Here at NerdWallet, we feel like it’s time to honor the personal finance nerds who put their talents to helping the economically disadvantaged. These are our picks for notable nonprofits working to combat economic injustice, whether by advocating for LGBT rights, by promoting educational outcomes, by increasing homeownership or by providing new, thoughtful research that will advise policy for years to come.
PUEBLO: For building the leaders who build communities
Based in Santa Barbara, CA, the People United for Economic Justice Building Leadership Through Organizing (PUEBLO) is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering low-income families in their area through education, but more importantly through organizing strong community leadership. This allows them to rally effective support to pass local ordinances for wage raises and rent protection, communicate with elected officials and law enforcement, and generate higher voter turnouts. NerdWallet loves the education and community organization efforts of PUEBLO to help these families with their personal finance.
Center for Economic and Social Justice: For finding the answers
The Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) is unique in that it promotes economic justice through a larger ideology of economic empowerment to all. Primarily an educational and research organization, the CESJ has developed an economic plan called the Capital Homestead Act and a management plan called Justice-Based Management as their models for creating economic and social justice. They hope to achieve success by expanding areas of capital ownership and employee stock ownership within companies. The CESJ even describes their encompassing ideology as the “Just Third Way.” These political economy nerds are on a serious mission for justice.
Queers for Economic Justice: For dedication to an often-overlooked group
Queers for Economic Justice is one of the few organizations that fights for economic justice for marginalized individuals with diverse sexual and gender identities. As a nonprofit, they are committed to prioritizing the needs of the poor and promote awareness and education of LGBT issues and individuals who might be further economically disadvantaged because of them. Their education and advocacy programs are directed at institutions that receive federal funding, such as housing, hospitals, prisons, courts, and the distributing of public benefits as well. These guys fight for the very underrepresented, and do so with grassroots organizing, but also with nerd-like research and legal action. NerdWallet has also recently released a tool for providing personal finance help for same-sex couples, as well as a list of great LGBT scholarships for individuals looking to return to school. NerdWallet proudly supports the Queers for Economic Justice.
Center for Economic Justice: For making personal finance available to all
The Center for Economic Justice (CEJ) is a dedicated nonprofit that combats economic injustice by advocating for personal finance services to be more available to low-income and minority consumers. They work to make necessities like auto insurance, credit cards, and utilities to have more affordable rates and thus be available to low-income individuals who might otherwise be priced out. The CEJ advocates with high power attorneys and economist nerds to be an effective supporter and voice for these low-income and minority consumers.
Center for Economic Progress: For providing security now and roadmaps for the future
Founded in 1990, the Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps financially unstable low-income families. They provide free tax help for families making under $50,000 and individuals making less than $25,000 salaries. The CEP also provides financial education for these families to help take control of their personal finance issues and avoid predatory practices by exploitative financial institutions (think high rates and bank fees). They even help low-income families plan and save for college educations. These guys really go the extra mile to help economically disadvantaged families become financially stable.
Connecticut Center for a New Economy: For tireless dedication to working families
The Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE) targets its efforts towards working families in the urban centers of Connecticut. Working to raise wages, provide affordable housing, and to help improve public education is at the forefront of the CCNE’s mission. They advocate for responsible urban development and use their talents to help draft and initiate public policy. The nonprofit also leads powerful movements such as the Grassroots Community Agenda and the Community Voter Project to strengthen Connecticut’s economic future.
The Economic Progress Institute: Data, civic participation and stability – what’s not to love?
Founded in 1999 and formerly known as the Poverty Institute, the Economic Progress Institute works hard to advocate not just for low-income families but also for modest-income families as well who are quickly becoming similarly disadvantaged. This nonprofit conducts research and raises awareness about economic security, affordable healthcare, and state budgets. These nerds aren’t just getting the important data. They have also helped to found the Rhode Island Workforce Alliance and helped push through legislation to close tax loop-holes and establish reporting requirements on state economic incentives.