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May 11, 2018

Financial literacy nonprofit rebranding with new name, expanded mission

Courtesy / ProsperityME
Courtesy / ProsperityME
At its 10th anniversary celebration in Portland this week, ProsperityME presented an award to CEI for its longtime support of the nonprofit’s programming with Maine’s immigrants. From left are Hannaford Community Relations Specialist Sherri Stevens, CEI Senior Vice President Jennifer Sporzynski and ProsperityME Executive Director Claude Rwaganje.

About ProsperityME: The Center for Financial Education

Formerly known as Community Financial Literacy, ProsperityME empowers, through education and counseling, members of refugee and immigrant communities to invest in themselves to build financial stability, careers, businesses and wealth that contributes to their personal prosperity and the greater prosperity of Maine.

Community Financial Literacy is rebranding itself as ProsperityME: The Center for Financial Education.

The Portland-based nonprofit, which teaches American money management skills to immigrants, announced its new name and logo at its 10 anniversary celebration on May 8 at Brick South at Thompson's Point.

The nonprofit also announced it has launched a new college scholarship fund, seeded with a $75,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor who will match ProsperityME's fundraising, dollar for dollar, up to $75,000. The donations will create a fund for Maine students seeking asylum who don't qualify for any federal or state aid to receive tuition and fees.

"Ten years ago, I had a vision that all of Maine's immigrants and refugees, their families, and communities could reach financial stability and improve their quality of life," said ProsperityME Executive Director Claude Rwaganje. "The vision was great, but its mission — to teach financial literacy — was narrow. I came to realize that financial literacy alone was not sufficient to help people and families become more prosperous. Over time we built the robust curriculum and service offerings now under our umbrella."

The new name (pronounced Prosperity Maine) reflects the broader scope of services for immigrants, refugees and asylees, according to a news release.

At its inception the nonprofit provided financial literacy courses, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching. It quickly added support for higher education in partnership with Finance Authority of Maine, career development, a matching savings program in partnership with CEI and job skills training in partnership with Portland Adult Education. Today its services have expanded to include scholarship fund for asylum seekers, loans for secure housing and small business startup support and development. The service area has also expanded beyond Portland to include Lewiston and Auburn and will soon to expand to York County.

Helping ‘new Mainers’ succeed

Over the last 10 years, ProsperityME has served 3,144 individuals and families from almost 30 countries with courses and financial counseling. Of them:

  • 804 participated in one-on-one sessions
  • 175 financial courses and workshop were offered.
  • In partnership with CEI it helped 190 individuals and families participate in the Individual Development Account program. These participants had savings and matching funds totaling $1.14 million; 106 of these participants had never owned a savings account prior to their participation in the program. They purchased assets that had a value of $1.6 million.
  • In 2017 the organization provided 35 classes and workshops to 489 people, counseled or coached 109 individuals, opened matching savings program accounts for 33 individuals and assisted 315 walk-ins looking for services.

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