Project Prosper: Empowering Immigrants with a Hand Up
As an immigrant coming to America, the change can be overwhelming. There’s a new language to learn, a new culture to adapt to, and a different currency to use. Project Prosper provides the tools to learn how to build a new life in the Tampa Bay area.
At a recent event to raise funds and awareness for Project Prosper, it was explained that immigrants are people looking for a better life, leaving their families, support systems, and loved ones behind in order to do so. Project Prosper understands how hard the transition can be and has created a program to teach immigrants about the American financial system as well as empower them to be the best they can be for themselves and their families.
Project Prosper impacts the lives of working immigrants by empowering them through education and opportunity of financial integration. Project Prosper has been able to give out approximately fifty-five loans which all but two have been paid back in full. Often times, these loans are used to pay for educational advancement, an automobile, or to apply for American citizenship. For every payment that is made on time, 10% is put into a savings account that will be available to the participant upon completion of the program. In addition to the loan, each person is paired with a mentor who provides much needed support to the participant. During the time that they have the loan, participants learn about the financial system, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans and debt, and how to protect themselves financially. The goal is to build the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. Every borrower is made aware that once they repay the loan that money can be given to someone else.
At the end of the event, Project Prosper awarded two recent participants their original loan agreements, a letter confirming completion of the program, and a letter confirming that the loan agreement was successfully completed. In addition, because both participants paid their loans back in full and on time, Project Prosper matched their savings $1 for $1. Each was also awarded a check for $300!
John Garcia, President and CEO of World Wide Medical Services, Inc. who recently became involved with Project Prosper, reminded everyone of the importance of giving back. Project Prosper is so much more powerful than just lending money.
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