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Updates from the Louisville Alliance for Development through Diversity, Empowerment, and Resources (LADDER)

September 27, 2017

The LEAD Center continues to support the expanding work of the Louisville Alliance for Development through Diversity, Empowerment, and Resources (LADDER), led by Louisville Metro Government's Office of Resilience and Community Services. LADDER is a collaborative of community-based organizations, workforce services, and financial institutions, designed to identify opportunities for universally designed services and supports that advance financial capability related to employment goals, and to improve positive financial behavior for individuals with disabilities, particularly those who use the public workforce system. With a mission to "create a community-wide culture of financial inclusiveness and accessibility that serves the diverse Louisville metro population, LADDER offers a range of financial capability resources for both service providers and the individuals they serve."

Recently, LADDER alliance members from the Office of Resilience and Community Services, Center for Accessible Living, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, and the KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) launched a new matched savings and loan program pilot for Louisvillians with disabilities. Seventeen participants have enrolled in the matched savings and/or loan program and completed a financial health assessment, which they used to set their own savings goals. Each participant has the option to receive guidance from a financial coach, is matched with one of four peer mentors, and receives a subscription to LifeCents (an online personal financial education program designed to understand and improve financial health and well-being). As participants move through the program, they improve their own savings habits and make more informed decisions about their finances.

In addition to the new pilot, the LADDER Alliance continues to expand the reach of their financial empowerment curriculum and tools. LADDER is a member of the Financial Integration Team (FIT), a community of practice of organizations around the nation that share common goals and practices, individual experiences, innovative ideas, and experiential knowledge on integrated economic advancement services to support people with disabilities.

Staff at the LEAD Center would like to acknowledge the leadership and accomplishments of one of the key partners in the LEAD Center’s effort to improve employment and economic advancement opportunities for all people with disabilities. Since 1998, Tina Lentz served Louisville Metro Government's Office of Resilience and Community Services. She recently retired from her position as Executive Administrator of the Office of Financial Empowerment. Ms. Lentz has extensive experience in creating and leading financial empowerment initiatives, including LADDER, in an effort to transform the social service delivery system in order to increase opportunities for financial advancement for families at risk. LADDER was created from her vision and ability to bring people together around its common goals. Countless people have benefitted and will continue to benefit from Ms. Lentz’s contributions.

For more information on the LADDER initiative, visit the LouisvilleKy.gov website.