Salem, OR—The winners of the 2023 Oregon Financial Empowerment Awards are a Hillsboro high school teacher and a low-income homebuyer education program from Central Oregon, State Treasurer Tobias Read announced.
The awards celebrate standouts who go the extra mile to promote financial learning, financial security and financial inclusion. The winners were announced (April 4) as part of Treasury’s observance of Financial Literacy Month.
“We are all better off when Oregonians are prepared to make wise financial choices and to build long-term financial security,” said Treasurer Read, the chair of the Oregon Financial Empowerment Advisory Team. “I want to thank these dedicated champions for their work to help Oregonians improve their financial security and we look forward to continuing to support and amplify their good work.”
The awardees are:
Financial Empowerment Educator of the Year: Amy Fifth-Lince, a social studies and economics teacher at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. This is her first recognition by any entity for her outstanding financial education efforts. She received nine nominations for the award, most of them from her students.
Fifth-Lince will receive $1,500 and Liberty High School will receive $500. In addition, students chosen at random at the school will share a total of $500 in scholarships from the Oregon College Savings Plan.
Liberty High School School Principal Greg Timmons said Fifth-Lince worked incredibly hard to make her Senior Economics class interactive, engaging, and relevant. “She not only provides content that prepares students for their future, but she also partners with the Willamette Promise professional learning community to align her curriculum with that of Oregon colleges so students can earn Dual Credit,” he said.
Oregon State Rep. Nathan Sosa, D-Hillsboro, also applauded Fifth-Lance’s passion for equipping today’s youths to be better financially prepared and confident. “Her work is invaluable in giving students the tools to be financially successful for the rest of their lives.”
Financial Empowerment Community Champion: The HomeSource program and its director, Sonia Capece, at Redmond-based NeighborImpact. HomeSource offers education, services and coaching to help clients bolster financial knowledge, work toward buying a home, and maintain homeownership.
Originally from Argentina, Capece has led the program for seven years and also serves on several regional and national boards that promote homeownership.
One of her two nominations came from Lynne McConnell, City of Bend housing manager, who said HomeSource is helping address a massive need in Central Oregon. She also applauded expansion in bilingual programming. “Sonia and NeighborImpact’s HomeSource department are a great asset to our community providing much needed money management education, Home Ownership counseling and financial coaching,” McConnell wrote.
The HomeSource Program will receive $2,000, and as part of the “Pay It Forward” aspect of the award, it can designate a partner organization to receive an additional $500. That designee is the Latino Community Association, a Central Oregon community nonprofit.
State Rep. Emerson Levy, D-Bend, said Central Oregonians are well-served by NeighborImpact, and echoed the praise for the HomeSource director. "Ms. Capece provides such important tools of navigating literacy and home buying to our Central Oregon community. NeighborImpact is an essential partner with our cities and state, and I'm thrilled to see this recognition from the State Treasury."
Candidates for the Financial Empowerment Awards are identified via nominations to the Oregon Treasury’s financial empowerment initiative, and selected by a subcommittee of the Financial Empowerment Advisory Team, which meets quarterly to amplify financial literacy and financial inclusion efforts statewide. This is the second year for the awards.
Entries will be accepted beginning in November for the 2024 awards.
Theawards are sponsored in partnership with the Oregon College Savings Plan, a Treasury program that helps Oregonians statewide save for job training and higher education costs – which reduces the need for student debt later.