2014 Applicant: Alvaro Macias

Alvaro Macias is a 35-year-old Community Development Coordinator at Ascentra Credit Union ($340M) in Bettendorf, Iowa, United States.

Project, plan or idea title
New Iowans Initiative

Short Pitch
Provide low-interest Citizenship Loans to immigrants and refugees.

The New Iowans Initiative is a pilot program that allows immigrants and refugees in Iowa to get credit to pay for their immigration services. The program will serve Iowans starting this August. It is made possible from a grant from The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. Ascentra has partnered with Diversity Service Center of Iowa to offer these special Citizenship Loans to many clients who put their immigration services needs on hold due to lack of money. This will help them pay for costly federal immigration fees and help them establish and/or improve credit. With many of the clients of Diversity Service Center of Iowa's (DSCI) earning well below the poverty level this initiative will provide an opportunity for many families in Iowa to create a solid financial foundation. DSCI will create a secured shared account that will allow their clients to finance their services at a low rate of only 3% above the account rate. Those who receive loans will have to attend financial literacy workshops hosted by Ascentra staff.

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