Renegade Capital

Investing In Women’s Financial Independence, feat. Self-Help Credit Union and FreeFrom

October 03, 2023 Season 3 Episode 1
Renegade Capital
Investing In Women’s Financial Independence, feat. Self-Help Credit Union and FreeFrom
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Content Warning: This episode contains discussions of domestic violence. Please listen at your own discretion.

S3 Ep1
What does financial freedom mean to you? For many survivors of domestic violence, financial freedom means having the ability to leave an abusive relationship. Financial, gender-based violence is expensive, and 84% of survivors identify financial insecurity as their biggest barrier to safety. In this episode, Kimberly Jones and Nuray Ozbay from Self-Help Credit Union and Amy Durrence from FreeFrom talk with us about how allies can actually use their investments to support survivors of economic violence and help them achieve financial independence.


  • Amy Durrence, Director of Systems Change Initiatives, FreeFrom
  • Kimberly Jones, Director of Community Engagement-Midwest, Self-Help Federal Credit Union
  • Nuray Ozbay, Investment Officer, Self-Help Federal Credit Union 

Renegade Capital Tools & Tips.
A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to support financial independence for all. 

  • Look at your banking relationship: Does your bank have initiatives to help you invest in women’s financial freedom? If you want to know more about what this could look like, check out Self-Help Credit Union’s work to support women and how you can invest in their Women & Children’s Certificate of Deposit.
  • Learn more about financial abuse: We don’t hear about financial abuse very often, so take this opportunity to learn more about what it looks like and how to prevent it. 
  • Stay informed: Follow FreeFrom and other advocacy organizations to stay informed about how you can use your dollars and your vote to support financial freedom for survivors of domestic abuse. 

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Please note these transcripts are automatically generated and have not been edited. 

Warning this episode contains a discussion of domestic abuse and financial abuse please listen at your discretion. This is Andrea Longton. This is Leah Fremouw. and This is Ebony Perkins and we are Renegade Capital. All views expressed in this podcast are our own we are not financial planners investment advisers or tax advisers the views that we have on this show do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the people who sign our paychecks. So please keep that in mind and always, always consult a trained Financial professional before you start moving your hard-earned money. Let's dive in. We're back I love it oh wait so before we do that do you want to give your update which update that I left my full-time job I'm a full-time stay-at home mom now or um the one that I have a publication date in in April or um I'm might lose my mind in the middle of thing as soon it's all going to be great um this is my seventh day of being blissfully unemployed it's really nice I went to the doctor yesterday with my kids and instead of being stressed out trying to be in two places at the same time we sat and read the dental trivia it was awesome like this is fantastic I don't need a mental health break from taking my kids to the dentist on work day so it was it's been lovely are you homeschooling them or are they in school they are absolutely in school uh they are my daughters are getting ready to start second grade on Monday and George is doing um five days a week prek um that child needs just like many children but my child really needs to be around other children his preate is very play based where he gets to spend all day running around with naked feet on the playground so he's super excited about that drop him off in the in the morning everybody has their shoes on you come pick them out everybody's shoes are very carefully laid out on a nice little tray outside every day I'm like that's awesome good for you he's like Mama we get to play with naked feet that's awesome excellent wear shoes at home but that's awesome oh I'm loving that Leah how's life yeah I know life is good busy busy stuff briging Virginia is GNA build a house pickle ball business is opening in December I'm going to Philly tomorrow get to see Jody Harris oh wait wait pickle ball business is that you doing a pickle ball business me yeah that is so dope I know it yeah it's um it's cool actually it's a revitalization of a dead mall too so we're putting 12 PS in the old Macy's footprint and it's Regency Square is what they're calling it now so um I'm not a pro athlete but uh that's very cool that's very cool how are you doing epony all is good life is good Renegade capitals was giving me some some energy to push through so we're talking about women today oh we are talking about women and I am so psyched but before we even jump in on that so my question for you all is how do you define Financial Independence for yourselves individually it's tough to Define it as an individual for me because my life is defined around my spouse and the financial and economic decisions we make together and I always think about that there's a line in Little Women from the Greta Gerwig version where Amy March says marriage is an economic proposition and that hits home for me probably because I'm a finance nerd but just about how you set up your life with someone else I mean you can set it up however you want but we share a bank account and we make financial decisions together um and that Financial Independence piece is one where you feel comfortable that you can be independent as a person within a relationship and that one is a little tricky um to Define sometimes whenever you are so closely combined with someone else's financial decisions and we've been married for 11 years and so we have 11 years of financial decisions we've made together that have worked out yay knock on one but untangling that now is challenging uh because everything is really weaved together where it's hard to say hard to separate One One Financial independence from another yeah I think I have a a little bit of a different response because my mom when I was a kid with my sister would say girls you got to get your college degree because you never want to be dependent on a man you need to be able to leave him if you want to leave and be able to stand out on your own and so my parents are still together I mean they've been married 50 years but that was something that my mom said to me growing up consistently and so yes my husband and I share a bank account but he has an own his own business account I have things that aren't connected with his and when I think about financial Independence as someone that is married with a child I I'm like yep I don't need his income and he does not control my finances in any form or fashion direct I mean there there are influences yes and we've co-signed on things but like legally separating all of that could be done pretty easily and I would be able to spin out and be self-sufficient without him you know it kind of reminds me like you know women couldn't even get credit cards or bank accounts without their husband's permission so I have a very very emotional reaction to like a man needing to sign off on my man or partner you know I I don't know that I would I'll be curious from our guest speakers about partner violence in same-sex relationships and if there's uh the gender Dynamic is significant or if it really is you know kind of within a relationship but um that Financial control is why a lot of women stay you know and get and kind of are not able to even if they want to leave in the middle of the night they have nowhere to go they can't afford a hotel room because because he controls the credit cards you know no I think I think you hit the nail on the head coming as the the the single one um who who's not yet married um I often think of financial Independence is freedom I think of it as security um you know I'm always the one that's like making sure that my savings and my emergency fund is like set I also think of financial Independence is like the ability to create the life that I want to create right and and I view money as um as a tool it's not the only thing but it's it's the thing that will allow me to like create the time I want to spend with my family right it allows me to be able to take time off it allows me to be able to go on a trip it allows ows me to be able to just I don't know have a gym membership right and so I consider that that Independence to be freedom to be stability to be security it's kind of how I Define it you know without having a partner especially at this time in my life so on a scale of 1 to 10 I know that I I feel like I know where you're going to come in on this but how important is financial Independence to you Financial Independence for my partner not important that that I feel right now um Financial Independence as a couple very important um as an individual I'd still say it's like a nine or a 10 I mean not that I mean Jacob and I have been together for 20 years I don't see that changing but I just it's so ingrained to me as a as a woman to be able to stand on my own two feet without anybody behind that or or control I think it's not even the support it's the control that I don't want to give up you know or will not yield to and so being being supportive and um integrated with somebody as by choice is different than kind of being controlled and so not being controlled a 10 y yep absolutely what about you ebony oh I'm sorry I thought it was understood I'm a 10 plus like that is a heel I am willing to die on yes I want to have a good life yeah and I know that in our capitalist society that is one of the tools in order to make you do it so Finance is fuel you have to have that Finance to be able to do whatever you want to do in your life just like you were talking about eony um so being able to feel comfortable that you have the fuel that you need to get to the next day to get to the next stage of your life is instrumental and and feeling secure absolutely ebony what do you think about when you think about economic violence you know now when I think about economic violence I hate to say it but I often view it in in heteronormative terms but it's often you know one partner restricting how another partner can use their combined finances um it's often the first step among many in order to do entire control um in a relationship and controlling the other person it's just the gateway gateway drug if you will when you think about an example of economic violence what pops into your mind think about partner checking every single expense on on a credit card and granted that's important but viewing it from a space of you know you're not allowed to use this card and if you do then there will be repercussions I view it from a space of a of a partner you know where where I've actually seen you are not allowed to sign this check even though it's a joint account and we both have equal um ownership of it that's a form of of economic balance yeah I think it's it's interesting especially when you have dual incomes you know sometimes my when you first said that I kind of I thought about some couples that I know maybe where um she happens to be staying home at the time and is not earning an income and the the husband in this case you know will limit her ability to buy shoes for pickle ball or a new paddle you know and she's she's a 41-year-old woman and you I I don't know obviously the internal discussions around how they spend and save and maybe new pickle ball shoes is not a priority but I feel like there's a layer there where you know it's a little bit more than just now's not a good time to buy shoes it's like I have to ask permission to buy shoes which is different than we're saving and we're being Frugal um or at least I'm interpreting it differently now having dual incomes maybe let's just say 5050 everybody's making the same amount and it's the same paycheck it's or same bank account like that's think ebony what you described you know just kind of even even when you're contributing you still don't have control over how the household is being managed you know when I think of um you know Finance within a household I often think of the importance of communication and that it's a two-way street right it's a partnership um I remember listening to something um from The Wall Street Journal today and they're saying how many couples are taking on the role of CFO versus Coo right um and one is helping the day-to-day operations the other is watching the finances but they would said that they were very um intentional about not using the phrase CEO because it was a partnership and what I think of like economic balance is viewing it from the place of I control I approve and I can deny any and everything and everything must run through me as a CEO versus the partnership and the collaboration piece Andrew what about you I don't know I'm coming at it from a very different place at least of how I value individual Financial Independence and so I'm really taking a time to step back and think about it um because I feel like we have that CFO coo relationship my my spouse and I doal where um I manage our family's financials and so maybe that's why I feel comfortable um with having that fin of not viewing Financial Independence as an individual but as a couple because I I have I don't want to say control but like I manag that and so I feel close to it and comfortable with it and and know what's going on um and so when I think about economic violence it's you know if I were to lose that control and then have that flipped around what would it feel like if I was not managing our family's financials um and to not have that view over it and to ALS Al not be the one saying let's do this let's do this with our financials um that feels different all right this is Andrea lton this is Leah freal this is eonie Perkins and we are Renegade Capital today we're talking about how economic violence limits Financial Independence for women learn how you can use your Investments to support women today Renegade Capital podcast is proud to be sponsored by us Bank Corp impact finance a subsidiary of US Bank which is an industry leader in providing Financial Solutions that help create positive impact for communities and the environment for 35 years it's tax credit investments in syndications lending and other Financial Solutions have helped create affordable housing spur economic activity and underserved communities restore historic buildings develop renewable sources of energy and strengthen community development financial institutions or cdfis Nationwide learn more at impact Finance today we're joined by our friends at freef from and Self-Help Credit Union One of this season sponsors we are so grateful for self-help support and we couldn't do it without them fre from is a National Organization based in Los Angeles whose mission is to dismantle the Nexus between intimate partner violence and financial insecurity they partner closely with Self-Help Credit Union a national community development financial institution that provides responsible financial services and lending to small businesses and nonprofits they also develop real estate and promote Fair Financial practices free from and self-help will join us today to discuss their work with women experiencing intimate partner violence and how they help them become financially independent Amy Durance is a lawyer and advocate of survivors of gender-based violence in her role Amy serves as director of systems change initiatives and leads free froms work to advocate for the passage of Survivor wealth centered policies across the US Kimberly Jones is director of community engagement Midwest with self-help Federal Credit Union she helps individuals and institutions align their mission and values with their Banking and naray usbe is a global social impact practitioner with expertise in gender equity and economic Justice she currently leads investor relations at self-help Federal Credit Union thank you so much for joining us today thank you that was such an energizing kickoff um eony so um as you mentioned I Define myself as a global social impact practitioner and throughout my career in the social impact space um all of my work was at the inter intersection of um gender equity and economic inclusion my first paid job out of college was working as a project assistant at one of the largest women's nonprofits in Turkey isul where I'm originally from and there I started my journey into the feminist movement in turkey and then later in Europe and then Global then I started engaging with um Global women's organizations and I learned a lot related to movement building and fighting for justice currently at selfhelp um my work is around impact investing so I do work with our mission supportive depositors and help them create deeper value with their funds that impact is obviously closely related to um equity and inclusion um and in the past couple of years together with Kim Jones we are co-leading um an intern initiative at selfhelp which we call the gender Equity initiative and we've been partnering with Amy and the free from Team on that so this is my brief intro and my my passion towards um gender Equity thanks aony so my experience is a little more personal in the sense that I was raised by a single mom you know we struggled quite a bit growing up and and you know watching my mom try to you know make ends meet and balance finances you know in hindsight now you know that I'm sort of in this this field of Finance you know and knowing and having all the information and and knowing all the resources that are available you know I wish that she had had this in a lot of the information that's available here you know and had and had been able to take advantage of a lot of the financial literacy and financial capability uh resources that were out there my mom was never a homeowner um she got really really bad information as a as a young adult and and just made the decision never to become a homeowner and so she was never able to build assets you know as an adult and so when I first got into banking you know I saw that even a lot of my my co-workers um who were women also you know came from similar backgrounds and you know didn't have those resources Growing Up So for me it was really personal to see women and my family my co-workers my peers who really didn't have access to you know financial information and so that's what really drives me uh to do this work hi I'm so excited to be here and always a pleasure to share space with my fabulous friends from Self-Help Credit Union um Amy Durance uh she her hers from free from and you know in terms of my journey to to having a Passion about about gender Equity it really started I guess well I should say I was raised in the South um and we didn't really talk about gender Equity when I was coming up um I can speak for I guess maybe the white Southern experience of like women I was certainly surrounded by what felt like very powerful women right and they didn't uh they they spoke their mind you know all these pieces they always very felt felt very powerful to me and yet I could see that they were exerting their power in different ways from the men in my life right it's it was more of an indirect Pathway to leverage power and to and to um you know really use your power and like like for example I grew up in the southern a Southern Baptist Church um no longer in that Faith but uh you know I had this very very strong Mom very very strong Grandma very strong and opinionated ants and yet we were going to a church that said you absolutely are not allowed to be leaders in this institution from from the Bible which is like our you know for that religion was supposed to be the text so it was a little confusing I would say um seeing folks uh trying to to use power but having to do it sort of behind the scenes it looking so much different from the way that I saw men using power growing up around me and I kind of just assume this is the way I'm going to have to live right like I'm just gonna have to to to take power in the spaces that I can and use it uh where I'm able and I think it was really when I got to college I left sort of that community and was like whoa whoa whoa wait a second these are some things that we really need to be talking about and thinking through you know and so that um sort of Awakening that I had in college um really U manifested into to action and a passion and a career path for uh gender Equity more in law school uh when I was able to participate in my law school's uh Domestic Violence Clinic as a student attorney representing survivors of domestic violence and getting um temporary straining orders things of that nature and then U more broadly gender-based violence understanding to you know myself as as a survivor of gender-based violence and that was like a whole another whole another Journey but that's really where my it was kind of a strange path to it it was kind of more like um realizing that something was off kind of and seeing that that uh women weren't really able to use their power in the same ways men were um that that drew me uh first in and then it's it's really been U my career path and my passion ever since Amy I just want to say I can relate a little bit to the kind of the the lenses being pulled off I took my first women's studies class as a later student former College Dropout went back to school took women's studies intro and was like wait a second hold on you mean I don't have to get married I don't have to take his last name and then like from there polyi women Studies major like all the things but it was that kind of first awareness of a different way of of being in the world and and the power behind that to be empowered to do that as a woman so I can appreciate kind of the wow this is different than my world at home you know totally it's interesting Amy as you talk about uh gender-based violence the assumption is that it's always physical or mental or emotional but people Al often forget the financial um aspect of that and how money and you know is often used um as a power as a controlling mechanism now dig dig deeper Kim um how is money often used as a as a tool for control well you know I think I mean I certainly saw it in in my family unfortunately where um you know women were encouraged not to work um women were encouraged to um hey you know let me take care of the bills you know you know you you don't understand numbers or you don't understand math so I'll take care of the finances um but really that was just a control mechanism you know not having access to checking accounts not having Credit in your own name not having you know bank accounts in your own name um in those types of situations are often you know can be a form of abuse and can be a for a form of control in relationships and so I know Amy has is the expert here so I'm going to uh defer to her but you know those are some of some of the examples I've seen um how finances and and money can be used um you know to be controlling before women couldn't get credit cards or assigned for a home that's that's like the 80s right this isn't like 50s and 60s so when when how how new is this ability for women to um you know secure some of these Capital tools and and wealth building assets this is going to sound funny but I was actually watching an episode of Sex in the City uh not too long ago and that show was what in the 90s and one of the characters was talking about not being able to get an apartment because they didn't have a spouse to sign you know on their credit you know on their credit application and this was in the 90s you know so um yeah so the that's still you know within our lifetime that we're seeing that women are you know allowed to have access to Credit in their own name you know without having a father or or you know a husband um or another man or male to um you know co-sign for them Amy can you shed some light um for us specifically on on what does what does this look like um the intimate partner violence used through the form of finance and and more specifically um your work with free from and and what are you doing about it yes of course thank thank you so much so um know Kim kind of mentioned like folks usually forget about the the financial piece of um inovate partner gender-based violence and I think um to even overstate it people just don't under don't know it's not even like something they've known they know and they forget I think a lot of folks who um aren't being subjected to this type of harm or aren't aware um that someone they know or love is is is going through going through that don't understand that piece of it at all and I think that um I I'll get into what exactly I'm talking about in a moment but we really see that in the laws across the United States like we are just now starting to see uh States acknowledge economic abuse as part of uh intimate partner interpersonal violence uh in the definitions of of of of domestic violence in state laws so that's just now happening to get into okay Amy well hold on what are you even talking about when you're talking about domestic violence let's I mean excuse me economic abuse whoa when you're talking about economic abuse what are you talking about so let's start there well first of all one in two trans folks and one in two CIS women in the United States will be subjected to some form of gender-based Violence by an intimate partner one and two and so I do it I I do want to pause and say you know we're talking about women um you know whenever I'm saying women that includes trans women um I think we also have to be really aware and care about the rights of folks who are gender expansive gender non-conforming as well um as I mentioned they're subjected to gend based violence at the same if not higher levels than other folks in the United States um and so really important to make sure that we're including them as part of our our conversations with that there there's that prevalence and then we understand that the number one obstacle to safety for survivors is financial insecurity the number one obstacle to safety so what do I really mean when I say that well 84% of survivors identify not having enough money to take care of themselves or their kids as their biggest barrier to safety the St reality is that being subjected to gender-based violence is extremely expensive the CDC estimates that the lifetime cost of domestic violence for CIS women survivors is$104,000 as a lifetime cost yes $104,000 and we actually know that that is an underestimate because that number does not take into consideration the additional and significant CA of economic abuse um this Spectre that we've been alluding to now economic abuse um can look a lot of different ways um Kim you you kind of shouted out some of the some of the more subtle ways I would say that that folks are able to commit economic abuse but generally speaking it describes when a harmd dooer is controlling or exploiting a survivor's finances so I'll give you some examples that that we've heard from our work at freef from this could look like a harmd doer stealing money from a survivor's bank account um it could look like a harmd or preventing a Survivor from going to work or getting a job we've heard of folks doing things like offering child care and then the last minute refusing child care so a person's not able to go to their job similarly we've heard a lot about uh folks harmd doers taking out credit cards in a survivor's name without their consent or knowledge and then running up debts um in the survivor's name we've heard uh we worked with folks who get out of a out of a relationship and come to find out they got tens of thousands of dollars of debt in their name from credit cards they didn't even know existed oh and I should mention also it's it's not only just the dollar amount that you know you might have in in in debts or costs of that nature but also folks are being subjected to credit damage and we know that that will follow you for a long time throughout your life and it impacts like basically every aspect of your life in the United States you're looking for housing you're looking for insurance you're looking for employment like all of those people are going to pull your credit report and so we can start to see these Financial consequences that really move Beyond sort of the moments of peak crisis uh and harm and I'll throw out a couple more um statistics that we've learned at free from and and uh before I pause for some Reflections and questions about all this I know I'm given a lot of information right now but to to Really uh demonstrate the financial Devastation of gender-based violence on survivors um folks in our Network this is uh statistics I'm sharing from um responses on surveys thousands of Sur survivors uh from across the US um on average survivors had only$289 that they could alone access at the time that they responded to the survey and on average they had only $10 in savings at the time that they responded to the survey and folks identified at the time that they responded to the survey that they had just over $10,000 in gender-based violence related costs at that moment in time so as we can see it's it's fin finally devastating it's really difficult to recover from harm to heal when you don't even have uh the Financial Security necessary to cover the cost question about the um relationship Dynamics and we're saying um you know the gender and so with same-sex relationships is it different um in the kind of a controlling and abuse or just less prevalent um when gender when the genders happen to be the same in a relationship that's an interesting question and you know from what we have seen it the economic abuse is is a a part of all of the gender based violence relationships in terms of survivers that we engage with are um of every gender um and of every sexuality and it seems like across the board folks are being subjected to this type of financial control and exploitation regardless of I guess the sort of specific uh nature of of the relationship it's definitely just such um it's such an effective tool to control someone uh especially in the you know in the state of in the United States right it's like the finances are kind of everything right and liquidity and and you know being able to cover your cost but also having access to financial services having a bank account all these pieces you need all of these things to be able to move around in the world and navigate navigate the world and by controlling that it's just such an effective way to control another person is to get your hands on and control their finances I was just processing on on my end when you said that you know the average person who has gender-based economic violence um the um the Survivor to have $10 in savings uh and $289 have access to only $289 and trying to exit a really hard situation and create a whole new life for themselves and with access to$289 um and how overwhelming that feels to me right now of how would I start over with access to$289 um and I have kids and so I'm always thinking like okay and it's not just me it's these tiny humans that I'm responsible for too um and so that's the big thing for me is just processing and that's really overwhelming um like that is just terrifying um to think about Amy what are you what are you and free from what do you do with all of this information because I know if Andrea is overwhelmed I know I'm overwhelmed uh Leah I don't know how you feeling about any of this but what what have you done in order to try and make a d some of this you know I'll I'll start with some of the um programs that free from offers a little more directly and then I'll move into I'll pause and and and hear hear discussion about that and then I I can also talk about the more systems level pieces and institutional pieces that's really where my the focus of my work is um but after from one of our Hallmark um programs is what we call our safety fund program and it was really born out of us trying to create a rapid response to coid so in the spring of 2020 when Co you know came to the US Shores whatever uh we as an organization paused and said wait a minute what are we going to be doing in this moment that's going to be as impactful and effective as possible because we know that this pandemic is going to disproportionately impact survivors so what are we going to do right now for people across the US in this moment and we decided as a team let's get folks cash like we understand how expensive everything is and how financially devastating it is to be subjected to gender-based violence let's support folks with some liquidity right now so that they can hopefully cover some of their costs um and be able to stay safe and keep their family safe and so we essentially just give folks Direct Cash grants um it's up to $250 and at this point we have given uh $1.93 million directly to over 7,000 survivors from across the country representing every state DC and Puerto Rico so as part of that we were like obviously the primary goal is let's get people cash let's get them cash ASAP then what we realized as I mentioned earlier there's of a dir of data and information about the financial impacts um of gender-based violence particularly on a large scale like with a big sample size understanding what impacts are so we said wow we really have a real opportunity here we're engaging with so many people from across the country like let's just ask them some questions optional questions and see what we can learn about what they need and so all the data that you heard me spit out um the $289 of $10 that's uh data that we were able to that that Survivor shared with us through this program so that's where that data is coming from um that's been a really transformational program we've heard a lot of stories about what folks are able to do with $250 quite frankly um in order to get and stay safe but I'll put a pin in that we're also providing a savings matching program for survivors um I believe we've supported folks in building over in total over $500,000 in emergency savings um which has been a really great program um but again but you know that's still just helping one person at a time right in their situation right now so I'm going to kind of move right into some of the systems change that trying to accomplish that free from well a Amy before you go into that can you can you help me understand how far$250 can go because when you said 250 I kind of went oh that's it right but but that's because of the the world that I live in and how I spend my money so help me understand how that can be spent well and in a meaningful way even at amounts some would seem some would think they're very small sure and to be um very clear our our program is totally trust based you tell us that you're a Survivor and that you need the money and we send it to you and we've heard from folks um what they've been able to do with this money one person in particular is coming to mind uh she had a custody order with an abusive ex spouse uh for their child that they shared um this individual the harmd doer had said um you better have our kid at this place and this time that is in this order if you're a minute late you know I'm taking you to court getting my attorney we're going to fight to to get me back custody that's a very common tactic that we hear abusing litigation to get back at survivors it's a common tactic and this individual the survivors car broke down and so this is very problematic this is a big deal because as this IND the the harmd is threatening um you know to take away try to take away the child and that would be an enormous cost if she had to try to get an attorney if she had to try to miss work to go to some of these hearings try to get child care all of these things in addition to the potential of losing her custody of her child she was able to take that $250 Grant and get her car fixed and get her car fixed really quickly get her car fixed for cheap because it was somebody in the neighborhood right and so um a little plug there for um our really flexible approach and no strings attached approach survivors know best what they need survivors know best how to take care of those needs survivors really are incredible at things like budgeting even though it might not come across as like um like a traditional budget but they're having to do a lot typically with a little and so giving folks just no strings attached C no strings attached cash trusting them and their expertise in their own lives um we've really seen impacts from that so you can really see so for example if we were a program that rather than no strings attached cash we gave housing vouchers out well okay that's great but that's not going to help this person in their situation they're not going to be able to take that housing voucher and and go get their car fixed even if we had for example said okay well we're going to pay directly to a third party vendor we'll we'll pay this person that's on our approv venters to fix your car well that might be on the other side of town from this person that might cost two times more than what it would cost for them to get their car fixed down the street um as somebody that's a family friend or something of that nature and so it's another I guess quick plug for um the cost Effectiveness um of doing no strings attached uh giving and really trusting the person that's receiving those funds to be able to do the best um with those funds well Amy what what I'm also Hearing in that is that you're you're the power you're not taking power and choice away from them in another form or fashion it's their choice it's their resource they're empowered to go and do and take care of their lives um so thank you thank you for explaining that yeah of course and actually you kind of touched on another interesting point right because inadvertently um existing resources right the ones that are you know they're they're providing support for people so I'm not trying to knock them okay but the housing vouchers the programs that are saying okay we're going to we're going to give you this credit but you can only use it from this particular uh list of vendors or in fact we're going to we are going to make the payments for you or you make the payment but you better send us a receipt what is that kind of sounding like sounding a little bit like the economic abuse that folks are being subjected to in their harmful relationships so that's not really a transformational way to go about supporting folks and that's why we really push back at free from and are constantly advocating for more trust-based programs across the board um for exactly the reasons that that that you've stated and this is really where my fabulous friends from Self-Help Credit Union come in as well um so as I mentioned earlier prevalence one and two CIS folks one and two CIS women being subjected to some form of gender-based violence in the US that means that every financial institution has customers that are survivors um every every credit card company has customers that are survivors every insurance company you're seeing a pattern here uh every employer has staff uh that are survivors right now in the United States we are very focused um as a society in terms of how we respond to gender-based violence on moments of peak crisis only when is the physical violence at its worst in in the aftermath of a of of a sexual assault and we treat it as a crisis issue we only give short-term uh crisis responses and then that's that well there are all of these things that happened in a survivor's life before that moment of peak crisis and then there's so much that happens in a survivor's life after short-term support has expired we're missing so many opportunities to uh resource folks so they hopefully don't ever have to even get to that moment of peak crisis or once they have they never have to do it again and I think because we're so focused on Peak crisis as a society our imagination has been limited about who should be coming to the tables with solutions for this problem we're thinking who responds in a crisis okay well that's police um that's the government in other ways um and it's the individuals that are involved in the in the scenario so the Survivor and the harm toer but wait a minute this person this survivor's got a job they've got an employer you know they're going to work okay they're also maybe they're going to school maybe you know they they're using their credit card they're they're going to their Bank they're they're opening bank accounts you know all of these things if we move our imagination we if we expand our imagination before those moments of Crisis then we can also start to imagine how other aspects of our other pillars of our society can come to the table to really Supply some important and essential Solutions and support um to this problem so at freef from we're really trying to push back on the on the common narratives and say wait a minute you know you have survivors you engage with every day and you can be supporting them and you can be supporting them um not as free from does not as a nonprofit organization but let's use Banks as an example um or credit unions you you could be supporting your Survivor customers by just being a really good credit union by just being a really good Steward of your customers or your uh coers whatever the case may be for that particular Institution for just helping keep them keep their assets safe right so we at freef from are really um looking into the private sector to say you're engaging with survivors all the time and guess what you can be supporting them you can be helping them just by doing what you already do as an institution but doing it a little more thoughtfully um and doing it a little better renie gay Capital podcast is proud to be sponsored by Self-Help Credit Union and self-help Federal Credit Union which believe in the power of Finance to transform lives and communities are you an impact investor looking to make a difference look no further than self-help where your deposits can create positive change don't just invest for profit invest for impact visit invest for impact today and start depositing into a money market or term certificate with Self-Help Credit Union where your money can change lives Self-Help Credit Union ownership and Economic Opportunity for[Music] all can you share a bit more about the the institutional change that and systemic change you're trying to make yeah so as a result of our engagement with Amy and free from um we've certainly started looking at a few things so are there any things in in our policies and procedures that might cause an addition additional harm to women or people experiencing um gender-based violence or any type of Dom domestic violence we're looking at our training so um all of our staff members go through elder abuse training and so we found that that also tracks in many ways to domestic violence abuse and so we're looking to see if we can integrate uh those trainings um for for our staff so that's one thing that we're looking at two we're looking to see if there are any products and services that we can either tweak or leverage to better serve the need of you know people being impacted by um domestic violence so for example we have um a loan for disaster relief that we typically you know only deploy seasonally but we're now looking to see if we can have that recalibrated into um an emergency loan that can really be accessed by anyone right who might need those funds for to get into an apartment to uh you know to travel uh to get away from their abuser or to you know if they need access to Medical Care or things like that um and then on the policy side so under the self-help umbrella there's also uh the center for responsible lending uh which is our policy and advocacy organization so what types of you know uh policies you know can we kind of partner with crl you know on behalf of women um and to support the needs of women I want to say a few things related to our journey as a team building this um initiative and this partnership so our our starting point was how to be more intentional in our approach towards serving everybody better but particularly the chronically underserved communities which is like mostly women immigrant folks uh people of color so Our intention was bringing this like holistic perspective towards everything we do and and obviously at self-help we have two credit unions and almost half of our members identifies as women majority of our staff identifies as women um and we also make want to make sure that how inclusive and accessible we are um to our members and to the communities that we serve um what is our internal commitment towards including women in decision making and also how do we partner with other nonprofits other financial institutions or the investment Community to make a change make a systemic change um so Kim already mentioned a number of the things that we looking into as a part of this initiative and also we are looking into our data um and we also want to make sure that because we are also a landing institution we want to make sure that the the borrowers the beneficiaries of our loans are also like equally distributed among genders and we want to make sure that this is sustainable over the years um so those are like some parts of the conversation and also uh we are advocating for this um we are inviting everybody to be a supporter of this journey towards inclusion and I I want to say that our women's CD ways of investing in in gender equity and supporting um systemic change um it's not that hard it's not that complicated and sophisticated and there are a number of things that we can do obviously so first one is just looking into your own banking relationship there are lots of organizations like selfhelp lots of partner organizations Community Banks other credit unions uh local financial institutions who are committed towards real change so one of the things could be just like simply considering banking with those organizations or simply moving part of your savings your modest savings to those organizations um if you're working for a large corporate who has certain intention towards being more inclusive maybe talking internally and um motivating them to invest with organizations that are truly fighting for Change and at sou out for example regarding the investment products um we do have a number of cash investment options pretty strong financial return deep Community impact uh we have our term certificates one of them is the woman and children CD that we have been offering and we give our investor to have a chance to support woman's access to finance through investing in those CDs because we want to make sure that um we land to woman business owners we want to make sure that we provide our services and make them accessible for women to open their first bank account and start building their credit we want to also make sure that we offer our home lending our mortgage lending to one women to survivors of intimate partner violence to single mothers and Beyond so um yeah there are a number of things um definitely folks can do and I know some people say well you know why why are we focusing so much um on women and and investing in women um and it's because as we all know the glass ceiling but they're often the caretakers most likely and most likely the head heads of their house households they're more likely to have to leave the workforce to take care of their families but they also live longer than their Partners um and so they typically struggle with their finances at a much you know um you know an older age and so it's really important for women particularly to have good Sound Investment um and Financial information and so as Niah was saying that you know these are and she talked about these are good some good um investment vehicles and opportunities to um support women survivors and we didn't quite touch on this but but um women entrepreneurs and women business owners during Co you know women were probably opening businesses at probably a at a far rapid rate right that than at any other time you know in in our history however they were the least likely to get funded to get access to Capital to get access to Angel Investors right so we you know um as part of this initiative we also want to leverage our relationships you know with investors uh impact investors philanthropic institutions to to leverage dollars to you know perhaps create a fund you know uh that will support um you know women entrepreneurs so those are some of the things that that we're looking at that nah really and I are really looking at to try to you know to implement this this initiative and we've gotten a lot of great um feedback from our colleagues at self-help everyone is really excited about it uh we're doing it in stages because it's it's it's a big it's a big uh it's a big project and a big initiative um but we are one of the great things about uh being at self-help is that really supportive of of this initiative and uh we're just excited and we're you know even so even more excited to have the opportunity to work with Amy because um as you guys were Blown Away about a lot of the information that she shared with shared today we were as well um and so it really made us want to take a deeper look um at at our work um to see you know to make sure that we were doing well by by our members and as a former colleague of mine once said if you care where your money sleeps at night um you know you'll think about uh you know placing your funds uh and your your access cash into those organizations that um you know are lining you know your banking with your with your mission vision and Valu so so one one last question um we ask all of our our guests um one very important thing we are Renegade Capital so how do you define a renegade so I think Renegade as a person of or like a group of people who thinks that a better world is possible um and who is not afraid to demand that and ask for Change and also act for change for that I think like all those folks on this call are Renegades I think free from is a big Renegade I think Self Health is a renegade and I think the feminist moment itself is one of the like biggest Renegades of all time so lots of inspiration out there so I'm often the person who rarely asks permission but says I'm sorry later you know I'm gonna travel that road last traveled I'm gonna go against the grain I'm gonna think out of the box I'm you know I'm I'm gonna do my own thing if everybody's going right sometimes I might dip left you know yeah that's that's that's just me so that's my definition of being a renegade think mine I love both of those I think mine's kind of similar but uh you know honestly Kim with those with yours you you kind of gave me a new idea to to to interject in mine so I'm I love it uh because I'm really thinking about a renegade as more of a becoming rather than a state of being like being a renegade as an activity always right and for me that activity is radical dreaming and it really is being able to have a vision and an imagination that isn't limited by what exists now and what we understand to be possible I'm using air quotes possible Right but instead what's impossible what feels completely um undoable and let's let's go for that um and it's always that activity though right like continuing that dream iterating that dream but always being radical with that dream and always pushing past what is to what what can be these are great I always get so inspired by this segment of what is a renegade it's just it's tremendous to hear from leaders in the field I'm psyched thank you I have one other question and we don't have to include this or not Amy tell me more about the name free from free from what that's a it's a good question and it actually um I I have to admit it was settled on before uh I joined the organization but my understanding is that it's it's free from whatever is real for that individual in terms of like the obstacles that that that that are keeping them back whether that be um gender-based violence what and I want to say too at free from we really sort of question even this is kind of getting in the weeds but like question even the terminology of gender-based violence right because and and moving beyond the interpersonal and into the systemic right because with one and two and one and two being the prevalence again we're not talking about a series of independent short-term crises we're talking about a systemic problem and systemic problems are societal responsibilities and so we're really trying to be antagonists of where is the societal responsibility and accountability for this because the approaches so far haven't really we haven't seen that we haven't seen the societal accountability ility piece and you might be like okay how are we talking why are we here when I ask you what free from men stood for but I think that really what I'm getting at is it is beyond the interpersonal It's like because we can't we can't really solve gender-based violence until we improve the systems that are in place that are allowing it to persist and to thrive so people who are subjected to gender-based violence aren't just subjected to oppress oppression from that harmd doer but they're also you know uh credit card companies whatever the case may be start standing in the shoes of that harmd dooer after the fact when somebody can't get support to get relief from their coercer fraudulent debt right um when someone isn't able to get the support from these institutions then the institutions become the harmd dooer so it's free from free from harm from an individual but it's also free from harm from unfair oppressive systems that are existing in our society access to$289 and starting a new life from that that is I can't I can't get away from that one and how terrifying that is yeah it makes me nervous um to even think about it it's extremely overwhelming I also left that like really inspired one it forced me to get out of my little bubble um of of what my life is like and then realize that hey people are really facing some some hard challenges out here you know one thing that that stood out to me is also the language that Amy was using she didn't use the word victim she used the word Survivor Survivor and and harm doer and that was she realized the power of of words and also the ability for for people to own their own story and so very similar to what Leah was saying like she was in free form is giving people and survivors the their power back in multiple multiple ways I think I was struck by the this dollar amount you know and I asked Amy about that the 250 and she I forget the stat exactly but it was over millions of dollars of these trust grants and my initial reaction was like well double it give them 500 bucks like and I mean we didn't have enough time to understand why that might not be feasible for whatever reasons but um my then I started to think about the self-help there it's like well if they had $1,000 dollar could they use some of it for the car repair and then start a savings account but then that's me taking out the emergency situation the emotion like you know like I went I went very practical well give them a little bit more money and then they can start the independent stuff and it's like probably not you know maybe it's just getting a hotel room and getting a resfit for three or four days while their partner calms down and they can go back when it's safe and and then get their you know like I have not experienced that situation so kind of how two $250 could be so meaningful when I was you know I could spend that in groceries this weekend you know sometimes at dinner when you're out with your friends I mean what we take for granted can really save someone's life you know um in different different contexts it's a it's hard to absorb that sometimes you know I was in a weird place with the whole conversation because this is um day seven of being financially dependent on my spouse because I am now a stay-at home mom and don't have income coming in and just what that means and how incredibly privileged I am um to be able to do that and still feel financially independent uh and like truly feel financially independent and how much of a system and systemic issue it is um with women and finance and how we feel about our ability to manage finances um and cultural persuasion to find a man who can take care of your bills right and what kind of situation that puts you in um and how complex and nuanced everything is even after the conversation eony you asked me before how strongly I felt it is important to be Financial financially independent my answer hasn't changed um I feel very lucky in the the partnership that I have um but just that it is so complex I also so really like um marital status diversity Among Us um because one thing that I will share is that R gate Capital we support marriage and love we support healthy marriage and healthy love and so we are not encouraging anyone to leave healthy situations unless you want to unless you want to hey that's on YouTube babe but just just make sure that you're you're in a situation that that feeds both of you and and provides a stable um and healthy healthy financial situation for everybody involved yeah I had never heard the term economic violence before uh i' never heard that term before but now that I'm thinking about it I'm thinking of so many stories um from friends and from family who are like oh my God it is rampant and it's like is this real or is this not real or is this just bad financial management and again I'm I'm using big big words um or like extremes but the Nuance of that situation and how hard it is to be able to identify it um and acknowledge it and then find a way through and how easy it would be to get trapped in a bad situation I'm also viewing it from the lenss of um and and please forgive me for for my heter heteronormative thinking but the the lens of of young boys who don't know what they're doing who are taught hey as a man you are supposed to control the the pocketbook you are supposed to um not allow you know your partner to to make those decisions you cover all of it and your pride should not allow you to reach out for help um because if you do that you show that you are less of a man and and it's I won't say it's all their fault but they were taught this and it shouldn't have to be that way um this is a much bigger issue more than we can hit on in you know in 40 or 50 minutes but I am glad that we're talking about it and I'm more even more so glad that there are some people out here and some organizations that are making you know doing some work in order to try and change it and our audience can too what was your big takeaway ebony for how we can work to change it oh yeah number one be aware know that this is happening um and number two look at your financial institutions see um and ask these questions like ask your your Banks and your credit unions are you doing anything to support you know women experiencing domestic violence they may not have thought about it and if they aren't move your money self help clearly said that they they're doing some work um and and they want to be able to hold some of your your cash based savings so yeah I think there are some options here great this was a good episode welcome back yeah welcome back folks thank you for listening to this episode of the Renegade Capital podcast you can listen to previous episodes on your favorite podcasting platform and be sure to follow us on social media at Renegade Capital podcast or check out our website at www. 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