SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (Nov. 11, 2022) – To help service members navigate the financial strain that can come with the commitment to serving in the military, nonprofit Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) has partnered with leading information services company Experian for financial literacy and credit education support. The partnership will bolster STEP’s Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) program, a financial behavior intervention which melds five social work modalities and a change management process that helps young military members move from a financial crisis toward a lifetime of financial self-sufficiency.
Military service members and their families represent a cross-section of America, where 150,000 18–24-year-olds join the military each year. Recruits come from all classes, demographics, identities, and population segments, representing a rainbow of diversity from their ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, marital status, education, and expertise, and beyond. A vast majority of the service population qualifies as having low to moderate income for the area in which they live, and their diversity reflects many underserved populations. Additionally, 52% of the military, at a minimum, earn a low-income wage per Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards. STEP serves all E1-E6 military and veteran families in crisis requesting support, regardless of any identification.
“We created STEP to support young military families during times of financial crisis, but more importantly, to make it their last crisis. Bringing awareness of our program to the transient military population has been a much larger challenge than we expected. We’re thrilled our partnership with Experian will help us bring financial self-sufficiency to more of our families,” said Tony Teravainen, STEP chief executive officer and co-founder.
Experian’s Military, Veterans and Patriots (MVP) employee resource group has supported STEP since 2019 by coordinating baby supply drives and volunteering in its San Diego warehouse.
“I’m a proud military Mom and I know firsthand the sacrifices our armed forces members and families make to protect our country. I’m excited that Experian can support this community by helping our enlisted members as they begin their military service so they can support their loved ones while serving, and after, their active duty. We want to see the women and men serving our country feel more empowered when it comes to their financial health, whether it be staying on top of their finances, learning how to pay off debt, budget or save,” said Abigail Lovell, global chief sustainability officer for Experian.
Experian’s mission is financial inclusion and empowerment for all. Its commitment to the military community includes resources and its weekly Twitter #Creditchat addresses topics such as Financial Tips for Military Families. The partnership with STEP is part of Experian’s United for Financial Health initiative, which aims to empower and protect consumers to improve their financial health through education and action.
Over the past ten years, STEP has managed 6,400 families through its program, where 90% of program graduates become financially self-sufficient. The program utilizes social workers who have experienced military life and are certified financial counselors, who help families get their arms around their unique financial situations, requirements, debts, and goals. Client families receive education, empowerment, mentoring, and advocacy as they create their own budgets, goals and plans. STEP has also issued $2.2 million in financial grants to approximately 50% of its families to restore or retain basic necessities; 94% have not needed additional grant funding.
About Support The Enlisted Project (STEP)
Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit assisting active-duty enlisted members and recently discharged veterans and their families facing financial crisis achieve long-term financial self-sufficiency through counseling, education and grants. STEP has been serving the military community for 10 years and has offices in San Diego and Orange County, CA, as well as in Tacoma Washington. Further information can be found at TeamSTEPusa.org and @TeamSTEPusa on social media platforms.
Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
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