On December 13, 2021, clients of Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR) celebrated their graduation from the New Century IDA (Individual Development Account) program. Graduates completed financial education classes to prepare themselves for homeownership or to further develop their small business.
The graduation took place at 5:30 pm in the parking lot of ESR to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. Graduates parked in front of their name, which was printed on a sign. Forsyth County Director of Community and Economic Development Kyle Haney gave remarks on behalf of the County. ESR’s Board Chair Marsha Smith, Executive Director Twana Roebuck, and Director of Programs and Operations Fred Bazemore made remarks and congratulated the graduates on their success. The Quality Education Academy (QEA) band provided entertainment throughout the graduation. Graduates received a certificate of completion.
Participants in the program are on track to either become a first-time homeowner or develop their small business. Graduating clients completed ten months of financial education classes. Simultaneously, they are working with their Success Coach to budget, save, pay down debt, and increase their credit score. Clients are charged with saving $2,000 during the course of the program. Their savings is matched for a downpayment on a home or to go towards their small business.
To date, there have been 43 waves, or classes, of clients to graduate from the program. Wave 43, which just graduated, consisted of 16 clients – 14 are enrolled in the homeownership IDA and 2 are enrolled in small business IDA.
Since the program’s inception in 2000, nearly 700 people have received savings matches to go towards homeownership, education, or micro-enterprise. The total asset value of homes purchased through the program is $78,000,000. All homes are purchased in Forsyth County.
ESR is a non-profit Community Action Agency that aims to empower people to become self-reliant. Programs assist people with affordable housing, free tax preparation, education, financial literacy, homeownership, and more.
For more information on New Century IDA or other programs at ESR, call 336-722-9400 or visit www.eisr.org.