Mid-South Reps Learn about Assets for Independence
Representatives of organizations across Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi met in Jackson, Mississippi, on March 11-12 to gain insight into Federal programs promoting financial security for low-income individuals and families.
Leaders from human services agencies, housing agencies, community action agencies, faith-based organizations, and other local groups participated in the Assets for Independence (AFI) outreach workshop, cosponsored by AFI and the Foundation for the Mid South. Designed for prospective AFI grantees, the workshop provided in-depth information on applying for AFI funding and effectively managing AFI IDA projects.
Facilitated by Amy Shir, an AFI Resource Coordinator and an Individual Development Account (IDA) expert, the workshop gave participants opportunities to hear from and speak with others involved in asset building and poverty reduction, including representatives of the Office of Community Services (OCS) and the Foundation for the Mid South, current AFI grantees, and potential local partners.
Mississippi State Senator Willie Simmons welcomed the participants to Jackson and spoke on the importance of poverty reduction programs such as AFI. Community backing for such programs is vital, he said.
Administrators of current AFI grantee organizations shared their insights and expertise on tailoring AFI IDA projects to the needs of local communities. Wonda Crawford, of Total Community Action, Inc.; Rebecca Doyle, of the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services; Shirley Worthington, of United Way of Central Alabama; and John Yarbrough, of the Southern Good Faith Fund, served on a discussion panel and took audience questions. Workshop participants learned techniques to define an AFI project area, select achievable asset goals and match rates, map community resources and funders, identify potential partners, and achieve measurable outcomes.
Participants also heard from representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, who provided information on how their programs complement AFI projects.
After learning about building community partnerships, working with financial institutions, designing successful projects, and the impact of AFI projects on communities, participants left the workshop with resources and tools to design their own AFI IDA projects.
For More Information
To learn about upcoming AFI workshops in your area, view the AFI Calendar of Events.
For more information on technical assistance for prospective grantees offered by the AFI program, contact the AFI Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-778-6037.
This article originally ran in the IDAresources.org Update Newsletter on 03/23/10 and is available for archival purposes.