Impact of community development practices in financial services focus of Filene project


Filene Research Institute’s Center of Excellence for Community Social Impact announced that it will conduct research in an effort to expand the knowledge and practice of social impact among credit unions. 

The goal of the project, which officially launches in October, is to provide credit unions with the information and resources they need to develop a strategic advantage in the communities they serve and become catalysts for transformative community change, according to Filene.

The five-year project will be done in collaboration with an advisory council of credit union leaders, according to Filene, with research focused on:

  • identifying proven factors that successfully fight the root causes of poverty and inequality impacting individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities;
  • Establishing longitudinal research to identify and track proven programs and agencies that enable social impact in the consumer finance industry and drive household and community financial wellbeing;
  • creating and testing a social impact playbook to demonstrate the links between community development initiatives and positive business and consumer outcomes; and
  • building partnerships with local governments, schools, hospitals, community and nonprofit organizations to translate financial services into physical and social wellness and improved quality of life.

“Credit unions are a small but mighty player in consumer financial services, holding firm to their mission of serving the needs of their communities — especially for those most vulnerable within them,” said George Hofheimer, Filene’s EVP and chief research and development officer. “This applied research project will document, index and test social impact activities in the consumer finance industry with the goal of identifying models that leverage financial services to enable positive social impact and community transformation.”

Credit unions interested in participating in the project can find out more and get involved by clicking here.


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