program with one-time funding by year end.
Methods: Partner agencies worked together to provide outreach, recruitment, financial education classes and webinars, and individual mentoring to 55 individuals experiencing significant changes in life circumstances (loss of job, college graduation, retirement, divorce, death). UF/IFAS Extension Agent employed the Extension Logic Model to guide the program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Participants completed 6 weekly classes or webinars and 6 months of one-on -one financial mentoring.
Results: Seven additional partner agencies collaborated to deliver the program: Goodwill Industries, Clearpoint Credit, TD Bank, Axiom Bank, Seacoast Bank, State Farm Insurance, and the Florida Prosperity Partnership. 85% (47) of participants completed the program, obtained a copy of a credit report, set and progressed toward financial goals. 85% (47) of participants reduced debt ($38,700), and/or increased savings ($22,700).
Conclusion: The Roads to Financial Success Partnership initiated as a fast-moving, one-time opportunity that quickly grew into a successful program that exceeded expectations. Beyond the outcomes and impacts to the participants, Volusia County achieved a working collaborative of
trained mentors and community supports for ongoing financial education. City of Deltona is funding the program for 2017.