Economic and Social Opportunity


Amount of money the average household that uses check-cashers will spend on fees in a lifetime

$230 – $980

Amount of money the average unbanked family spends on check-cashing fees each year


Percentage of Austinites that have incomes below $25,000/year


You will spend 10 times more on an auto title loan versus going to a bank or credit union for a loan

Helping you make the most of every dollar you earn

Credit scores, budgets, debt repayment, tax returns—the confusing world of finance can make your head spin, especially if no one ever taught you how to navigate it. But you work hard for your paycheck; shouldn’t you get to keep every dime you’ve earned?

Our Economic & Social Opportunity program helps families and individuals find the skills, knowledge and community resources they need to overcome tough times and become financially stable.

Economic and Social Opportunity helps families and individuals get the help they need through three core strategies: learning, saving and thriving.


Participant in budget and financial literacy classes


We empower individuals through financial education, financial coaching, and resources. Through opportunities such as ESL (English as Second Language) and financial coaching, individuals can make informed financial decisions based on what they’ve learned.


CommunityTHRIVE provides financial education classes, financial coaching and financial stability community resources for families and individuals, in partnership with the City of Austin Neighborhood Centers.

Classes offer an overview of financial topics including budgets, understanding credit, reducing debt and banking. In addition to in-class education, one-on-one financial coaching offers participants the opportunity to get individualized resources and support to answer their money questions while building skills to navigate financial challenges.

Learn Where You Earn

Learn Where You Earn, launched in 2012, provides financial education classes and coaching for low-income employees in their own workplace. Employees learn how to create and use budgets, manage checking accounts, access their credit score and repair credit, pay off debt and save for the future. Learn Where You Earn also engages employers to care about the financial success of their employees.

ESL Classes

Through a two-generation pilot program sponsored by the Aspen Institute, parents in the Dove Springs neighborhood of Austin received free English as Second Language classes, while their children received high-quality early childhood education at the same time. Through this two-generation approach, the entire family gets the help they need to get on the path to financial stability.


After learning how to budget, manage credit, and pay off debt, families and individuals then have the opportunity to use this information to make positive changes in their behavior.

Saving money is a future-oriented action. Saving for the future not only reduces the negative impact an unexpected emergency can have on a family, such as an illness or natural disaster, but also empowers families to have more choices for the future, such as choosing to buy a home or attend college.

Savings Program

The Savings Program helps low-wage employees save a portion of their paycheck through direct deposit at their employer.

UWATX recently piloted this program with employees at a local preschool. In just over six months, participants saved more than $8,000 collectively.

Tax Assistance

UWATX supports the only federal volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) site in our community. This past tax year, the VITA site helped 20,200 local low- to moderate-income individuals file their taxes.

This tax prep program brought back $32,900,000 to the community. Additionally, more than 450 of these individuals decided to save a portion of their tax return through a savings bond.


In order to create long-lasting and community-wide changes, these individuals and families require the help and support of local agencies, social workers and volunteers. We’re bringing together the entire community to set up a financial environment where families can thrive.

Financial Empowerment Bootcamps

Financial empowerment bootcamps teach social workers and case managers to become more knowledgeable about financial issues, so they can better guide their low-income clients to appropriate resources. As of Fall 2015, 120 social workers and case managers will have received this training.

The Children’s Home Initiative

Through a partnership with Foundation Communities, the Children’s Home Initiative helps 130 families receive stable housing, in addition to financial coaching for the parents.

Bank On Central Texas

Bank On Central Texas is a community initiative led by UWATX to help more people find and sign up for bank accounts, by bringing together financial institutions, service providers, local government agencies and community organizations. View our online resources free for you to use.

The goal of Bank On Central Texas is to give low-income individuals access to free or low-cost bank accounts. By avoiding check cashing fees and high-interest payday loans, families are able to keep more of their hard-earned money.

Ready to change lives?

Every day in Austin, we’re working to ensure each child has access to high-quality education, every family has the tools they need to be financially stable, and health and human services are readily available for all.

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