A Community Approach to Financial Empowerment

“Poverty isn’t only about income, but poverty is always about income.”

That’s what Colin Bath, Aspire Coordinator at Momentum, says when asked about the importance of financial empowerment.

Free tax clinics, financial education, matched savings programs and more, all backed by Aspire, Calgary’s Financial Empowerment Collaborative, and their various partners, help support Calgarians living on lower incomes every single day.  And in 2022 alone, Aspire helped 10,000 Calgarians feel more confident about their finances.

"Aspire builds the capacity of our partner organizations to deliver financial empowerment strategies and interventions,” says Bath.

Momentum is a Calgary-based change-making organization that works with people living on lower incomes and partners in the community to create a thriving local economy for all. Momentum is the backbone organization of Aspire.

“Aspire is an example of what happens when organizations collaborate and achieve more together than any single organization could achieve on its own.”

There are no shortages of financial barriers facing Calgarians these days—inflation and rising costs of living disproportionately impact people living on lower-incomes. But with support from Aspire, there is still a way for the community to help.

“Financial empowerment is still critical,” Bath says. One of the key ways Aspire supports Calgarians is through the collaborative's free tax clinics. People living on lower incomes can attend and file their taxes for free—and tax refunds can make a significant impact on their financial wellbeing.

“Our community-based free tax clinics have supported over 23,000 Calgarians this year to file their taxes, putting $370,000 in tax return dollars back into the pockets of Calgarians living on lower incomes.”'

Momentum, Aspire’s backbone organization, partners with financial institutions (like us!) to help better disrupt poverty cycles. Banking on brighter futures, we are all collectively working towards systems change and working towards a more prosperous Alberta for all!

“When financial institutions are embedded in the community and connect people living on lower incomes and vulnerable populations to low-cost, affordable, trusted quality financial products, these financial institutions contribute to poverty reduction,” said Bath.

But poverty reduction isn’t just about working with financial institutions. Aspire partners with immigration services, women’s shelters and more to support families living on lower incomes from every angle. connectFirst is right there with them! As partners of change, we are making empowering and impactful connections on all fronts both with and for community.

“Over the last five years, Aspire has supported over 30,000 people and has distributed $5 million in tax refunds,” Bath says.

connectFirst is proud to partner with Momentum and Aspire to work towards poverty reduction and financial empowerment for all.

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