Skip to main content

Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Local Response Initiative Announces New Investment in Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

$5.4 million contribution will ensure additional low-income households in nearly 50 cities across the U.S. have continued access to financial counseling services amid pandemic and beyond

NEW YORK, NY – Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today its commitment to continue support for the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), a national nonprofit organization that partners with local governments to deliver financial empowerment services for low- and moderate-income families. The CFE Fund provides funding and technical assistance to mayors and their teams to develop, launch, replicate, and test financial empowerment strategies and embed them into the local government infrastructure. As millions of Americans face economic stress due to COVID-19, the CFE Fund’s financial planning support is more needed than ever before and Bloomberg Philanthropies $5.4 million contribution will allow the program to continue in 18 cities and expand to an additional 31 cities.

Established by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in New York City in 2008, the CFE Fund’s flagship Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) initiative helps low- and moderate-income families manage their finances by offering professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service, which includes developing strategies to pay down debt, increase savings, and establish and build credit. After nearly a decade of leadership, this new investment by Bloomberg Philanthropies will, in partnership with other funders, expand support in as many as 18 of the cities and counties that currently partner with the CFE Fund to offer FEC services. It will also enable the Fund to work with as many as 31 new cities, including those that are participating in Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Local Response Initiative, through a new, lighter-touch virtual offering called Financial Navigators.

“The pandemic and resulting economic crises have hit low- and middle-income households, contingent and undocumented workers, and many others very hard,” said James Anderson, Head of Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We are very pleased to help the CFE Fund expand its high quality and impactful financial empowerment services to reach many more people in more cities.”

In addition to supporting as many as 31 new cities through the Financial Navigators program this new investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies will:

  • Help the Fund upgrade its national infrastructure to include remote FEC financial counseling and invest in additional financial counseling content development and training in light of COVID-19
  • Support hiring and virtually training additional FEC counselors and provide additional remote training on new topics related to the pandemic
  • Allow for the Fund to document its work and share best practices through a virtual meeting platform and resource guide

With Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support to date, the FEC initiative has helped over 108,000 clients reduce $150 million in debt and build over $23 million in savings nationwide.

“As residents across the country are navigating the financial impact of this crisis, the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies will allow mayors and their teams to provide critical financial counseling and navigation services to low- and moderate-income households during an unprecedented time of need,” said Jonathan Mintz, Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the CFE Fund. “We have seen just how valuable financial empowerment services are for families as they try to reduce debt and build savings to build stronger financial futures.”

Financial Empowerment Centers are currently located in: Akron, OH; Aurora, IL; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Greenville County, SC; Houston, TX; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; New Haven, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Polk County, IA; Rochester, NY; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; Shelby County, TN; Shreveport, LA; and Syracuse, NY. Two additional centers will open in Baltimore, MD; and Roanoke, VA by July. The Fund will competitively select the 31 new cities who will participate in the Financial Navigators initiative.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTubeTwitter and TikTok.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting-edge experience with large-scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in over 80 cities, and has disbursed over $42 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.