Financial literacy trainings at La Raza conference

Published: Monday, August 18, 2008

The 2008 National Council of La Raza (NCLR) conference held July 12 to 15 in San Diego provided Consumer Action a unique opportunity to reach community-based organizations from around the country brought together under one roof.

San Diego area consumers also benefited from the presentations provided by Consumer Action (CA) during the Home Clinic event that was designed to help local homeowners who face the prospect of foreclosure. Counselors and pro bono attorneys were on hand to speak with San Diego area families struggling to make their mortgage payments.

Before meeting with counselors, consumers listened to informational presentations. Carbonell and Santiago had the privilege of sharing the stage with personal finance expert Julie Stav, whose work in Spanish language newspapers, radio, and television is highly regarded around the country.

Carbonell and Santiago presented the MoneyWi$e Rebuilding Credit module in English and Spanish, answered questions from the audience, and engaged participants in interactive activities relating to credit repair scams and secured credit cards. Consumers were also able to obtain publications at the Consumer Action resource table during the Home Clinic.

Consumer Action’s Sol Carbonell and Nelson Santiago also held a financial education workshop for NCLR affiliate organizations and other non-profits. Carbonell and Santiago introduced agency staff to Consumer Action’s MoneyWi$e financial literacy materials and described CA’s national training program.

Carbonell kicked off the workshop with a thought provoking discussion on the importance of community asset building, and the role of financial literacy education in protecting and growing assets. Santiago provided details about the components of the MoneyWi$e materials and highlighted some key topics such as basic personal banking services, identity theft and senior fraud.

Carlos Gallinar of La Fe Community Development Corporation (La Fe) also participated as a co-presenter of the workshop. La Fe, an El Paso, Texas affiliate of NCLR, received a MoneyWi$e grant from Consumer Action last fall, to educate its employees and the broader community on good money management skills. Gallinar told the audience the materials and resources provided by Consumer Action have enhanced the agency’s mission of serving residents through a holistic approach.

Gallinar also discussed how the program, launched with Consumer Action/MoneyWi$e funds, has been extremely valuable to growing his agency. After implementing the project, he was able to present the collaboration to other potential funders that allowed him to secure additional funding that had not been previously available to him.

Visits to the conference by presidential candidates Barrack Obama and John McCain help demonstrate the importance of the annual NCLR event. Media vans as well as protestors and rallyers of all persuasions descended upon the convention center en masse on the days of the McCain and Obama speeches. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was also a featured speaker at one of the luncheons, while San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders extended a warm welcome to conference goers at another of the assemblies. This year marked NCLR’s 40th anniversary.

Several of the workshops and town hall meetings during the conference focused on topics relevant to the economic security and financial well being of the Latino community. These included, a home foreclosure town hall sponsored by Freddie Mac, AARP, and Fannie Mae; an innovative financial services workshop by the FDIC; a workshop on wealth building for Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs presented by the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation and First Step Fund, of Kansas City, Missouri; and several workshops related to the Latino workforce and labor market.

As reflected in the conference program, NCLR works to reduce the wealth gap between Latinos and other Americans and strives to increase the level of assets held by the community in the areas of pension coverage, homeownership, retirement security, savings, and access to bank accounts and affordable credit. Consumer Action is proud to have introduced NCLR affiliates to the free, award-winning MoneyWi$e financial literacy materials, all of which can be invaluable to NCLR’s wealth building efforts.

Consumer Action's participation at the NCLR conference was sponsored by MoneyWi$e, a financial literacy partnership of Consumer Action and Capital One. For more information about MoneyWi$e, visit




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