It takes a village: Growing financial literacy and confidence

ATB and the United Way celebrate 10 years of powering financial education with Empower U

By ATB Financial 28 November 2022 3 min read

Developed a decade ago by the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, Empower U: Building Confident Futures is a financial empowerment program that helps Albertans increase their financial literacy and gain access to tools and resources to meet their goals. With the support of 10 community agencies across Edmonton — and with ATB more than a banking partner — the program has seen great success, with over 2,000 participants since its inception in 2012.

Empower U teaches strategies that are fundamental in helping participants make sound financial decisions. Students are also provided with the opportunity to meet with a financial coach to develop concrete action plans, which help them meet their goals.

“There’s no one size fits all solution for financial literacy and economic empowerment,” says Rob Yager, president and CEO of United Way, Alberta Capital Region. “That’s why the Empower U programs are designed to be adapted by agencies so the program can fit the needs of the participants - not the other way around.”

One other key component of Empower U is the matching program, where participants contribute to a savings account, which is then matched 2:1. Once they meet their savings goal, participants use these funds for a purchase that will enhance their quality of life (like a laptop for work or school, or a bike to get to work) and/or make them more financially resilient (like an RRSP or RESP).

In 2021 alone, 169 participants completed the program, with 80 participants reaching their match-savings goals - equating to over $42,000 in participant and match-savings. In the last ten years, one million dollars of assets have been purchased through the program.


Personalized advice from ATB program ambassadors

When program participants open their Empower U bank account, designated ATB program ambassadors are there to welcome and provide advice to them.
Coming off the heels of ATB’s new brand launch, Powering Possibility, the 10 year program celebration is a testament to our commitment to driving positive societal change and growing financial literacy levels.

“We have a role to play in ensuring we are creating a positive, welcoming and supportive banking experience for everyone,” says Tanya Hulbert, vice president of Everyday Financial Services at ATB. “Empower U is just one example of our steadfast commitment to meeting Albertans where they are and helping them become confident individuals in charge of their future.”

To celebrate this monumental milestone and congratulate this year's graduates, the United Way and ATB recently hosted a speaker series featuring Empower U graduate success stories, financial empowerment and informational community partner sessions.


Empower U's real life results

Tsitsi Chiwara, a recent Empower U graduate and immigrant to Canada, took to the stage to share how the program changed her thinking. She says the program helped her create a sound future for herself and her two children. Chiwara was called to the Alberta bar in 2021, and is now a divorce lawyer.

“Women’s empowerment through financial inclusion remains unfinished business,” says Chiwara. “Empower U is bridging that gap by creating a safe space for women from all walks of life to come and take charge by building secure financial futures.”

While financial hardship continues to be a challenge for many, Empower U is working hard to springboard greater financial confidence by providing individuals and families, with different socio-economic backgrounds and lived experiences with the tools and knowledge they need to be in charge of their future.

At ATB, we’re laser focused on helping Albertans defy the impossible - no matter how big or small their goals. With our new promise Powering Possibility as our guiding principle, coupled with our clients’ vision and our expertise, we hope to instill a strong sense of confidence to help propel Albertans’ possibilities forward.

Learn how we can help you defy the impossible here.

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