State Treasurer Tobias Read wants to help Oregonians build more secure financial futures. He also knows that building financial security is more likely with the dedication of educators and community leaders helping people to make wise money decisions. To recognize the work of community champions and teachers who are raising the bar to improve financial learning, Treasurer Read and the Financial Empowerment Advisory Team recently announced the 2023 Oregon Financial Empowerment Awards.
The winners are Amy Fifth-Lince, a teacher at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, and the Homesource low-income homebuyer education program from Redmond-based NeighborImpact. Both were announced in April as part of Treasury’s observance of Financial Literacy Month.
“At Treasury we have made it one of our top goals to help Oregonians make the best financial decisions. And there’s a lot to know,” said Treasurer Read, at an award presentation on May 9 at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.
The Financial Empowerment Educator of the Year, Fifth-Lince, is a social studies and economics teacher. 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 Representative 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.”
Nominated twice to be the Financial Empowerment Community Champion, the Central Oregon HomeSource program and its director, Sonia Capece, provide financing help and coaching to help clients bolster knowledge, work toward buying a home, and maintain homeownership.
Originally from Argentina, Capece has led the program for seven years and serves on several regional and national boards that promote homeownership.
Lynne McConnell, City of Bend housing manager, said HomeSource is helping address a massive need in Central Oregon. She also applauded their expansion in bilingual programming. “Sonia and NeighborImpact’s HomeSource department are a great asset to our community, providing much needed money management education, homeownership 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 Representative 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.
The awards 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—helping to reduce student debt.
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