Common Wealth Charlotte

Uncommon financial solutions for low-income families.

CHARLOTTE, NC   |  https://www.commonwealthcharlotte.org

Mission

The mission of Common Wealth Charlotte (CWC) is to empower Charlotte's low-income wage earners—the approximate 150,000 people working full-time and making 30-35% of Area Median Income (AMI)—to achieve financial independence through innovative financial education, asset-building strategies and access to non-predatory banking and financial services.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director

Mr. Charles Warren Jones Jr

Main address

5301 WILKINSON BLVD

CHARLOTTE, NC 28208 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

30-0842673

NTEE code info

Financial Counseling, Money Management (P51)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The mission of Common Wealth Charlotte (CWC) is to empower Charlotte's low-income wage earners—the approximate 220,000 people working full-time and making 30-35% of Area Median Income (AMI)—to achieve financial independence through innovative financial education, asset-building strategies and access to non- predatory banking and financial services. CWC believes financial instability underpins every challenge faced by this population, including (but not limited to) housing, transportation, education, employment security, debt management and access to healthcare. CWC’s mission to establish pathways to financial stability is integral to this population’s well-being, as well as Charlotte’s community-wide initiative of increasing upward mobility. Using a three-pillar approach that encourages building assets, credibility within the credit system and wealth, CWC is changing the financial landscape of economically-vulnerable families.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Financial Empowerment Workshops

Financial Empowerment Workshops focus on attendees' overall relationship with money.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Families

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Out-of-home youth, Low-income people, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of savings accounts used by clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Older adults, People of African descent, Low-income people, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

Financial Empowerment Workshops

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of financial literacy courses conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Out-of-home youth, Low-income people

Related Program

Financial Empowerment Workshops

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of loans issued to clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Low-income people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Older adults, Young adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Low-income people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of participants counseled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Older adults, Young adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Low-income people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

- Clients satisfy the same short-term needs using affordable, easy-to-pay loans, raising credit scores by 40-80 points (or more) as loans are repaid.

- Viable credit union accounts provide a platform for asset building. Since 2015, CWC has provided more than 2,000 previously unbanked individuals with checking and savings accounts. Of the 1,000 people who activated those accounts, cumulative assets now stand at $470,000, an average of $400 each, enough to stave off most unexpected emergencies.

- With an 85-89% rate of loan repayment, donated funds allocated to the loan fund are stretched much further, recycled up to 5 times before exhausted. $10,000 dedicated to CWC's loan fund can provide between $40,000 and $50,000 of loan volume.

Common Wealth Charlotte’s entire approach is collaborative. It is now recognized as Charlotte's pillar agency for financial capability services. It serves as the exclusive financial education/asset-building partner for 51 nonprofits, workforce development agencies and Mecklenburg County departments, including:

(1) Workforce Development Partners: Goodwill Occupational Skills and Advancement; Goodwill Veterans; Goodwill Generations; Dress for Success; Fashion & Compassion; Charlotte Area Fund;

(2) Employers: Goodwill; SocialServe; Element Designs;

(3) Mecklenburg County; Family First Community Services (Adults and Youth); Carolinas Care; A Place to Live Again; McCreesh Place; Mecklenburg County Drug Court; WIC; DSS; Mecklenburg County Domestic Violence;

(4) Jail Release Agencies: Jail Central, Center for Community Transitions, Changed Choices;

(5) Teen Financial Education Programs: The Relatives; Right Moves for Youth; SkoolAide; Go4It; Jail North (Juveniles);

(6) Supportive Housing Programs: Habitat for Humanity; Charlotte Family Housing; Arbor Glen; Nia Point; Montgomery Gardens; Men's Shelter; YWCA; Camille’s House;

(7) Addiction Recovery Programs: Dove's Nest; Rebound; Hope Haven; Promise Resource Network;

(8) Houses of Worship: Elevation Church

(9) Others: Grier Heights CDC; Safe Alliance; CosKids; Jackson Park Ministries; Charlotte Housing Authority; Communities in Schools; CPCC; The Learning Collaborative; Movement School; Running Works; Families Forward; Bethlehem Center.

CWC offers all of its services at no cost to any client in its target population.
With appropriate memos of understanding and data share agreements, CWC will provide both aggregate and client- level data to partners.

CWC addresses this need to improve upward economic mobility with five distinct deliverables:

1) Financial Empowerment Workshops focus on attendees' overall relationship with money. These workshops deliver class- and culturally-relevant content sensitive to the target population’s likely past struggles with personal finance, and the trauma associated with it.

2) Group credit seminars explain the credit system at an institutional level, addressing the basics of good, bad and neutral credit-use practices. Credit seminars also include volunteer-led access to individual credit reports.

3) One-to-one advanced financial counseling sessions with NACCC® certified credit counselors focus on creating balanced spending plans, household budgets, financial goal-setting and strategic debt payoff plans.

4) Introduction into the mainstream financial system through Charlotte Metro Credit Union, (away from check- cashing, prepaid debit cards and predatory loans). Includes membership, initial deposits, and assistance in completing applications and necessary paperwork.

5) Opportunity Loans (up to $750) cover income gaps, small emergencies, or payoff of predatory payday and auto title loans. Smaller Credibility Loans ($120), paid off over longer periods, to improve the credit standing of participating clients. And a new pilot program offering Housing Opportunity Loan (up to $2,000), paid off in 12- or 24-month terms, allows qualified clients to cover deposit and one-month's rent for moving into affordable housing.

In FY2019, CWC achieved a 13% increase in Empowerment Workshop attendance. One-to-one financial counseling clients rose 53%, credit union account openings 37%, and loan volume 23%.

CWC also increased its nonprofit partnerships from 34 to 51, and gained its first Mecklenburg County grant, opening the likelihood of significantly broader reach. Through these partnerships, and from a growing number of former client referrals, CWC has set the following overall reach goals for FY2020:

• 4,500 clients in Financial Empowerment Workshops
• 1,900 in volunteer-led credit report seminars
• 2,000 advanced counseling hours, including 1,100 one-to-one sessions
• 1,050 previously unbanked clients into checking/savings accounts
• 150 loans; Opportunity Loans at average of $500 to clients with credit scores under 550 (+20%); Credibility Loans at average of $120 to clients with credit scores under 550

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Low-income families in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg region of North Carolina. Specifically, our target population works full-time or full-time equivalent and earns 30-35% of Area Median Income (AMI). Primary populations targeted are African-American and Latinx, although services are available to anyone at no charge to the participant.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    When COVID-19 restrictions limited CWC's ability to conduct its workshops and one-to-one counseling in person, CWC moved to temporary virtual delivery of services. Workshops were tested using both static video presentation and interactive video/Zoom sessions. The second proved more effective than the first. Likewise, one-to-one certified counseling was tested then rolled out in phone and/or Zoom connection. While CWC remains committed to in-person, face-to-face service delivery, clients have reacted favorably to the virtual delivery. Already facing challenges of working around employment scheduling, use of public transportation and childcare, in-person services create further barriers. Going forward, CWC will offer both in-person and virtual delivery in response to this feedback.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

Common Wealth Charlotte
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Common Wealth Charlotte

Board of directors
as of 3/2/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms Cristy Travaglino

LaQuandra Bass

Wells Fargo

Patrick Ryan

Deloitte

Darren Ash

ROC Charlotte

Catherine Etemad

HomeTrust Bank

Reggie Gaither

First Bank (FBNC)

John Heimburger

ARA/Newmark

Anthony Hill

Winthrop University

Andy Jenkins

Credit Karma

Danielle Rogers

Bank of America

Cristy Travaglino

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/02/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/02/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.