Claude_KevinCroppedThe Year of 2014 was one of growth for CFL.  We expanded our services from financial literacy to financial stability which includes financial education, workforce development, and higher education, with micro enterprise under exploration. Our biggest expansion came through a partnership with Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to offer higher education counseling for students and parents on financial aid, Next Gen, college savings, and post student loan counseling.
We also joined the Portland Jobs Alliance Coalition to help New Americans enter the workforce. As a result of expansion, CFL revised its mission statement to reflect these changes as follows:
CFL empowers, through education and counseling, members of refugee and immigrant communities to invest in themselves to build financial stability, careers, businesses and wealth.
CFL saw an attendance increase of our students from 220 in 2013 to 306 participants in 2014; a 39% increase from the previous year. We are also pleased to have helped 15 individuals and families participate in the IDA program to save for college, start a small business, and/or purchase a vehicle. This resulted in nearly $92,000 from participants’ savings and matching savings.
We were honored to have Mayor Michael Brennan as our guest speaker at the Annual Celebration, which was well attended by many of CFL’s supporters, funders and alumni. Participants at the Annual Celebration were moved by the success story of Jerome Muhirwa, who took two of our courses, Basic Money Management and Savings to Build Wealth. He also participated in the IDA program. Jerome shared how he was able to save about $15,000 in three years because of the tools he received from these courses.
We are grateful to many of our supporters, funders and partners. We appreciate continued support from our biggest donors, like Broad Reach Fund, and Maine State Housing, and strong partners, such as Coastal Enterprises and Financial Authority of Maine.
CFL expects 2015 to bring similar successes as we further explore the area of micro enterprise for the underserved population of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants and low income. I would like to thank all our staff, volunteers, and those who have contributed their time, money, effort, and expertise to our programs and services in 2014.
Claude Rwaganje, Executive Director