Southern Good Faith Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the Southern Bancorp. Since 1988 it has worked to increase the incomes and assets of low-income and low-skilled residents of rural Arkansas and Mississippi. This region is one of the poorest areas in the United States and grapples with high unemployment and low wages. Combined with low education levels, residents are either unemployed or in dead-end jobs.
Southern Good Faith Fund is working to change this cycle and give people the skills, training and support they need to make better lives for themselves. The organization offers unique and innovative programs that blend asset development, small business development, workforce development and public policy activities.
In the last several years, Southern Good Faith Fund has become an important partner to CFED, collaborating today on two of CFED’s flagship programs: The Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) Policy and Practice Initiative and the Assets and Opportunity Scorecard.
Through SEED—a multi-year national initiative to develop, test and impel matched savings accounts and financial education for children and youth—Southern Good Faith Fund works with a range of community partners in Phillips County, Arkansas to deliver SEED accounts to pre-school students. Partners include early childhood programs, the local public school system, faith- and community-based organizations, and financial institutions. Given the location, persistent poverty provides a challenging test of the efficacy of children’s savings accounts. Southern Good Faith Fund has developed an innovative model for family financial education, where parents and children participate in activities to learn the importance of saving. To further reinforce the habit of savings, kids visit the bank to make deposits into their accounts. (Read featured stories.)
Southern Good Faith Fund has joined CFED for the second time in the roll out of its Assets and Opportunity Scorecard. CFED’s Scorecard presents a comprehensive look at wealth, poverty and the financial security of families in the United States, ranking the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 84 performance and policy measures in the areas of Financial Security, Business Development, Homeownership, Health Care and Education.
Southern Good Faith fund
Southern Good Faith Fund is one of more than a dozen organizations in nine states that are working with CFED as state level advocacy partners for the 2007-2008 Scorecard. As an advocacy partner, Southern Good Faith Fund is working to further achieve policy change by raising public awareness of the importance of asset building in Arkansas. As a 2005 partner, Southern Good Faith Fund used the Scorecard as a framework for their own state-specific report. The Arkansas Assets and Opportunity Scorecard included a proposal for a state-funded savings match to help lower-income families save for college and helped make the case for a pilot savings match program, which became law this year.
For more information on Southern Good Faith Fund and their work to change lives in rural Arkansas and Mississippi, visit www.southerngff.org.