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Fors Marsh Group Partners With Britepaths to Improve Financial Literacy for Low-Income Working Families

Fors Marsh Group (FMG) has partnered with Britepaths—a mission-driven nonprofit helping families achieve financial stability—to conduct research and develop communications materials that will increase the number of low-income working families participating in no-cost financial coaching services. These services are offered at Britepaths’ Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) in Fairfax County, Virginia. This pro bono effort is part of FMG’s Social Engagement through Research-Centered Volunteerism (SERV) community service program. SERV provides local nonprofit organizations, like Britepaths, with best-in-class qualitative and quantitative research and consulting services that they might not otherwise be able to access or afford.

“For over 30 years, Britepaths has developed sustainable solutions to help stabilize low-income working families, particularly through free financial literacy training and mentoring,” said Lisa Whetzel, Executive Director of Britepaths. “Britepaths’ Financial Literacy Program provides financial counseling or budgeting classes to over 600  Northern Virginia residents each year, and the program has demonstrated an 80% success rate in increasing clients’ financial stability. However, in spite of this success, Britepaths has struggled to get people to take advantage of these helpful services.”

To increase awareness of the program, FMG has implemented a phased research approach, which will be used to develop strategic communications and update messaging materials. FMG evaluated the FEC’s existing marketing and communications materials, and  conducted interviews with current and prospective clients, as well as with community stakeholders. These interviews provided valuable information on the reasons for and barriers to seeking out financial planning services and helped identify concepts that may resonate with target audiences. 

FMG is working to develop outreach materials that highlight FEC’s services that are most needed by families going through major life transitions. Given the FEC’s growing social media presence, these materials will be developed so that they can be posted online. FMG is also working to develop an email newsletter template that will be used by BritePaths in their outreach efforts.

As a Certified B Corp, Fors Marsh Group is committed to ensuring that all of our business practices benefit our employees, community, and environment. We are proud to serve our local community with impactful services through SERV and to provide traditionally underserved groups in the community with better resources and improved services

About the author

Laura Severance and Rhy Curry

Ms. Rhyannon Curry is a senior human capital consultant at Fors Marsh Group, with over thirteen years of experience in program management, strategic management consulting, change management, training and development, and cultural advising in federal, state, and non-profit sectors. At Fors Marsh Group, Ms. Curry has led management consulting teams to restructure federal organizations, provide strategic planning consulting, and advise on multi-million dollar federal budgets. She has led teams to develop and execute award-winning leadership development training and instructor-led and web-based training. Other areas of interest include cultural consulting (with expertise in Native North America and the Middle East), Veterans issues, and federal restructuring and downsizing.

Dr. Laura Severance is the Director of Military Personnel Research at Fors Marsh Group. She has a background in gender dynamics and sexual assault, with a focus on the Military, military recruiting, cross-cultural issues, and negotiation. Laura’s team conducts research (primarily surveys and focus groups) related to quality-of-life issues within the Military, focusing on gender relations, race/ethnicity-based discrimination, general force well-being, and military spouse well-being, among other topics. Read Laura's full bio here

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