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[News Channel 3 WREG Memphis]. (2022, December 16). BRIGHT SPOT Free program helps Memphians get out of debt, save money [Video]. News Channel 3 WREG Memphis.

Financial literacy is a critical skill that empowers individuals to make well-informed decisions when managing their money and building a secure financial future. Unfortunately, many groups that have been historically excluded from dominant economic and social systems continue to lack access to the tools and resources necessary to navigate the complex world of personal finance and break the cycle of poverty. RISE (Realizing. Income. Stability. Empowerment.) program initiatives are crucial in narrowing Tennessee's wealth gap and fostering economic inclusion for all residents. They equip individuals with the tools to achieve financial self-sufficiency through program offerings, such as financial literacy workshops, seminars, and one-on-one counseling.

In May 2023, the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported that, on average, Black families had about 25 cents for every $1 of White family wealth. This racial wealth gap is influenced by an accumulation of historical factors spanning four centuries, such as slavery, segregation, and other discriminatory practices. Together, these factors have limited opportunities for wealth accumulation for historically excluded communities, such as Black individuals and families.

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, RISE equips low-income individuals and families with practical tools and knowledge to become self-sufficient by building and sustaining human and financial assets. Since May 2022, they have served about 425 youths, 300 adults, and 100 senior citizens with a staff of just 14. Their programming covers budgeting, saving, credit management, and investment strategies that help people make well-informed financial choices, reduce debt, and build long-term wealth.

What drives the staff at RISE is the mission of helping people change their relationship with money. Through formal education programs and incentives, they provide in-person and online financial workshops and coaching for everyone, from teens to seniors. These include basic money management, how to access incentives for first-time home buyers, post-secondary education, microenterprise development, and computer purchases. They also ensure that people are educated and aware of predatory lenders and financial scams to safeguard their financial stability.

A grant from the Maximus Foundation helped fund the costs of offering these programs, including program staff, materials, and supplies, as well as administrative costs related to professional services and software maintenance. With an established history of supporting the underserved in Memphis and Shelby County, Maximus has found a shared mission with RISE in improving the lives of the people who reside there.

Learn more about how RISE helps improve lives by providing financial literacy tools and incentives to help families build assets, make well-informed financial decisions, and improve their economic wellbeing.

Giving back to the communities we serve

The Maximus Foundation is one of the ways Maximus employees are doing something greater together. Established by the Maximus Board of Directors in 2000, the Maximus Foundation is an independent, employee-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Employee donors pool their contributions together through the Foundation, increasing their community impact by supporting nonprofits that serve the same communities we do. Employee donors double their impact through Maximus’ dollar-for-dollar matching pledge and make their voices heard by nominating and voting for future grantee partners. Learn more at