FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
“What is The Job Foundation? I’ve never heard of it.”
We are a locally-based non-profit 501 c 3 organization committed to the financial success and independence of all children, especially students whose household income qualifies them for free or reduced lunch in grades K-12. To ensure their success, we utilize a comprehensive approach including the Savings-Linked Conditional Cash Transfer model, financial stewardship education, mentoring, tutoring, and leadership development. You may not have heard of us because are still relatively new. However, we have been working with students for more than 8 years.
“This is wonderful! How can I sign my child or grandchild up?”
Funding is very limited so that we can only take new students every few years. Also, participants must meet certain guidelines: live within the district boundaries of the schools we target, not have any student in the home above the 5th grade (we enroll entire families and want them when they are young), and be on free or reduced lunch at the time of application.
“What’s a Savings…linked….?”
It’s an innovative approach for ensuring economic advancement, and it has been around in some form for 60 plus years. It is starting to catch on in the U.S. You may have heard of Opportunity NYC or leaders like Geoffrey Canada? Well, we use a similar model with kids, but add savings requirements and financial education. Basically, students whose household income qualifies them for free or reduced lunch earn and save money through their academic success. Cash is transferred to participants at the end of each grading period as they complete certain requirements. Our requirements are: financial education, leadership development, savings, academic success, and abstinence from illegal activities. Their earnings are used to help them establish a credit rating in adulthood so they can build financial assets. Two assets they gain access to through their participation is a positive credit rating and significant savings. It's really important they obtain a credit rating strong enough to get a standard auto-loan which will help them avoid “Buy Here/Pay Here” establishments and/or buying a lemon. We are really concerned about their ability to secure reliable transportation because not owning a car has been proven to cause unemployment. Furthermore, if they can own a car (whether through loan or by paying in cash) who knows what other assets they might obtain—a home, mutual funds, and more.
“Where did this idea come from?”
Jennifer Brost, our Founder and President, purposely moved into a run-down, crime ridden apartment building during college. She had a front row seat to the financial disadvantage cycle and its impacts on children. A few years later, while living in Chicago, Jennifer and her husband, Mike, had a stillborn son whom they named Job. Job died on the same morning Jennifer’s father was killed in a car wreck. Her mother died the year before this and her mother-in-law the year before that. She sought to heal herself from these losses by creating something positive--a path to end the financial disadvantage she witnessed years previously in that apartment building. The idea to help children create a savings account so they would have access to reliable transportation and a credit rating, she would later find out, is called a “Savings-linked Conditional Cash Transfer,” and it is heralded around the world as a superior method of combating present and future poverty.
“How will I know when there is an opening? How do you get the word out and select students?”
We use a number of community resources to let our target population know we have openings: we let the targeted schools know; we notify the Community Partnership for Protecting Children. We also let the area churches and community organizations know. Our current participants are also known to help us get the word out as they love the program and want to see others benefit. The community is notified in advance when applications will become available. Providing qualifications are met, who gets in is first come first served. Schools help us identify who to identify as well.