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Aurora Financial Empowerment Center Fund

Established 2022

Aurora Financial Empower Center Logo - Free One-on-One Financial Counseling

The City of Aurora Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) provides no-cost, high-quality, one-on-one financial counseling for low -and moderate-income residents as a free public service.

The Aurora Financial Empowerment Center Fund was established through the Community Foundation to support the mission and work to enhance program services that aim to reduce the social and racial wealth gap and offer greater financial mobility to Aurora residents. The goal of the Aurora FEC is to empower people towards financial freedom by investing in human development and quality of life.

Aurora is the 2nd largest city in the state with an extremely diverse community; however, over 11% of residents have incomes below the federal poverty level and approximately 35% live paycheck to paycheck.  Female-led households account for the highest impacted with 25.6% falling below poverty line.

Aurora opened Illinois’ first Financial Empowerment Center and has plans for growth and expansion. Since launching in 2020, the Aurora FEC, a partnership between the City of Aurora, The Neighbor Project and Cities for Financial Empowerment, has helped thousands of residents reduce millions of dollars in household debt, increase savings and improve their credit scores.  In 2022 they received the distinguished title of Expert City by Bloomberg Philanthropies Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund for their service excellence.

Financial counseling works well as a public service and the City of Aurora is committed to improving the quality of life of its residents.  Aurora FEC services are funded through City of Aurora funds, grants, and in-kind contributions from sponsors and donors to provide no-cost services to residents. Partnerships and collaborations between local government, community-based organizations and philanthropy is foundational for counseling delivery, resident engagement, outcome achievement and program sustainability.

To learn more about the Aurora Financial Empowerment Center program visit their website.


Piloted in New York City, under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, the Financial Empowerment Center model operated for 10 years, in 7 cities working with more than 82,000 clients helping them reduce debt by more than $100 million and increasing savings by $10 million.  The project evaluation revealed that despite significant financial obstacles and low-incomes, people who had access to free financial counseling services succeeded in reducing debt, improving credit, opening bank accounts and event saving for emergencies and for their future.

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund was established in 2012 as a national nonprofit organization that provides startup funding and technical assistance to mayors and their teams to develop, launch, replicate, test and embed financial empowerment strategies into local government infrastructure.  To learn more about the CFE Fund, visit their website at

Thank you very much for supporting my college education for these four years. I will never be able to repay you for the opportunity that this scholarship has given to me.

Julia H.

[Renewing Scholarship Recipient] Graduate of Hinkley-Big Rock High School

We chose the Community Foundation because of its reputation. It’s well known, established and we can trust them to do the job for us.

Dick Schindel

Richard and Susan Schindel Scholarship Funds

A community foundation is a donor-driven organization that helps donors custom-design funds that reflect their charitable interests. Through the years, grants from these funds have made a significant impact on our local communities.

Sharon Stredde

President Emeritus

There’s no question in my mind that the scholarship I received opened up possibilities.

Marianne Renner

Past Scholarship Recipient & Current Leadership Coach

…you can always start small, even $25 can make a difference. Remember we can’t take our money with us. Even if it’s just your gift of time. Volunteer and get involved.

Cris Anderson

Cristina & Thomas S. Anderson Endowment Fund | Tom & Cris Anderson Colonial Advisory Fund

As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I was worried about how I was going to pay for books and supplies. This scholarship will allow me to focus more on my studies instead of worrying about how to afford college. I am working to not only create opportunities for myself but to motivate future generations. Thank you so much for helping me along this journey!

Moises J.

Claude & Alice Allen Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley

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