United Way of Summit & Medina is now providing financial empowerment services to Medina County residents. Located in the organization’s Medina office at 23 Public Square, Suite L-1, the Medina Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), a satellite office of the Akron Financial Empowerment Center, offers free financial coaching and other services to help area residents achieve financial stability.
Those interested in setting up an appointment should call 211 or visit uwsummitmedina.org/fec. Appointments are available in person or over the phone.
According to a report commissioned by United Way, in 2018, 26 percent of Medina County households struggled to afford the state’s basic cost of living. These residents face persistent barriers to stability – such as lack of access to transportation, affordable housing or food. Last year, United Way of Summit & Medina announced its Bold Goal for Medina County: to financially empower 2,500 residents. This Bold Goal will guide United Way’s impact efforts across the county through 2028.
By providing free ongoing financial coaching, and other services such as free tax preparation assistance, the Medina FEC aims to put residents on the road to financial empowerment. Financial coaching helps clients budget, save, reduce debt, establish safe and affordable banking services and increase their credit scores.
The opening of the Medina FEC is possible because of work done by United Way of Summit & Medina in partnership with the City of Akron. In 2018, the City of Akron opened its Financial Empowerment Center, the first of its kind in Ohio at the time. Since its inception, United Way of Summit & Medina has been the service provider for the Akron FEC, which has now helped put more than 3,000 residents on the path to financial empowerment. Due to its continued success, United Way of Summit & Medina is now expanding to a satellite FEC office in Medina.
Financial support for the Medina FEC was provided by Westfield Insurance Foundation and the Medina County Board of Commissioners.
“There’s a lot we can’t control; financial empowerment is something we can – with intentionality,” said Jani Groza, Corporate Responsibility and Diversity Officer at Westfield. “That’s why Westfield invested in bringing the FEC to the community where Westfield has been protecting our customers’ financial stability for 175 years.”
“We believe the decision to fund a financial coach for the Medina County FEC is an investment in our residents, families, and community,” said Colleen Swedyk, president of the Medina County Board of Commissioners. “The coach will advise clients about managing bills, developing healthy money management habits, and creating a budgetary plan leading to long-term financial stability at a convenient location in Medina Public Square.”
The national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, which partnered with the City of Akron and United Way to establish the FEC in Akron through funding and implementation support, will provide training and software for the full-time certified financial coach in Medina. Though the Medina FEC coach will be located at United Way’s offices on Medina’s Public Square, partnerships with other local organizations will bring her to locations throughout the county.
The City of Medina has also been fully supportive of the expansion of services to residents of Medina County.
“The City of Medina is proud to partner with United Way of Summit & Medina to provide financial empowerment coaching to our constituents,” said Mayor Dennis Hanwell of the City of Medina. “This program will assist our residents in financial management, debt reduction and help create more financial stability in our community. We are thankful and appreciative of these free services provided by United Way of Summit & Medina.”
“Lasting economic success in our community is only possible if we build it from the ground up, by helping the thousands of residents that today are struggling to find financial stability,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. “Too many Medina County households are just one surprise bill away from financial ruin. Our Medina Financial Empowerment Center will connect those residents to the tools and resources they need to weather an emergency, grow their savings and invest in their futures.”