Financial Capability Center
The mission of the Financial Capability Center is to provide students with experiential service learning opportunities, advance financial inclusion and capability in the local community, facilitate research initiatives and collaborations, and promote healthier financial behaviors.
The Financial Capability Center works to provide financial education, counseling, and coaching to the local community by combining Merrimack’s determination to provide an innovative educational experience to our students with Merrimack’s service values through experiential service learning opportunities.
To our Students:
Students who enroll in the four-credit Financial Capabilities course are instructed and educated on how to become successful financial coaches to clients of local nonprofits. The students develop a wide range of skills through faculty-led workshops where they learn financial management skills along with financial coaching techniques. Students also gain real-world experience as they are matched with local clients to offer financial capability coaching in the community. They provide one-on-one coaching sessions to support their clients in establishing and achieving self-selected financial goals. Students are supported in their coaching experience by Girard School of Business faculty mentors, trained to deliver financial capability services to low-income households, and by staff from our non-profit partners in Lawrence.
To our Community:
The Center works to promote healthier financial behaviors to Merrimack students and the local community through workshops led by staff and coaches, as well as one-on-one coaching. Clients of local non-profits are empowered and supported to be educated on the financial skills necessary to reach self-chosen goals. Coaches are also available at weekly drop-in clinics on campus where they offer peer-to-peer coaching to Merrimack students, and at the Hands to Help center in Lawrence, where they serve local residents.
To effectively deliver its services in the community, the Center has partnered with ACT Lawrence, a non-profit community development corporation dedicated to financial empowerment, with Hands to Help, a community outreach partnership between Merrimack College and the St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence, and with the Lawrence Public Schools.
News and Events
People’s United Community Foundation of Eastern Massachusetts, the charitable giving arm of People’s United Bank of MA, made the donation.
Students and clients participate in the graduation ceremony for the financial coaching program.
The partnership between the Financial Capability Center and ACT Lawrence succeeded in bringing together 8 student coaches and 14 clients for the first-ever graduation ceremony.
“Many people want to be financially secure but they just don’t know where to start….and that’s what we’re here for, to help them learn how to make a budget or plan out their weekly expenses so they can gain some financial security.” - Paul Sullivan, ’17
When microfinance lender, Capital Good Fund, wanted help in marketing its services, it turned to Associate Professor of Marketing Joe Stasio to hold focus groups and develop a marketing plan.
Building on her interest in financial inclusion, Assistant Professor of Finance Ana Silva is developing the Financial Capability Center at Merrimack College, to serve the local community and provide students an experiential learning opportunity.