Center for Economic Opportunity awarded $400,000

The West Central Texas Center for Economic Opportunity has been awarded $400,000 to help individuals take steps toward self-sufficiency as part of their Individual Development Account program. Grant monies of $200,000 were received from the Office of Community Services (Assets for Independence Project) and matched by the Dodge Jones Foundation, Dian Graves Owen Foundation, and the Shelton Family Foundation.Community members may take advantage of this new grant by applying for the Individual Development Account program. After completing an application and financial courses, eligible participants open a personal savings account and begin saving $1,000, in order to receive a $4,000 match. These dollars may be used to further education goals, purchase a house or support a small business.“Participants learn about credit, budgeting, financial planning and other skills that will improve their financial stability,” said Jamie Jimenez, West Central Texas Center for Economic Opportunity director. “We are thrilled to receive this money to help local families move towards self-sufficiency.” Since the inception of the Center for Economic Opportunity, 40 community members have purchased homes, 27 individuals have pursued educations and 26 small businesses have been supported with Individual Development Account dollars. Individuals interested in the Individual Development Account program, or other Center for Economic Opportunity services are encouraged to call 672-8980 or visit 1102 N. 3rd Street in Abilene.In addition to the IDA program, the West Central Texas Center for Economic Opportunity, provides student financial aid information, small business support, financial literacy courses, credit counseling and tax preparation services. The Center is part of a Community Initiative led by the United Way of Abilene in partnership with Dodge Jones Foundation to help promote financial stability and independence for area families.