National Service Blog

  • Posted on Feb 9, 2015

    Most low-income families face a litany of financial and employment challenges, which is why Social Innovation Fund (SIF) intermediary the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is expanding its comprehensive Financial Opportunity Centers and using data to inform these expansion efforts.

    These 75 centers nationwide represent both a workforce-development and asset-building programming model with services such as job readiness, employment training, financial coaching and help in accessing public benefits.

    Through these services, participants can boost monthly net income and obtain critical supports such as health insurance and utility assistance that improve family well-being.

    “Low-income, low-wage jobs are not enough to sustain a family,” said Seung Kim, LISC program director for family income and wealth building. “Our strategy is to empower individuals and families through an intentional, integrated services approach.”

    These integrated services, or “bundled services,” aim to provide individuals with employment counseling, financial coaching, and access to income supports to help boost steady income, reduce expenses, and build credit and wealth. It is a value-added approach that includes a major emphasis on data and evaluation. For example, one key research question is whether participants receiving multiple services show stronger outcomes than those participating in only one or two activities.

    “The data really drive how we understand the program,” Kim said.

    For example, job placement rates are higher for those with greater involvement. Individuals with only basic employment services have a 26 percent...

  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off United We Serve by joining forces with California’s First Lady Maria Shriver, CaliforniaVolunteers, KaBOOM! and community volunteers to build a playground at Bret Harte Elementary School in San Francisco.
  • Posted on Jul 14, 2009
    To kick off United We Serve, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan joined the St. Bernard Project and other local New Orleans organizations to rebuild two homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The Secretary volunteered alongside his wife and two sons, helping to finish sheetrock installation, float drywall and plant a garden.
  • Posted on Jul 13, 2009
    In 85 years of life, one would expect to have many fond memories to reflect upon. But nothing was as joyful as the day New Jersey resident Eugenia Kawczak reunited with her beloved and missing siblings with the help of the Red Cross. Passing time before her sister’s plane lands in the Ukraine, Melania Babenko turns the fragile pages of a pre-war photograph album as her brother Arkadiy looks on. Forcedly separated during World War II, Melania has not seen her sister Eugenia Kawczak, who now lives in New Jersey, in more than 66 years.

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