Transforming an idea into action on any level is not easy and starting your own non-profit in the highly competitive world of financial tech requires even more. But beyond all of those efforts, some of the burden lies on the rest of us and our willingness to make change. Will we take a chance on not just a person or an idea, but an entire industry shift?
PRIER's answer was a resounding yes when Onward Financial began its pilot program last spring. We said yes to creating financial safety nets and education for our workers, and we said yes to obliterating the payday loan cycle of debt. These answers can help change our community, which can serve as the ignition for change in other communities, leading to the eventual shift away from the high interest, quick-cash solutions that tear down the financial security of so many people.
Kansas City has been listening, too. Recently Onward was chosen to participate in the city's Innovation Partnership Program led by Kansas City Mayor, Sly James, sparking more interest on a bigger platform. "We launched a second pilot in partnership with Kansas City's Credit Union and can now offer Onward to city employees and those living in Jackson and Clay counties," announced Ronnie Washington, Onward's founder and CEO.
While Onward is settling in to KC, it is also gaining traction on the west coast. Partnering with the startup accelerator, Fast Forward, Ronnie Washington pitched at Blackrock to potential investors. With a successful pilot at PRIER under his belt, Washington presented with the confidence needed to attract additional funding. Click this link to watch his presentation and learn more about Onward's mission.
Onward's momentum is inspiring! One idea has become the mission of a financial wellness non-profit that will no doubt continue to improve the lives of workers here in Kansas City, and beyond. We are rooting for you, Onward! Keep igniting the change our communities so desperately need...and we will be here at PRIER saving our money (responsibly) for that inevitable rainy day.