Colin Thor West & Samantha King–Co-PIs. Doctoral Dissertation Research on “Investigating Transitions in Agricultural Livelihoods: Global Change, Response Diversity, and Local Food Production in Dominica.” This project, funded by NSF, investigates how rural households in the Commonwealth of Dominica continue to cultivate sustainable livelihoods from farming amidst complex dynamics of global economic and environmental change.
Kim Manturuk and Jessica Dorrance–Co-PIs. The UNC Center for Community Capital (CCC) will partner with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NTFP) to conduct an evaluation of the PayGoal project. This evaluation will determine whether PayGoal is an effective way to help lower-wage workers transition away from higher-cost financial services such as check cashing. The evaluation will also measure the impacts that PayGoal has on participants’ credit reports, progress towards savings goals, debt levels, and beliefs about money management. The evaluation will use data collected before participants enroll in PayGoal and at several points throughout the project in order to understand how PayGoal fits in people’s overall financial lives.
Mark McDaniel–PI. Bridges2Success (B2S) is an early childhood-to-career research and demonstration collaborative focused on helping males of color achieve academic and life success. Our view is that for minority males, difficulties often begin early in life–perhaps even before birth–and that the structural, organizational, and individual obstacles become ever more daunting as they move progressively through the life course. The project with the Durham Innovation Fund will involve implementation of a comprehensive professional development program, including a series of ongoing, specialized B2S teacher professional development modules to help teachers and schools improve the academic and social outcomes of their male students. The B2S professional development modules are designed to provide teachers with the opportunity to examine in-depth males’ achievement and engagement in their classes, to reflect on their pedagogy and practices for engaging and supporting males’ learning, and to replace ineffective practices with evidence-based practices and enact policies that will result in improved outcomes for males. The professional development modules will contain opportunities for participants to learn about the latest research, to engage their peers in identifying successful practices, to rehearse and role-play alternative strategies and techniques, and to develop patterns of monitoring their own and males’ progress over time.
Jessica Dorrance–PI. The four-city pilot project tests product, incentive, outreach, and support innovations for encouraging regular savings patterns with a goal of building long-term, beneficial banking relationships anchored on savings accounts for under- or poorly-served Latino households. It will also generate important insights about the challenges and opportunities inherent in offering mainstream banking services to and building financial capability of underserved Latino households. Participants in the Effective Money Management/Manejo de Efectivo program meet one-on-one with financial coaches for one year. The coaching focuses on increasing knowledge, improving budgeting skills, using banking services, establishing and maintaining credit, building savings, using insurance, and protecting assets. Counselors work with participants to assess their current financial situation, help tailor a financial action plan to achieve both short- and long-term financial goals, and track progress over a 12-month period. The ultimate goal is to develop a customer acquisition approach that fosters long-term attachment to mainstream financial institutions and products and to make a significant impact on market practices and to inform policy in this arena.