Why We Do What We Do
The Neighbor Project’s work is build on three core values
Core Value #1: Neighbors Build Neighborhoods
The people that make the biggest difference in Aurora are our neighbors! Research shows that ordinary working people have the greatest power to transform a city. When individual families increase their financial health, the entire community benefits.
In fact, According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities “There is a growing body of research that convincingly links…household financial well-being…to the health and growth of the U.S. Economy” (Bernstein, 2015). This means that the more we invest in individual family’s financial well-being, the more we are investing in and improving our collective well-being.
Core Value #2: Assets Build Financial Freedom
For a typical working family, the difference between financial freedom and financial vulnerability isn’t lack of income—it’s lack of assets. Work should pay, but cycles of debt and disadvantage keep assets like savings or a home just out of reach for many. How do you save and obtain an asset?
The Neighbor Project has built a pathway to help with just that—and this pathway is for everyone. The pathway is designed to meet individuals and families where they are today—whether that is a need to maximize income through budgeting, pay down debt and build credit, access a tool to help save money, or accumulate and keep an asset like a home—in order to enhance individual and collective financial well-being. This is not work we do for people; this is work we do with people. This work is collective. Because we’re all in this together.
Core Value #3: We’re Here to Empower Each Other
Human beings were made to love their neighbors. When I set you free, I set myself free too. We need each other. And when we embrace that, we can actually change the world.
Dr. Steven Mainard Caliendo, author of “Inequality in America: Race, Poverty and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise,” explains the concept of “Social Capital” by asking, “How much do I have a stake in seeing my neighbor be prosperous and successful? How interconnected do I feel?” He goes on to explain that “In this country we pay taxes to support schools even if we don’t have kids. The idea is that my community is a better place if the people around me have an education. That’s one form of Social Capital.” With regard to TNP’s Networked Savings program, Dr. Caliendo continues, “The Neighbor Project’s vision is a version of that. It’s completely voluntary. There’s no taxation. There’s no government involvement. This is individuals saying to other individuals, ‘I choose to invest in you.’ This is a model that says, ‘if I can make your life better, then that makes my life better too, because you and I are connected. We live in the same world’. It is neither Liberal nor Conservative, Democratic nor Republican. It’s human. It’s loving. It’s smart and it works.”
The only way forward is together.