Capital One: Giving The Future An Edge, One Community Partner At A Time
Helping set one person on the path to financial freedom has an amazing multiplier effect and becomes a gift that really can keep on giving. That s the principle behind Capital One's "Future EdgeSM," a $150 million, five-year initiative that's helping people prepare for 21st-century jobs, enabling entrepreneurs to harness technology to grow their businesses and helping people take control of their finances.
With each dollar contributed and with each hour volunteer, Future Edge helps people access the skills and resources they need in today's workplace and improve their opportunities for better employment.
Through Future Edge, Capital One is focused on giving their most vulnerable neighbors the skills, readiness, education and job preparedness needed to succeed in the new digital economy.
"We support nonprofits that are laser-focused on helping their communities flourish. These are organizations that have a long track record of success, or a new organization that has identified a genuine need and is racing to address it before the gap widens," says Aarón Almada, Community Affairs at Capital One.
Teaching 21st century skills
Research revealed a gap in what is called "middle-skill jobs" that do not require a four-year advanced degree and pay a living wage, but require a digital component. Nearly eight in 10 middle-skill jobs now require a digital literacy component. "The programs we are looking to support serve individuals who lack the skillsets to access these types of jobs," Almada says. To that end, Capital One works with organizations like Year Up®, which helps close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support necessary to reach their full potential. One-hundred percent of Year Up participants who have interned at Capital One are currently employed or enrolled in school full-time.
Supporting small business development
Another key area of focus is helping small business owners and entrepreneurs harness technology to access the skills and resources they need to compete, grow and prosper. After all, when small businesses do well, local and national economies do well—jobs are created and communities are strengthened. For instance, BusinessAdvising.org, a nonprofit business accelerator to which Capital One has provided support, has been able to connect 145 entrepreneurs with business mentors.
Improving financial wellbeing
Financial anxiety is something to which most people can relate. Seventy-two percent of respondents to a 2014 American Psychological Association (APA) survey said they felt stressed about money at some point in the last month. This stress is felt even more in vulnerable communities. To give people more confidence, Capital One supports programs like Junior Achievement® in their pursuit to arm young people with the knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions. In 2015, 63,582 middle and high-school students learned how to balance a budget. "Without some of these organizations, you would see even greater poverty rates or more people feeling insecure about their financial future," Almada says.
At home at the Café
With Americans of all backgrounds feeling increased levels of stress over their personal finance situation, Capital One Cafés—part digital experience, part human connection—have been thoughtfully designed to not only meet the current needs of today's customer but also to do it in a way and in an environment that is encouraging and empowering.
Cafés are welcoming spaces where anyone can recharge his or her financial outlook. The services on offer include tools and services to take care of everyday banking needs; knowledgeable Café Ambassadors and Money Coaches who can discuss money habits, goals and action plans; and creatively designed community areas for events, education and those increasingly rare "in real life" conversations. An essential part of this welcoming space is the inclusion of Capital One's community partners—the people who live and work in the neighborhood.
For instance, the Capital One Café in Boston's Back Bay has hosted Action for Boston Community Development's (ABCD) tax-season sessions for their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for low- to moderate-income individuals and families. "Because of the support of Capital One, we're able to develop an educational opportunity to be able to articulate savings and investment opportunities," says Angelina Camacho, Program Manager, Financial Futures Initiative at Action for Boston Community Development. "Together, there's a very clear focus on social justice in direct response to the economic insecurity that is vastly plaguing a number of residents in our city… People walk into a Café and they understand the mission."
For more information on Capital One's community efforts, visit capitaloneinvestingforgood.com.