Press Release

Press Release Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants Program Aims to Promote Financial Literacy Among Newcomers

For immediate release:
12/01/2017
  • Marylou Sudders, Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary
  • Mary Truong, Office for Refugees and Immigrants Executive Director

Media Contact

Elissa Snook

photo of Office for Refugees and Immigrant staff members (photo by Lucyus Fevrier)

BostonToday at the State House, the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI) announced the launch of the Financial Literacy for Newcomers Program (FLNP). The program will develop and deliver diverse financial education tools and resources to approximately 1,000 immigrants and refugees over the next three years.

“Our administration is committed to creating opportunities for all of our citizens in every corner of the Commonwealth to drive economic growth and success,” said Governor Baker. “This program, paired with the unique cultures, traditions and perspectives of Massachusetts’ newcomer community, will add meaningful value to our goal to make Massachusetts the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

The program targets the unique obstacles immigrants and refugees often face while striving towards financial stability, including language comprehension, awareness of new financial customs and navigating the complexities of the American banking system. ORI will partner with organizations that serve refugee and immigrant populations to collaboratively implement the program across the state.

“Massachusetts is a global community with 15.5% of our population being foreign born,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Empowering newcomers with the financial knowledge they need to succeed not only greatly benefits these individuals and their families, but the Commonwealth as a whole.”

Participants will undergo a 15 hour course focusing on household budgeting, credit building, debt management and investment opportunities. In addition to this basic personal finance curriculum, supplemental courses will target rental and home buying, car buying and leasing options, tax credits and filing, retirement and insurance plans and an overview of higher education financing. Courses will be delivered collaboratively by a skilled financial professional and interpreter.

The three-year program is funded through a $250,000 donation from the Generation Fund, $25,000 from Eastern Bank and $1,000 from Dunkin’ Donuts to support statewide implementation. A $5,000 donation from People’s United Bank will also enable project implementation in the Central Massachusetts region.

“Providing access to accurate and timely financial information to refugees and immigrants soon after their arrival helps shape their financial future and strengthens our communities as a whole,” said Mary Truong, Executive Director of the Office for Refugees and Immigrants. “With the generous support of our funders, our initiative bridges the gap between the private and public sectors to successfully foster the integration of newcomer populations in Massachusetts.”

ORI’s mission is to promote the full participation of refugees and immigrants as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social, and civic life of Massachusetts. ORI administers programs that provide direct services to approximately 2,400 newcomers annually, hailing from more than 45 countries. Supports are provided through a network of voluntary resettlement agencies, faith-based organizations and ethnic community-based organizations, which have the capacity to serve the culturally and linguistically diverse needs of newcomer populations. Program supports are aimed at improving access to citizenship services, workforce readiness supports, health and other social support services.

For those who would like to donate to the program or interested in learning more may contact Mary Truong at Mary.truong@state.ma.us or call (617)727-7888.

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Media Contact

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 state agencies, in addition to the 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth insurance program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of those we serve. Some of our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

Office for Refugees and Immigrants 

ORI supports services that meet cultural and linguistic needs of refugees and immigrants through a network of service providers in Massachusetts.

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