Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

Adopting a Place-Based Lens: The Power and Importance of Place in Shaping Financial Health

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The places where people live, work, play, and worship are tightly tied to their ability to be resilient during unexpected challenges and to seize opportunities over time. Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, place matters more than ever. This conversation will  highlight the importance of place in shaping people’s experiences before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering valuable lessons for developing solutions to help them weather the ongoing crisis.

Since the Financial Health Network introduced the concept of financial health nearly seven years ago, we have worked with stakeholders across the financial health ecosystem to develop products, programs, and services to improve people’s financial health. These solutions have been primarily designed to improve the lives of individuals and their families. In recent years, however, we have begun working with various organizations to adopt place-based solutions to improve the financial health of entire neighborhoods and communities. 

This panel will explore the connection between “place” and financial health. The conversation will center on research conducted by the Financial Health Network that has established a strong link between place and financial well-being. It will also draw on experiences from current partnerships and pilots happening on the ground in communities across American that can highlight the types of solutions that can not only improve the financial health of individuals, but also lift up entire communities.

Ultimately, this conversation will shed light on the complex relationship between neighborhood resources, residential mobility, and financial health, and help identify solutions that can improve the financial lives of millions of people and their communities.

Confirmed Panelists

Thea Garon – Senior Director at Financial Health Network

Thea Garon leads the, a groundbreaking research initiative designed to monitor and track the financial health of America. In this capacity, she oversees the collection and analysis of survey and transactional data to paint a rich portrait of the financial lives of people in America. As director of the initiative, Thea is responsible for developing strategy, managing funders and partners, engaging industry stakeholders, and communicating insights across the financial health ecosystem.

Thea also leads the financial health measurement strategy at the Financial Health Network. She has deep expertise in financial health measurement and led the development of the, a tool to help companies measure and improve the financial health of their customers, clients, and employees. Leveraging this framework, she has helped dozens of companies progress along their financial health journey.

Thea’s passion for her work derives from a longstanding commitment to social justice and equity. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College with a B.A. in History.

Unconfirmed Panelists

Please Note: The following panelists are confirmed to participate if the submission is accepted:

  • Clair Minson – Assistant Vice President, Talent Development at New Orleans Business Alliance.  She could speak about the alliances’ efforts to improve the financial health of employees making low-and-moderate incomes throughout New Orleans. 
  • David Rothstein – Principal at Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. He could speak to how CFE’s financial empowerment centers are embedding financial services into local contexts.
  • Barbara Martinez – Manager of Asset Building Programs at Heartland Alliance. Barbara led the team from Heartland that worked with the Financial Health Network to pilot fintech and non-profit partnerships in Chicago.
  • Sohrab Kohli – Senior Manager & Markets Lead, Policy and Market Solutions, Financial Security Program at Aspen Institute. Sohrab has led numerous place-based initiatives designed to improve the financial health of individuals and communities.

Supporting Materials

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