Through the Empowering Economic Opportunity initiative, ECCF is committed to investing $1.5 million through 2022 in collaborative, systems solutions that are providing opportunities to make financial well-being possible for the nearly 300,000 people – 38% of Essex County residents – living below the living wage.
why empowering economic opportunity?
Since Impact Essex County’s launch in 2016, ECCF convened hundreds of community leaders to analyze the data and prioritize our county’s most pressing challenges. Ultimately, the issue of income inequality surfaced as a critical issue our region was ready and able to address.
In Essex County, nearly 300,000 people – 38% of all residents – are living below the living wage, making it difficult to afford life’s necessities. Just paying rent, putting groceries on the table and affording quality childcare is a struggle. It is nearly impossible to save for emergencies or higher education.
As an example, a family of four earning less than $84,000* a year falls below the living wage. Because the cost of living is significantly higher in Essex County, this is particularly alarming. Any unexpected life change like a job loss, divorce, an illness, or an accident, and the financial impact can be devastating.
Our goal is to equip thousands of Essex County residents living below the living wage with knowledge, tools and opportunities to make economic gains for themselves and their families.
2019 – 2022 areas of investment
financial coaching & literacy
Engaging residents in financial literacy education and one-on-one coaching.
small business fund
Offering micro-loans to non-bankable small businesses with technical support to prepare them for success.
what is the living wage?
Learn more about the goals, work and investments of the Empowering Economic Opportunity initiative
ECCF’s economic opportunity work is powered by contributions from our generous community.
economic opportunity news
Michelle Xiarhos Curran, ECCF Communications Writer Small and micro-businesses create jobs, drive community and urban revitalization, and foster local wealth. But oftentimes, they do not qualify for the loans they need to start or sustain operations. This winter, a...
Michelle Xiarhos Curran, ECCF Communications Writer PHOTO COURTESY OF COMMUNITY ACTION, INC. In Haverhill, low-income women – mothers who are working to support their children and families – are being empowered to take charge of their finances through an innovative...
Michelle Xiarhos Curran, ECCF Communications Writer According to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, by 2020, an estimated 72 percent of jobs in Massachusetts will require a postsecondary education. In fact, Massachusetts is one of 27...
Gloucester, MA – Outside 33 Commercial Street in Gloucester, gray skies hang over Harbor Cove, where the sounds of a bustling luxury hotel next door and the smell of fish linger in the air. The cove, alive with activity, is home to many businesses that rely on the...
Updates on ECCF's Project to Help Thousands of Residents Living Below the Living Wage Empowering Economic Opportunity is the Alpha Project of ECCF’s Impact Essex County initiative, the Foundation’s lasting commitment to address the most critical issues affecting...
get in touch
COO & VP For Community Leadership