Money Matters

NAACP Releases Report Card: Florida Failing in Key Categories

NAACP_logo_2010

The NAACP Florida State Conference releases a statewide Economic Development Report Card upon examining the records of cities, counties, school districts and private sector organizations.

FORT LAUDERDALE— Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and Torey Alston, State Economic Development Chair released a statewide Economic Development Report Card after examining the records of leading public and private organizations over the last several months.

“I am excited to release this year’s Diversity Matters Report Card the records of public agencies from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys,” says Adora Obi Nweze, who also serves as a member of the National Board of the NAACP. “Diversity and inclusion continue to be a challenge in Florida and the NAACP will continue to sound the alarm for equality and fairness for all Floridians.”

The Diversity Matters Initiative examined the records of targeted cities, counties, school districts and private corporations statewide.  The NAACP Florida State Conference examined their records on employment, advertising and spending with minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.  The NAACP Florida State Conference conducts this review annually, proposes recommendations and releases its findings to the public. 

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“Our Diversity Matters Report Card is an annual investigation reviewing workforce diversity, local contracting expenditures and advertising budgets in urban, rural and suburban areas,” says Torey Alston, who led this statewide effort on diversity and serves as 3rd Vice-President of the NAACP Florida State Conference. “This year’s report card continues to show cities, counties, school districts, and private companies have diversity and inclusion as the last priority.  While there are some bright spots, there is still much work to be done ensuring diversity and inclusion is reflected in all aspects of government and the private sector.”

Here is the grading scale and methodology used for the report card:

Diversity Metric /Overall Total = Grade

  • A – Excellent (25% and higher): Meets and exceeds diversity and inclusion standards
  • B – Above Average (20% to 24%): Above average performance on diversity and inclusion standards 
  • C – Average (15% to 19%): Average performance on diversity and inclusion standards
  • D – Below Average (14% to 18%): Below average performance on diversity and inclusion standards
  • F – Failing (13% and below): Does not meet diversity and inclusion standards
  • *F – Not Reported

TOTAL

GRADE

#

PERCENTAGE

A

0

0.0%

B

5

12.5%   

C

1

2.5%

D

12

30.0%

F

22

55.0%

Total

40

 

Looking closer at the report card, none of the 40 entities evaluated received a total grade of “A.” Only five entities received a total grade of “B” --- Duval County School District, Hendry County School District, Miami-Dade County School District, City of Fort Walton Beach, and Manatee County Board of Commissioners. One entity, Osceola County Board of Commissioners, received a total grade of “C.” Thirty-four, or 85% of the entities evaluated, received a total grade of “D” or “F.”

There is significant room for improvement in the categories dealing with spending and advertising & marketing. No surprise, is the abysmal failing grade in those areas as several local individuals and organizations have complained of this disparity in contracting with black businesses for many years. All the entities received an “F” in the “Small, Veteran & Minority Business Spending” category except one. Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners received a “D.”

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The NAACP releases report cards every year. Now that this report card has been released, it is crucial that organizations and individuals throughout Florida are relentless in demanding transparency and diversity in how the tax dollars in their respective communities are allocated and spent.

 


Bank of America shut down!

On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 200 people from the 99% marched on the 1%, Bank of America, in Miami. They marched from the Bethel AME Church in Overtown, one of the hardest hit Black communities in Miami, to the downtown branch of Bank of America, where bank managers locked the doors before angry customers could go in and close their accounts.

BoA is a clear representative of the 1% and how they treat the rest of America. BoA continues to foreclose on homes, continues to nickel and dime customers through stupid fees, and continues to function on greed.

The Miami Workers Center will continue fighting for the 99%, working towards racial and economic justice for all people. Stay tuned!

Bank of America shut down!


HSC→Catalyst Miami Prosperity Campaign and Financial Planning Association of Miami-Dade Offer Vital Tax Preparation Guidance

NoTagCatalystHSClogo2    FPA

Miami, FL  - With the 2010 income tax season quickly approaching the April 18th filing deadline, HSCCatalyst Miami  (formerly the Human Services Coalition) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA®) of Miami-Dade strive to heighten awareness of the free income tax help, financial counseling, and government assistance available to South Floridians.

 

 

Via the Prosperity Campaign outreach initiative, HSCCatalyst Miamileads community efforts in connecting low-and moderate-wage workers with free tax preparation and filing to capture the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

 

 

The Prosperity Campaign works intimately with businesses to assist workers with access to publicly-funded economic benefits and financial literacy education to improve quality of life.  Additionally, they are generously supported by the business community which not only contributes time, but donations such as Bank United's recent gift of 30 computers to Prosperity Center and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program partners.

 

 

In collaboration with the FPA of Miami-Dade chapter, who has provided pro-bono tax season counseling to South Floridian individuals and families on CBS4 Neighbors 4 Neighbors Phone Banks, here are the following essential pointers for free tax preparation at Prosperity Campaign sites:

 

 

  • The best way to receive free tax preparation direction and help is to dial 211, 311, or 305-576-5001. Also, see www.prosperitycampaign.org for further details. Services are available in English, Spanish, and Creole.

 

  • The refundable EITC is a tax credit which applies to earned income, such as wages from employment. Households with income of less than $49,000 (for 2010) are qualified for free tax preparation and potentially eligible for EITC.

 

  • To obtain free tax preparation assistance, bring employer W2 and 1099 forms, information on any other income (i.e. Social Security, unemployment, and benefit statements), and photo identifications and Social Security cards (including spouses and children) of all individuals and dependents appearing on the return.

 

 


March Financial Tip by Lisa Rogers-Cherry

Drowningindebt

 
Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95). Lisa writes monthly financial tips for www.bloggingblackmiami.com and writes articles for various newpapers and magazines.  If you have a question or for more information go to www.redpenpress.com, e-mail her at Lisa@redpenpress.com, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.

Judge Karen and the Anybody Can Serve Challenge

Miami Judge Karen Mills-Francis of the new tv court show "Judge Karen's Court" premiering this fall is the Celebrity spokesperson for the" 30-60-90 Day Challenge". The "30-60-90 Day Challenge" will pit low-middle income families (families that make $50,000 or less a year) from all over the country against each other in a competition to see who can conserve the most energy.

   

From the website http://www.anybodycanserve.org/challenge.html

   

"Anybody Can Serve is about helping people become informed and engaged in the movement towards a more affordable, energy efficient, eco-friendly society; and Anybody Can Serve is putting the tools and resources in people's hands to do so without putting a strain on their pocketbooks.

Now more than ever, Americans are paying the costs associated with our inefficient use of energy services. Whether it's frustration over our ever-increasing utility bills or concern over depleting our natural energy resources, we appreciate the affects of inefficient energy consumptions in ways unrealized by previous generations. We all recognize the importance of energy efficiency, just as we realize that time is of the essence, but oftentimes we tend to overlook the simple things that we can do at home to impact our energy consumption.

This is why Anybody Can Serve—we each play a role in reshaping our environmental future no matter our socio-economic background; and we each have the power to minimize the costs of energy inefficiency. We can change the tide and alter history by making simple changes to our daily lifestyles that will help improve the environment with the added benefit of reducing our energy bills."

Judge Karen's role is to encourage people to participate with the winner of this challenge having their electric bills paid up to 3 months. Those eligible should sign up on the website before the April 1, 2010 deadline. Please spread the word!


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Financial Tip of the Month by Lisa Rogers-Cherry

Income Tax

Many people are preparing to file their income tax returns. I recommend that you do not opt for the rapid refund, because most of the time you leave too much money on the table. This year, if you are one of the individuals who will receive a refund, make your best effort to put away as much of that money as possible in some sort of account which will allow you to build a savings. Your ultimate goal should be to have atleast four to six months of your monthly salary in a savings account.  Prepare now for your rainy day.

 
 
Lisa'spic_pdf[1] Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95). Lisa writes monthly financial tips for www.bloggingblackmiami.com and can be heard on www.wmbm.com  on the Let's Talk Money Show.  If you have a question or for more information go to www.redpenpress.com, e-mail her at Lisa@redpenpress.com, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.
 

United Way: Program provides thousands in savings on prescription drugs

In Miami-Dade County, three in 10 residents under the age of 65 are without health insurance; that's approximately 600,000 people.

This rate is expected to rise as the rate of unemployment continues in the double-digits, causing even more families to lose jobs and as a result, their health insurance.

In order to bring relief to these families, United Way of Miami-Dade has partnered with FamilyWize, a nationwide community service partnership that works with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to make prescription drug discount cards available to uninsured and underinsured people.

United Way is distributing FamilyWize Prescription Drug Discount Cards, making it possible for individuals and families who use the cards to potentially save up to 40 percent on the cost of their prescription medicines.  To look up discount amounts of specific medications, visit the FamilyWize website.  The cards can be used as often as needed, for any prescription and for anyone in the family, with no income limit, age requirement, eligibility or registration required.

"Forty percent of adults don’t buy the medicines they need, have difficulty affording them or reduce the required dosage because of high costs. The FamilyWize prescription drug discount cards will help those who otherwise could not afford to buy the medicines they need,” Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade, said.

The cards are free-of-charge, in both English and Spanish, and are accepted at more than 500 pharmacies countywide, including COSTCO, Walgreens, Publix, Target, Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie and Navarro Discount Pharmacy, which recently partnered with United Way to both distribute and accept the card at all its 28 Miami-Dade locations.   A card can also be printed directly from our website: FamilyWize Prescription Drug Discount Card.  To find a list of participating pharmacies near you, click here.

No one should have to choose between their bills and their health.  If you or someone you know is without health insurance or has insufficient coverage, inform them about FamilyWize.  Print the card today and start saving. 

For more information, please contact Jeff Hawley at (305) 646-7086 or hawleyj@unitedwaymiami.org



10 Holiday Shopping Tips by Lisa Rogers-Cherry

Shopping-spree


 
1. Make a list for who and what you're buying and set a budget for each.
 
2. Be sure to take the advertisement to the store with you for the items that you want to purchase.
 
3. Pay close attention to your purse and/or wallet. Pickpockets are extra busy during this season.
 
4. Keep all of your receipts in an envelope and ask for gift receipts when making purchases for others.
 
5. Give gifts that you can make.
 
6. If you have to mail gifts, don't wait to the last minute. Send them early, if possible.
 
7. Avoid the crowds and shop online. Be sure to google online promotion codes and coupons for the stores that you are purchasing from.
 
8. Use cash only to make purchases.  Do not use your credit cards!
 
9. Steer clear of buying extended warranties.  Usually the manufacturers warranty covers the first year anyway.
 
10. If you have a large family, pull names and purchase one gift instead of purchasing for each family member.
 
 
 
Lisa'spic_pdf[1] Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95). Lisa writes monthly financial tips for www.bloggingblackmiami.com and can be heard on www.wmbm.com  on the Let's Talk Money Show.  If you have a question or for more information go to www.redpenpress.com, e-mail her at Lisa@redpenpress.com, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.
 

SMART SHOPPING FOR COLLEGE MONEY

YOU CAN AFFORD TO GO TO COLLEGE.

CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO?

 

SMART SHOPPING FOR COLLEGE MONEY

 

If your family income is less than $250,000,

You may be eligible for financial aid!

 

u   Learn how to navigate the system

u   Hear testimonies from scholarship recipients

u   Learn about financial aid and scholarships

u   Step by Step through the FAFSA application

 

 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10:00—1:00 p.m.

Temple Beth Sholom

4144 Chase Avenue, Miami Beach

 

RSVP to Tamara Kaz at tk @tbsmb.org or 305.538.7231 x232

 

FREE Community Event

A program for High School Juniors, Seniors and their families

 

 


Financial Tip of the Month by Lisa Rogers-Cherry: Don't Spend Money to De-Stress

Lisa 
Lisa Rogers-Cherry

Don’t spend money to de-stress. As we approach the festive season, a time that is considered by some as one of the most stressful times of the year -- I ask that you do not spend money to de-stress.  Some people will often make purchases to make themselves feel better. Think of what big ticket items you have purchased when you were sad, depressed or were simply having a bad day. I used to spend money just to wind down after a stressful day. Sometimes I would end up buying things that I didn't need to make myself feel better. Now, I’ve found that I feel better by finding something constructive to do like writing in a journal, trying a new recipe, reading a book, or spending time with my family. Can you think of several things that you can do instead of spending money?

 
 
Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95). Lisa writes monthly financial tips for www.bloggingblackmiami.com and can be heard on www.wmbm.com  on the Let's Talk Money Show.  If you have a question or for more information go to www.redpenpress.com, e-mail her at Lisa@redpenpress.com, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.