A nonprofit called Enterprise for Equity is coming to the Yelm Community Center for six evening sessions of “Money 101”  from 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays Jan. 15 to Feb. 19.

“This is a class series of financial information modules,” said Lisa Smith, representative of Enterprise for Equity. “Basically, our goal is to help the public and members of our community get the resources they need to get a handle on their financial well being or their financial health.”

She said the program is partnering with City of Yelm because it knows how people can have a tough time making endings meet — situations that could result in someone not being able to pay their utility bill and having their water shut off, for example.

“What we know, is that we don’t normally have a lot of training on how to manage money,” Smith said. “When we don’t know the basic tools, sometimes we get caught up in difficult situations that could have been avoided if we’d known the rules.”

Some of those unspoken rules that Smith spoke about are investing in savings, making sure not to bounce checks by keeping enough money in an account and planning for the financial expenses of the future, like an upcoming vacation. These rules are detailed in depth throughout the six sessions. 

“In one of these sessions we talk about how to increase your income,” Smith said. “People are low income because maybe they haven’t found the right job, or they are a person with disabilities. Maybe they have anxiety or some other issue that prevents them from getting a job. What strategies might they have available to them to increase their income is one part of the module.”

In this module, folks are encouraged to make financial decisions from a place of strength rather than weakness, from skill rather than ignorance, Smith said. 

“We really believe that when people operate from their strengths, they actually can do more in the world,” she said. “What are people good at? What do they love to do? How do they look at opportunities out in the job market to use those gifts and talents to increase their income? One of those is to get a job. Another is one is to job shadow, do internships or apprenticeships.”

So session by session of Money 101, the program will roll out a money management strategy for the people of Yelm. Registration for this class is required. Call 360-704-337 or email office@enterpriseforequity.org to save a seat.

“It’s our first series in Yelm,” Smith said. “In Olympia, we have waiting lists for these classes.”

The organization has been around for 20 years and it has kept a focus on helping people use self-employment to move out of poverty. The free money 101 class is just the tip of that iceberg.

Then, as a result of operating from their strengths, a person just might think that the best way to become financially solvent is to increase income through self-employment. If this is the case, then that individual could consider enrolling in the nonprofit’s business training program. 

“Enterprise for Equity does business-training classes, and we have micro-loans of up to $25,000 for people who complete our program and apply for our micro-loan fund,” Smith said, adding that the program only lends to people who can’t get money elsewhere to start their businesses.

Free information sessions for this business-training course are in Olympia. Once a person attends an information session, they may want to attend a two-day business readiness workshop. If they want to continue, they do some directed industry research. After that, if they want to enroll, they will sign a contract to enter into a 60-hour-comprehensive-business-planning program. 

While Money 101 is free to the public, the business-planning class is not. Visit http://www.enterpriseforequity.org for more information on these two courses.

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