Financial Wellness Partnership Update
July 2022
In this month's newsletter, find notes about our last network meeting on voter outreach, IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) strategies for financial coaching/ education, savings data from our public policy group, FEMA funeral assistance, and more.
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona's Financial Wellness Partnership envisions a community where every person and family is financially well - specifically, they can:

  • Cover the cost of their basic needs

  • Save for emergencies

  • Make informed choices for themselves and their families with financial skills

  • Pursue wealth-building opportunities

  • Participate in civic and community resource decisions
For all of these areas, financial wellness requires equitable access, awareness, and the capability to use resources related to income, employment, housing, benefits, budgeting, credit, and more. 
Meeting and Project Updates
Network Meeting - June 2022
Our June Financial Wellness Partnership Network meeting focused on resource decisions - specifically, voter mobilization and education. Voting is one way to impact larger systems change related to financial wellness, but in the 2020 election, the turnout rate among Arizona voters making over $50,000 was 20 points higher than those making less. Additionally, Arizona BIPOC voters had lower turnout rates than white voters.
Ginny Simontacchi and Dorian Dodson from the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson shared important updates for the upcoming election season, including information regarding redistricting, Vote Centers, and the Active Early Voter List. They provided a variety of resources for voter registration and education, and offered to connect with organizations individually about hosting an event. We also heard from Malika Ghafour, De Andre Onyi, and Caroline Lewis of Pima Youth Vote. Their Opportunity Youth voter mobilization efforts helped register over 500 new voters and secure 5,000 voter pledges in 2020, and they plan to build on this success in 2022.
  • Interested in League volunteers working with your group on a training or voter registration drive? Email for more information.

  • Want to learn more about efforts to mobilize Opportunity Youth for the 2022 election? Email Malika ( for more information.

  • Save the Date! Our next Financial Wellness Partnership meeting will be held on Thursday, August 18th, 1-2:30pm. We plan to talk about our eviction prevention continuum mapping project and at what moment financial wellness support may be most impactful, and to hear from the Singleton Foundation about their financial wellness products and work with local partners.

Network meetings are designed to build awareness, trust, and capacity among local partners offering financial wellness resources. All interested individuals are welcome to join! Email Lisa Floran ( to receive the link.
Public Policy Team Updates
In June, the Public Policy team continued their exploration of savings by examining available data from six sources about the savings experiences of LMI and BIPOC populations. The following were identified as a key takeaways:

  • Emergency Savings: More than half (58.3%) of LMI Arizonans do not have enough savings to cover three months of expenses. Locally, 1 in 5 Southern AZ VITA users say they would not be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense.
  • Education and Retirement Savings: Only about 1/3 of low-income Arizonans have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account, and less than 1/4 have calculated their retirement needs. Only 1 in 7 low-income Arizonans with children are currently saving for future education costs.
  • Growing Cost Burdens: National groups estimate that inflation is costing the average family $311 in additional expenses each month. This is on top of the fact that more than half of Arizona households (55.3%) reported difficulty paying their bills every month before the pandemic.
  • Savings Behavior: Few low-income individuals engaged in local programs are actively saving right now. For example, 25.7% of VITA participants reported actively saving in the past year.

With basic needs costs such as rents continuing to rise, we expect that the number of LMI people unable to save will only grow - meaning that expenses like car repairs will send families into crisis and long-term wealth-building opportunities, such as higher education and homeownership, will be dramatically compromised. At their next meeting in July, the public policy group will be examining promising policy solutions that have made savings more accessible for LMI and BIPOC populations in other communities.
Articles and action opportunities flagged by the public policy group this month:

  • The Emergency Savings Act of 2022: Several federal bills related to savings introduced over the past year have now been combined into one piece of legislation with strong bi-partisan support - learn more in this overview from Yahoo Finance/Prosperity Now.
  • Increasing federal VITA funding: The House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee released their draft 2023 funding bill last week calling for VITA funding at $35 million - an impressive $5 million increase over last year. Increasing VITA funding would help sites hire more staff to coordinate the program, increase their capacity to recruit more volunteers, and add new locations in historically excluded low-income communities of color.  
  • Strengthening the IRS: By allocating $80 billion to the IRS over the next ten years, the agency can increase its workforce, improve customer service, upgrade its technology, strengthen its enforcement power - thereby fostering racial and gender equity.

The Public Policy group will next meet on Tuesday 7/26 at 1:30pm - Contact Alex Casper ( to receive the link, notes, and meeting agendas.
Financial Education and Coaching Team Updates
At their June meeting, the Financial Coaching and Education (financial skills) group focused on IDEA (inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible) strategies for financial coaching and education programs. United Way staff opened with a brief presentation about the limitations of financial coaching, given our country's past and present policies that exacerbate racial wealth disparities. The group then discussed the 5 Core Components of Financial Coaching With a Racial Equity Lens in breakout rooms before reconvening to reflect on questions, resources, and opportunities for each component. A few ideas and questions that will guide our ongoing work:
  1. Adapt programs to address systemic racism. Where can we find more Spanish-language financial wellness resources?
  2. Acknowledge and account for historical harms. How can we train volunteers and program staff about the impact of segregation, racism, etc. on financial wellness?
  3. Build trust. How can trust in our programs help support trust in institutions, products, and services?
  4. Engage in self-reflection and training. How can we educate others, particularly funders, about the limitations of financial coaching/education, given the policy landscape and entrenched, ongoing inequities?
  5. Gather data. How can we address intersectional identities through and with our demographic data?
To learn more about the group's IDEA work or receive the presentation slides, email Lisa Floran (

The Financial Education and Coaching group will next meet on Thursday 7/21 at 1pm - Email Alex Casper ( to receive the link, notes, and meeting agendas.
Resource: FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
To help ease the financial stress caused by the virus, FEMA is helping pay for COVID-19- related funeral expenses. Individuals can receive up to $9,000 through FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance. More than $2 billion in funds have already been awarded, with an average award of $6,500. Eligible expenses include funeral services, cremation, burial, casket or urn, marker or headstone, clergy or officiant services, and more. U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens may apply for this assistance if they paid for a COVID-19 funeral on or after January 20, 2020. 
To start an application, individuals must first call the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline: 844-684-6333. Multiple languages are available. The phone line is open Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm E.T.

Learn more about the program - FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance overview, requirements, FAQs

Note that a death certificate copy is needed to complete the application process. Learn more about obtaining a Pima County death certificate here - Pima County Vital Records
Resource Corner
Woman peeks over a book in a library surrounded by books
Financial Wellness Resources for Southern Arizona
United Way Tucson Financial Wellness Resource List: Find programmatic and 1:1 opportunities for financial coaching/education, tax assistance, workforce development, and more on this list developed by United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ partners. If you are involved with a program, service, or other resource supporting financial wellness in Southern Arizona, we would love to add you to the list.

Want to add or update your program's entry? Use this form.

United Way Tucson Financial Wellness Volunteer Opportunities: Want to lend your time as a volunteer with a financial wellness program? See our list of opportunities to volunteer as a financial mentor, workshop facilitator, ESL teacher, and more.
Video Content from Million Stories Media
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has teamed up with the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship to share valuable content focused on financial wellness. Million Stories, a project of the Singleton Foundation, is on a mission to make community members more financially competent. This month's featured video comes from the Your Brain on Money series, in which experts in neuroscience and behavioral finance explain the biology and psychology behind how we think about money. In The Secret Science Behind Saving Money for Retirement, neuroscientist Alex Korb discusses the constant battle between the thinking, habit, and reward centers of our brain and how that impacts our financial decisions, specifically when it comes to saving for retirement. This video would be a great addition to a financial education or coaching program focused on behavioral changes.

Reading List
Other Opportunities
Project Submissions Open - United Way Days of Caring 2022: The 23rd Annual Days of Caring will be October 21st & 22nd. Local agencies can submit volunteer projects through 8/5/22.

Course Offering - Justice Movement | Allyship in Ownership: Justice Movement presents a 4-week course dedicated to discussing what it means to own property and collect rent in an ethical and equitable way. Register at the link above.

Professional Development - Nonprofit Leadership & Management: The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona partnered with The University of Arizona’s Eller Executive Education to provide nonprofit leadership and management training to local nonprofit professionals. Registration for this session closes 7/22/22.

Job Opportunities - United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona: United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is seeking a Senior Program Manager and a Project Manager for the VITA program.

Professional Development: Viable Insights recently shared a strategic planning and continuous quality improvement resource that they have made free for our partners – you can access it here via the coupon code FWP21.
Additional Information

What Tenants Need to Know During COVID-19 – Robust list including rental assistance, eviction protection/moratorium, and legal assistance resources compiled by Pima County.

Eviction Prevention Resources - The Tucson Pima EPP portal for rental and utility assistance is still open, working with a network of nonprofits to distribute relief funds from the City of Tucson and Pima County. Tenants are encouraged to sign up for the waitlist in order to be considered.
  • Utility Assistance: The page linked here, found via, is a great central resource for different utility relief programs, including those from TEP, Southwest Gas, and other local providers.

Free Tax Assistance: United Way of Tucson's VITA program continues to operate (though at reduced capacity) throughout the summer. If you or someone you know still needs to file, visit the VITA webpage to learn more about using GetYourRefund's online filing or setting up a Valet VITA intake appointment. This tool from TPCH can help individuals and families check their eligibility for homelessness prevention funds, which may be available in certain situations - such as when a family is paying to stay at a hotel but running out of funds, or being forced to leave a housing situation where they are doubled up.

Arizona Homeowner Assistance Fund: The HAF program provides help for homeowners who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 after January 21st, 2020. Homeowners can use HAF funds for the purpose of preventing the following: homeowner mortgage delinquencies, homeowner mortgage defaults, homeowner mortgage foreclosures, homeowner loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship.

Health Benefits: AHCCCS is taking steps to ensure that all eligible Arizonans can stay covered as the federal government ends the national public health emergency. Visit the AHCCCS page to check steps that can ensure members do not experience gaps in coverage.

SingleCare Affordable Prescriptions: United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona partners with SingleCare to provide community members with access to affordable prescription medications. The SingleCare prescription savings card is always free to use by everyone and has no registration or eligibility requirements - it can be used right away. Once signed up, a member just needs to show the savings card to their pharmacist when they fill a prescription at a participating pharmacy. The discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)- The ACP is an FCC benefit (formerly Emergency Broadband Benefit) that helps ensure households can afford the broadband they require for work, healthcare and to stay connected. The ACP provides eligible low-income households a credit up to $30 a month toward the cost of Internet service ($75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). Participants in the program can apply the ACP credit toward the cost of participating plans from a variety of Internet service providers, as well as mobile services.

  • Locally, Comcast is one participating provider. Households that choose plans that cost $30/month or less will essentially receive their service for free - learn more about Comcast's program here

Pima County Housing Search - Searchable database of affordable rental housing, supported by Pima County

AZ Eviction Help - Information about eviction processes, tenant rights, and resources for rental assistance, utility assistance, legal assistance compiled by the Arizona Bar Association

*NEW SETS OF TEST AVAILABLE* Order Free COVID-19 Tests: Go to, to order four tests per household. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days and will begin shipping later this month.

AZDHS COVID-19 Website – Latest updates, closure and re-opening announcements, and data dashboard
The Financial Wellness Partnership seeks to improve the financial wellness of individuals and families by increasing accessibility to effective services, resources, and opportunities, and by influencing policy to
develop equitable, people-centered systems that support financial wellness.

View past newsletters and learn more about our programs here: United Way Financial Wellness

If you have questions or suggestions for future newsletters, please contact Lisa Floran, Senior Director of Financial Wellness Initiatives at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona: