Emergency Match Savings Program

Empowering others with the knowledge and tools to plan for the unexpected

Photo of Nicole Casale
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Written by


  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


  • Woman

Where are you making a difference?

Troy, NY 12180

Focus Areas (required)

  • Development & Prosperity

Date Started

Our Emergency Match Saving Program began 09/01/2017

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)


  • $50k - $100k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)


Facebook URL


1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

We meet with clients on a daily basis from all socio and economic backgrounds. Over and over we see that there is minimal to no savings, which can be very stressful when the unexpected occurs. The idea of having a savings in case of emergencies is great, but getting into the mindset of paying yourself first has been difficult for many of our clients to do. By having a match, clients can stay motivated to save and see how quickly their money can grow.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We are trying to solve individual’s lack of financial capability. Our objective is to give people the education and tools to come up with their own realistic and attainable plan to reach their goals. For this program we are striving to help build people’s emergency funds, with the understanding that the knowledge learned will carry over to all aspects of their lives.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Through this program consumers attend a 2 part financial literacy workshop. Each class runs 2.5 hours and goes over savings, spending plans, trimming expenses, paying down debt, credit, and much more. After this the client will meet one-on-one with a financial coach to review their financial picture. We go over credit, a spending plan, discuss their goals and together come up with the steps on how to achieve them. They then open a new bank account to begin their emergency savings. Each month the client will deposit $50 into the specific account; best practice is to set up automatic payments. They will do this for a minimum of 6 months, and then attend a follow up coaching session where we review their successes and obstacles. The match is then given at the end of the 6 month term.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

One example is of a client who had little to no savings and along with a low credit score due to a few collections and poor credit usage. Their goal was to build both their savings and credit score. After attending the workshops and classes the client came up with S.M.A.R.T goals to build credit, save for an emergency, and pay off collections. At the end of the 6 months they were: - getting closer to paying off their collections - continuing to build their emergency fund - able to open a secured credit card using savings as collateral to build their credit.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

We are serving clients with low to moderate income. There are many in our area that are unbanked and many with unbankable or no credit scores. If someone is approved for a credit card, they are not taught how to use it, and end up getting in over their heads. For those that have not been able to utilize any financial products, after going through our match program many would be able obtain a secured credit card, or loan, using their savings at collateral.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • ability
  • work status
  • language
  • race/ethnicity
  • age - elder
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In our area there are no other programs that offer match savings for emergencies. Some banking institutions offer financial literacy workshops, but we provide both workshops and one-on one coaching. While a person could get financial information online, many do not have access to a computer, or know how to navigate through the different sites.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our project has made a difference thus far by continue to offer financial literacy workshops and coaching. Knowledge is key and is what allows our clients to move forward in reaching their goals. Our current Emergency Match Savings program is serving roughly 55 people as this is what our funding of $25,000 for this pilot program allowed. Our financial literacy workshops reach roughly 200 people each year. Financial Coaching reaches roughly 150 people, who we meet with multiple times throughout the year.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Increase funding through grants and sponsorship continue the program and reach more clients

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Organizational Growth
  • Trainings, Consultation
  • Other

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are financially secure to offer our financial literacy workshops as well as financial coaching and counseling. Our Emergency Savings Program relies on funding from outside sources in order to continue a match. We continue to apply for grants and reach out for sponsorship for this program.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

In our office we have counselors and coaches for pre-purchase, post purchase and clients going through the foreclosure process. Our counselors are full time and go to training's throughout the year. We have one full time and one part time financial coach. As this program evolves the goal is to cross train everyone to be certified as a finical coach.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email
  • Other

If you replied "Other" in the question above, please specify. (optional)

Neighborworks America

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall, would you champion this entry as a excellent example to move forward to the next phase of the challenge and become a semifinalist?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 33.3%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Is this entry IMPACTFUL on financial wellbeing?

Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 66.7%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry SUSTAINABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 33.3%

5. What are some of the HIGHLIGHTS of strengths of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 100%

Clarity of Model - 100%

Clarity of Writing - 50%

Idea Originality - 50%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 50%

Impact measurement - 50%

Impact Potential - 50%

Financial Sustainability - 0%

Team - 50%

Partnerships - 0%

Potential to scale - 50%

6. What are some of the areas for IMPROVEMENT of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 50%

Clarity of Model - 50%

Clarity of Writing - 0%

Idea Originality - 50%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 0%

Impact measurement - 0%

Impact Potential - 50%

Financial Sustainability - 100%

Team - 0%

Partnerships - 50%

Potential to scale - 50%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Niki Wanner

Great program! I believe we've had an opportunity to learn directly from you or a staff member at an NTI! Love the emergency matched savings program for our folks as well! Keep up the good work. -Allison, AHC Greater Baltimore