Wichita is one of 10 cities where the Urban League, in partnership with Freddie Mac, will offer classes.

The Wichita Eagle

The Urban League of the MidPlains is offering free financial education classes to help minority families increase wealth.

"We have accommodations, the ability to gather together in peace, but we have not yet accomplished an increase of economic wealth in communities of color," Brian Black, president and chief executive of the Urban League of the MidPlains, said Monday.

A new partnership between Freddie Mac, a financial company that supports home ownership, and the National Urban League is working to increase financial literacy among minorities.

The two organizations, through an $800,000 initiative, have selected Wichita as one of 10 cities where classes using Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart curriculum will educate people on financial literacy.

"Getting persons within Kansas information about credit and how it can drive home ownership," is one goal of the program, said Reggie Brandveen, with Freddie Mac.

The curriculum, which also is available in Spanish, covers topics such as understanding the importance of credit, managing money, goal setting and increasing awareness about bank practices. The CreditSmart workshops, which are still being scheduled, will generally last between two and four hours.

The Urban League of the MidPlains, based in Wichita, will receive $20,000 over 12 months to conduct the free classes.

Registration is ongoing and open to people of all races.

Black said the league hopes to serve 500 people during the next 12 months.

Melva Peoples of Wichita went through the classes and said among the valuable things she learned was "the reality that a credit report gives an impression of my character."

Peoples said she learned how to read and understand her report. She learned how to arrange payment plans to improve her credit.

Now she said she will volunteer with the program to help others.

"We want to enable those striving toward the economic mainstream to achieve economic self-reliance and enjoy their rights as equal citizens under the law," said Naaman Ritchie, vice chairman of the local Urban League’s board.

Nataki Goodall, with the National Urban League, said Wichita was chosen because the community already placed a strong emphasis on economic development.

Thirteenother local organizations will incorporate the curriculum into their programs. The organizations include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Intrust Bank, Capital Federal Savings, St. Mark United Methodist Church, SER Corp. and the Sedgwick County Housing Department.

Should the programs in the 10 cities prove successful, Goodall said, the initiative will expand nationwide.



The Urban League of the MidPlains and 13 local organizations are offering credit education classes sponsored by the National Urban League and Freddie Mac.

To register for the free classes, which are offered in English and Spanish, call Randy Phelps or Julie Taborsky with the Urban League of the MidPlains, 262-2463.

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