Since 2003, April has been designated National Financial Capability Month, with the goal of educating consumers about finances and helping them improve their personal and household financial stability.
More than half of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck and experiencing financial crisis because of inadequate savings, too much debt and poor planning. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) coordinates with expert partners to help people acquire the knowledge, skills and motivation they need to build financial security - the cornerstone of prosperous communities, nurturing neighborhoods and strong families.
NIFA's Financial Capability program targets families, youths and financially vulnerable populations with programs to help them meet future financial needs while keeping pace with day-to-day obligations. Recent examples of NIFA-funded financial capability projects include the following.
- The North-South Institute in Davie, Florida, is reducing the decline of Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (BFRs) and expanding new producers in 12 counties through education, outreach, technical assistance, training and access to federal programs by building their capacities and strengthening their skillsets leading towards the development of viable farms. The project targets 40 BFRs consisting of traditionally underserved, veteran, women tenant, and limited-resource farmers and ranchers engaged in specialty crops, small livestock and honeybee enterprises. Participants report being able to stabilize income through cashflow management, market diversification and linkage.
- The University of Minnesota is working to gain in-depth understanding how individuals, families and households are adapting economically during a global pandemic. Researchers are investigating the economic/financial adjustment strategies used to support families, the perception of their financial anxiety, and the perception of their financial distress/financial well-being.
- With a 10-year history of success, Bellingham, Washington’s Northwest Indian College (NWIC) Financial Literacy Program has offered financial education services and products to Native American members. Their work benefits youths, parents and families, NWIC-enrolled students, and K-12 Tribal School students. The program is increasing the number of Native American youths who choose educational pathways that are aligned to their personality and interests and develop reasonable career expectations. Through youth leadership and mentoring activities, the program is also increasing the number of Native American youths who leave high school better prepared for college and/or career training.