Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Educational Inequality and Financial Coaching + Schools

In this blog we've already looked at the link between poverty and health and how our Financial Coaching program can help to improve health outcomes for the poor.  Unfortunately, a recent study by the UMass Boston Center for Social Policy only served to reinforce this pernicious paradigm: the study found that the children of low-wage workers are "Far more likely to drop out of school than are higher income youth, are more likely to be among the one in five American teens who are obese, and are far more likely to become parents in their teen years."

On the heels of these sad reports comes an article in the New York times titled 'For Many Poor Students, Lead to College Ends in a Hard Fall.'  Here are some of the more troubling quotes:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Financial Coaching + Health, Pt. 2: The Plan

Yesterday I talked about why there is a need for a health module within our Financial Coaching program.  Today, I'd like to talk about how we plan on implementing that module and what it will mean for our overall social impact.

First, a little background: when I first started seeing health issues coming up with many of our Coaching clients, I wasn't sure how to handle it.  After all, health can seem tangential to the financial coaching, free tax preparation and small loans that we provide.  What's more, I had no idea how to go about tackling health within our Coaching--I have no background in health and neither do any of my board members or employees.  Still, I've never been one to shy away from a challenging problem, provided that it's worth solving. So I decided to reach out to Partners in Health, one of the best non-profits in the world and whose co-founder, Paul Farmer, is a hero of mine (I highly recommend three of his books: Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor; Mountains beyond Mountains; and Haiti After the Earthquake).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Financial Coaching + Health, Pt. 1: The Need

Let's face it, poverty in America is a complex, multifaceted problem: financial services, health, education, housing, jobs, public benefits, environmental degradation--these are all issue areas that play a part in preventing a poverty-free nation.  Given that our mission is to end poverty in the lives of our clients, we are constantly looking at ways of expanding the breadth and depth of our products and services without straying from our core competency of offering financial services to the poor.  

Not long after we launched our one-on-one Financial Coaching program, we began to see that we could leverage the relationship developed between client and coach to identify a wide range of life goals and work together with our clients to achieve them.  It didn't take long to see that health issues were a significant barrier to success: half of bankruptcies are due to medical debt, and many of our clients cite health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and anxiety, as significant challenges in their lives.  And when looked at from a macroeconomic point of view, America is facing health crisis; in fact, according to a recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR),

Today, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, and other chronic diseases account for about 70% of all deaths in the United States and restrict daily living activities for 25 million people.  They also impose huge costs on families and economy, gobbling up an estimated 75% of the money Americans spend on health care.