Driven to help households better manage their finances and attain financial stability, a number of nonprofits, financial services providers, and government agencies have turned to the concept of financial capability in the search for effective solutions. Programs and tools designed to build financial capability focus on helping consumers adopt or improve upon good financial behaviors such as saving consistently and making good use of financial products.

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) has been a proponent of financial capability since 2009, when we assessed the landscape of promising strategies for affecting consumers’ financial behavior. Inspired by the opportunities for innovation, we launched the Financial Capability Innovation Fund in 2010. Through the Fund, CFSI provided technical assistance, strategic guidance and a total of $1.5 million to five nonprofits whose projects proposed to test new strategies for building financial capability.

In 2012, CFSI launched the Financial Capability Innovation Fund II (FCIF II) to support another round of innovative nonprofit-led efforts to help low-income and underserved consumers build financial capability. With the support of a collaborative of funders led by the Citi Foundation and also including the Capital One Foundation, NYSE Euronext Foundation, Charles Schwab Bank, Charles Schwab Foundation, and Experian, the FCIF II will provide eight projects with a total of $2.5 million in addition to valuable non-monetary support (full descriptions of the projects are provided in the Appendix).