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Improving financial opportunities and capping interest rates

Re-inventing financial and economic ecosystems for Indigenous women is winning big in the Southwest. “The Future is Indigenous Womxn,” – a project of WKKF grantees Native Women Lead and New Mexico Community Capital – has been selected as one of six winners of the national Equality Can’t Wait Challenge.  Liz Gamboa, board member for Native Women Lead and executive director for New Mexico Community Capital said, “We just see that this will lift the Southwest area and help it rise up to be a strong Indigenous-led economic region, where businesses can grow and thrive.” The five-year program includes microloans, technical assistance and training courses in financial literacy, digital media and marketing for more than 3,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs.

For Black women, many being the primary breadwinners for their households, the pay gap of 63 cents on the dollar represents more than just a loss of money. This is according to Shannon Williams, the director of Equal Pay Today, a project of WKKF grantee Equal Rights Advocates. “The issue of equal pay is not just a woman’s issue because it trickles down into our families and into our communities, and it trickles down into our overall economy,” Williams said. Equal Pay Today is working to close the gender wage gap that persists in nearly every industry and profession across the U.S., through strategies involving policy reform and litigation as well as education and outreach.

After several years of advocacy including public education campaigns, analysis and coalition building, WKKF grantee Americans for Financial Reform had reason to celebrate this summer as payday lenders can no longer avoid interest rate caps. This bold move doesn’t end predatory lending, but it is a step in the right direction.

There is a clear path to reducing child poverty with the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Experts estimate that the CTC, alongside other provisions of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), will lift more than five million children out of poverty. Many community partners are coming together to make sure families receive these critical resources. For example, WKKF grantee United Way of Central New Mexico is providing eligible families in New Mexico with free tax services to ensure they get CTC and other ARP funds quickly. 

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