News & Events

Upward to Financial Stability – Raleigh, Greenville, Asheville and Charlotte

Upward to Financial Stability: Join us and the National Disability Institute for a FREE, two-day train-the-trainer event designed to provide practitioners, service professionals and self-advocates an understanding of how individuals with disabilities can become more self-sufficient, less dependent on benefits and build a better financial future that promotes choice and greater community participation.

Raleigh – March 29 and 30
Greenville – March 31 and April 1
Asheville – April 5 and 6
Charlotte – April 7 and 8

To register, visit

Sponsored by the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities

Collaborative’s 2015 #GIVINGTUESDAY Campaign

This year will be the first time that The Collaborative has participated in the #GivingTuesday campaign, a global initiative to support a variety of worthy charitable causes.  Look for  updates about our work on our Facebook page and like us if you haven’t already. You can also follow us on Twitter: @cultureofsavngs

We are out to change financial insecurity in North Carolina and envision a state where everyone has the ability to rise up the economic ladder, with financial education and savings opportunities available in all 100 counties.  We emphasize the importance of assets for all working families, so you can plan for tomorrow, withstand downturns in income or major expenses, and avoid the debt traps of high-cost consumer loans.

We hope that you will help us reach our goal of $5,000 by the end of this year.  Register here to virtually participate in our #GivingTuesday campaign.

Pathways to Prosperity 2015

Carolina 20/20
October 13-14, 2015
Embassy Suites, Cary, NC

With North Carolina’s 20 year history of asset-building, how can we best build financial capability for all over the next 20 years? Join us for our sixth biennial conference. We are offering sessions and training tracks to build financial capability across the lifespan. Register now.

Make your hotel reservations by September 20th to receive the special conference rate.

Questions call or email Donna Gallagher at 919-212-4267.

Making Capitalism Work for All

How public investments and solutions can boost North Carolina’s private economy and reduce poverty

Although the Great Recession officially ended more than five years ago, you would not be able to tell in many communities across our state. Unemployment and poverty are rising in many of our counties, particularly those that are the most economically distressed. In fact, poverty rates in some counties—especially in the northeastern and western parts of the state—have exceeded 25 percent. Difficulties in securing employment make for difficulties in making ends meet each month, and in light of real and continuing challenges, we need to ensure that individuals and families in every community can build the assets necessary to secure their economic futures.

One way to do that is through encouraging entrepreneurship. North Carolina is home to almost 820,000 small businesses. Businesses with less than 100 employees make up almost 96 percent of employer firms in our state. Their impact is significant, and it extends beyond just the business owner. Small businesses create jobs, generate local economic activity, and provide a pathway toward asset and wealth building for business owners and their communities. A thriving small business can provide both an economic anchor for the local economy and long-term financial security for the entrepreneur.

According to the research on financial security examined by the North Carolina Assets Alliance:

  • Households with assets are more likely to weather an economic downturn and are better positioned to provide future generations with a sound foundation and head start in life.
  • Children in households with assets are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, have stronger connections to the workforce and civic life, and enjoy better health outcomes.
  • Communities with assets provide lower-cost goods and services to their residents, opportunities for young people to get ahead in school, and the connections to social capital.

As we learned in the Great Recession, liquid assets readily convertible into the cash necessary to stay ahead of bills and mortgage payments are especially critical to family financial security. Sadly, according to the 2014 CFED Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, 52% of North Carolina residents are “liquid asset poor” — meaning that families do not have sufficient cash to weather three months of expenses at the federal poverty level, in the event all income is lost.

Traditionally, individuals and families are able to grow assets to become financially secure through investments in education, homeownership and small business. Unfortunately, too few small businesses in North Carolina are able to access the resources from traditional sources needed to start up and grow. Beyond capital, entrepreneurs also need technical assistance and training to successfully manage and grow their ventures over the long-term. Financial management, business planning, succession planning, and marketing are all important for business owners who are developing their business acumen.

Fortunately, there are lenders and service providers stepping in to fill the gap. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), for example, are mission-driven lenders, providing flexible loans and technical assistance to entrepreneurs that are not served by traditional financial institutions.

Another method for stimulating business creation and expansion is the promotion of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. Using matched savings, low-income workers can build financial assets through homeownership, education, or starting or expanding a small business. Since 1996, the NC IDA program has provided small business investments for start-up or working capital, the purchase of needed materials, supplies or equipment, and acquisition to land/office space. Business owners in the program are required to complete a business plan and participate in financial education classes in order to receive a match for his own savings toward these investments.

These programs address a growing need, but without broader policy support at the state level, they will be limited in their impact. Indeed, without new funding the NC IDA program will end in 2015. Currently, North Carolina has a state microenterprise rate of 15.8% compared to the national rate of 16.5%. If we were able to achieve Florida’s best-in-the-nation rate of 20.8%, 236,529 more workers would be microenterprise owners.

As many other states have done, North Carolina can make a proactive investment in our state’s entrepreneurs and small businesses to include access to capital, needed technical assistance and training, and state support for individual development accounts.

To be sure, addressing our state’s economic challenges will take a long-term, concerted effort. Entrepreneurship represents a viable pathway for individuals and families to regain a more secure economic footing. While limited services and resources are available, further investment to support our state’s entrepreneurs ultimately benefits our economy as a whole.

Sadaf Knight is the Policy & Research Director at The Support Center. Donna Gallagher is the Executive Director of The Collaborative of North Carolina.

– See more at:

CFED President, Andrea Levere, to Speak at Culture of Savings Luncheon

The Collaborative is excited to announce that Andrea Levere, President of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), will speak at its 2014 “Culture of Savings” luncheon on Wednesday, 15 October at Noon at the Hyatt Raleigh West.


Andrea Levere has led CFED as its President since 2004. Based in Washington, D.C., CFED is a national nonprofit organization with the mission of building assets and expanding economic opportunity for low-income people and disadvantaged communities through matched savings, entrepreneurship and affordable housing. The luncheon will focus on the importance of financial empowerment for individuals and families, in particular low-income households, through programs and policies that enable working families to save and become financially secure. Levere will highlight national asset-building innovations, and ways to get involved at the community level with the asset-building movement.


“It is more difficult than ever for poor families to move up the economic ladder,” says Donna Gallagher, Executive Director of The Collaborative. “The American dream of homeownership, sending your kids to college, and saving for a dignified retirement remains out of reach for thousands of North Carolinians. Andrea Levere is a national leader in expanding economic opportunity and building a more stable financial future. We are delighted that she will be in Raleigh to educate and encourage North Carolinians, as our families continue to struggle financially since the Great Recession.”


The Collaborative’s luncheon is free and open to the public. Community members, partner agencies, educators and policymakers are encouraged to attend. Space is limited so reservations are required.


Interested attendees should visit to register or call 919-212-4267 for more information about the luncheon.

The Collaborative Has Relocated!

We are excited to announce that the Collaborative has relocated!  Our new offices are located in the North Carolina Rural Center at 4021 Carya Dr., Raleigh, NC 27610.  We can now be reached by phone at (919) 212-4267.

The Collaborative Teams up with Visa Inc., The NFL, and NC State Treasure Cowell for Financial Football


     Charlotte, NC – March 11, 2014 – Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and running back DeAngelo Williams joined North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell, The Collaborative and Visa Inc.  to tackle head on the issue of financial literacy improvement among North Carolina teens. They announced a statewide effort to improve the money management skills of high school and middle school students with the rollout of Financial Football, a free educational video game and classroom curriculum developed by Visa Inc. The game is being distributed by the Treasurer’s office to every public middle school and high school in the Tar Heel State.

     This financial literacy campaign kicked off on March 11, 2014 at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte with help from Olsen, Williams, The Collaborative and Visa. Williams, Olsen and Cowell rolled up their sleeves and led teams of students in a hard-fought, high energy game of Financial Football. Earlier Olsen shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with students.

     “Financial Football is a wonderful way to get students interested in personal finances and gives them a financial playbook they can use the rest of their lives,” said North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell. “This is a valuable program and a great partnership between my office, The Collaborative, Visa and the NFL.” 

    “Spending time helping our students increase their financial awareness is time well-spent,” said The Collaborative executive director Donna Gallagher. “With the help of resources like Financial Football, students can have the tools to make the smart financial choices that can impact their lives for the better.” The centerpiece of Visa’s nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, Financial Football helps students and adults tackle their financial futures. The game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum.

    “Kids need to learn to make smart money management decisions early in life,” said Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. “It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance.” Available online at, Financial Football puts students’ fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. Visa has also released the game as a free iPhone app on iTunes, along with an optimized HD iPad version.

Pathways to Prosperity Conference 2013 – another success!

Thank you to all of our presenters and participants for another great conference!  On October 16-17, practitioners, researchers, business and government met in Durham, NC to learn, share and connect on a multitude of asset-building topics, including financial literacy,  housing, savings, federal and state policy, the affordable care act, and much more.   Stayed tuned for 2015.


2013 Pathways to Prosperity Conference (October 16-17)

The registration deadline for the Pathways to Prosperity Conference is October 11.  Visit the event website at for more information.


The Collaborative, in partnership with Fifth Third Bank, will host a $25,000 savings competition at three Historically Black Colleges and Universities  for Financial Literacy Month 2013, during April 8-12.

NC Agricultural and Technical State University (Greensboro, April 9, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.), St. Augustine’s University (Raleigh, April 11, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ), and Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, April 12, 12:00-4:00 p.m.), will compete against one another for the title of Campus Cash Champs in one of two categories: highest dollar amount of savings collectively achieved by students and the greatest number of enrolled NC Savers between April 8 and May 17. Participants will be eligible to win gift cards of $50 and $100 and the winning school will receive $200 donated to a student club selected by The Collaborative. Faculty or staff are also eligible to win in a bonus drawing.