Right now credit checks are a modern exclusion tool, used to enable discrimination in situations where it would otherwise be illegal. This means that those formerly incarcerated face barriers in assimilating back into society by accessing housing, employment, and banking services. They’re also forced to pay higher rates for car insurance, cell phone plans, utilities and credit cards. fINEQUITY is trying to solve this through financial education and literacy, and in the future access to small-dollar, zero-interest loans, reporting to credit bureaus to help increase scores and other post-release services.
Last night, a team of 30 UX Designers, Visual Designers, Content Strategists, UX and Copywriters, Service Designers, and Innovation Strategists came together to solve against 4 clear focus areas:
- Enrollment - How might we make it feel vital to potential students to sign up for our program?
- Curriculum - How might we re-imagine dense learning materials to be less intimidating and more interesting, approachable and engaging?
- Lack of progress - How might we help participants move through the program when progress might be slow or stalled?
- Scale - How might we help spread awareness about our program to friends of those incarcerated, as well as potential donors, so that we can grow reach and impact?
The whole event was expertly run by Ivan Entchevitch, who led our teams through the personas, the user journeys, and the different briefs. Each team was overseen by a talented group of workshop leads and we want to say a big thank you to Ruben Sun, Salima Nathoo, Sarah Ajani, Ariella Chivil, and Meg Luce, who were a vital part of making sure this event went smoothly!
To everyone that came and donated their time, thank you so much. What came out of a 3 hour virtual session was incredible and I look forward to seeing fINEQUITY putting some of these ideas into action.
Personally, I learnt a lot about the challenges that face those who are formally incarcerated and the level of exclusion and discrimination they face. The teams had access to subject matter experts. We heard from William, who had spent 30 years in prison, about his experience before, during and after incarceration and this really highlighted and emphasized how important education is, particularly financial education. While it is vital for those who are currently in the system to develop financial literacy in order to assimilate back into society, we should be thinking about how to encourage and create pathways to economic security for those who are facing systemic and racial barriers to education and employment.
If you would like to support the fINEQUITY cause please check out the below links: