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 resiliency
Building a countywide ecosystem of support that includes access to capital and the technical assistance small businesses need to thrive.
what is the living wage?
Learn more about the goals, work and investments of the Empowering Economic Opportunity initiative.
View the Northeast Regional Prior Learning Assessment Consortium (NERPLAC) Whitepaper here.
ECCF’s economic opportunity work is powered by contributions from our generous community.
December 2020 Initiative Update
economic opportunity news
New Regional Effort Means More Support for Merrimack Valley Businesses
After year-long pilot, strategies to grow local economy expand, become permanent By Michelle Curran A pilot effort to establish a targeted economic development strategy in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover is now part of the permanent...
Salem Announces New Small Business Loan Fund with Technical Assistance Services
The City of Salem is pleased to share a new opportunity for Salem’s entrepreneurs and business owners to access capital and technical assistance to start or to grow their business.
Creating Change by Investing in People
As a society, we invest in roads and buildings, in water and electric systems because they are vital to our economic development and prosperity. So are people. But do we invest effectively in our human infrastructure?
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...
get in touch
Executive Vice President & COO