FAME awarded grant to strengthen employee financial wellness program

Grant is Part of New National Initiative Supported by the Wells Fargo Foundation in Collaboration with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, and National Association of State Treasurers’ Foundation

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has been awarded a $25,000 grant to improve its employee financial wellness program. In addition to expanding and strengthening FAME’s existing program, the grant will support expanded research and development of a statewide employee financial wellness toolkit to support other Maine agencies and private employers that are seeking to develop their own programs.

Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, this one-year grant comes at a time when many of the nearly 19 million state and local government employees across the U.S. continue to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many governments are also confronting unprecedented budget shortfalls, and workers are increasingly concerned about family finances.

This grant is structured as a collaboration between the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), the National Association of State Treasurers’ Foundation (NASTF), and Wells Fargo. A total of twenty-four state and local government jurisdictions were awarded grants.

In a recent national poll conducted by SLGE, 56 percent of state and local public employees reported that their family has been negatively impacted financially by the crisis, and more than half are worried about their family finances, losing their job, furloughs, and pay and benefit reductions. During the one-year initiative, FAME will employ the funds not only to enhance its own employee wellness program, but also to support the research and development of a statewide employee financial wellness toolkit to support other Maine agencies and private employers that are seeking to develop their own programs.

“We are grateful to have been selected for this grant and look forward to sharing our positive experiences and expertise in this important area with others,” stated Mary Dyer, FAME Financial Education Officer. “As Maine’s higher education financing authority, FAME looks forward to sharing best practices and our own model with other state agencies and private employers to help them benefit, as well.”

In 2019, FAME launched an employee financial wellness program. The incentive-based program was developed using recognized best practices, as well as employee input and surveys. Key elements of the program include:

  • Three (3) one-hour, one-on-one, workplace financial coaching sessions, utilizing a certified financial coach. Spouses/partners were invited to participate in the sessions.
  • Access to a monthly “Money in the Mornings” workshop series, covering a variety of financial topics such as budgeting, saving for retirement, as well as will preparation and estate planning.
  • Access to self-directed e-learning modules delivered through Enrich®

As a result of the program, FAME employees have reported a greater sense of financial freedom, with many having paid-off credit card debt and boosted emergency savings. The program also has helped to foster a workplace culture that supports financial stability and reduced stress.

“Based on previous SLGE research, we know that only 29 percent of state and local government employers offer financial literacy programs to their workforce, while 68 percent of public employees would participate in these programs if they were offered one. This grant program offers a real opportunity for state agencies like FAME to strengthen financial wellness programs for workers who deliver important public services,” said Joshua Franzel, SLGE president and chief executive officer.

“Far too many public sector employees lack access to the financial wellness programs they want and need,” said Shaun Snyder, NAST and the NAST Foundation executive director. “NAST is proud to continue its commitment to financial education through this collaboration with FAME, which will strengthen financial wellness opportunities for public employees.”

Maine State Treasurer Henry Beck, a FAME board member and the Eastern Region Vice President of NAST, stated: “I am pleased to learn of FAME’s selection as a grant recipient. Maine will benefit from greater financial education and wellness, especially during this pandemic and economic downturn when many folks are struggling to make ends meet.”

“IPMA-HR is honored to be part of this initiative, and we look forward to seeing results from FAME’s planned program. We know that state and local employees with financial security are more engaged and better positioned to serve the public, making this initiative all the more vital during these unprecedented times,” said Cara Woodson Welch, IPMA-HR executive director.

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue business and educational opportunities. FAME helps to lead the creation of good paying jobs for Maine citizens by working at the nexus between economic and workforce development. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) helps local and state governments become knowledgeable and competitive employers so they can attract and retain a talented and committed workforce. SLGE identifies leading practices and conducts research on public retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, and labor force development. SLGE brings state and local leaders together with respected researchers. Access all SLGE publications and sign up for its newsletter at slge.org and follow @4GovtExcellence on Twitter.

The National Association of State Treasurers’ Foundation promotes and improves the educational initiatives that enable members to pursue and administer sound financial policies and programs benefiting the citizens of the nation. NAST Foundation programs provide for the enhancement of public officials’ understanding of the public financial arena and delivers education to the public about personal financial management. Founded in 2000, the charitable organization is governed by five-member board made up of State Treasurers. For more information, please visit nast.org/foundation/

The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) represents the interests of public sector human resource professionals at all levels of government. IPMA-HR provides comprehensive resources and solutions to assist public sector human resource professionals in ensuring that their organizations have the right talent to achieve their missions. The association provides a wide range of programs products and services that include research, professional development, certification, communications, public policy, and assessments. Additional information about IPMA-HR is available at www.ipma-hr.org.