our work

economic opportunity

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

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

Woman graduating and holding a sign that says "I did it for my children and family"

financial coaching & literacy

Engaging residents in financial literacy education and one-on-one coaching.

Women posing for the camera in front of a sign

credit for prior learning

Enabling adult learners to translate their skills and experience into college credits resulting in reduced costs and time to graduate.

Customer purchasing at the register at a local shop

small business fund

Offering micro-loans to non-bankable small businesses with technical support to prepare them for success.

Members at a meeting looking at presentation

essex county think labs

Harnessing local knowledge to inspire creative thinking that can impact the economic landscape.

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

New Loan Fund to Help Strengthen Small Businesses

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...

EEO: Financial Literacy Helps People Prep for the Future

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...

CPL Can Make a College Degree a Reality for More People

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...

Essex County Think Lab Focuses on North Shore Blue Economy

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...

Empowering Economic Opportunity Moves Full Steam Ahead

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...

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Empowering Economic Opportunity in Essex County cover page

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Stratton Lloyd

COO & VP For Community Leadership
978-777-8876 x126

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  1. 175 Andover Street, Suite 101
    Danvers, Massachusetts 01923