Mission: The mission of Branches, Inc. is “to serve, educate and inspire people through student, family and financial stability services in partnership with our communities.”
Results: Branches’ recent achievements include:
•100% of our students who remain engaged in the Grow and Climb programs, graduate from High School
•93% of students maintained or increased their grades last school year
•94% of our students return year over year to our Grow and Climb programs.
•90% of our High School graduates pursue a post-secondary education.
•86% of adults who complete a financial stability plan increase income, reduce debt or improve their credit score or a combination thereof.
•Last year alone, Branches provided financial wellness and small business services to over 5,600 individuals in our community.
Target demographics: Branches provides life-changing opportunities to working families and their children to help them break the cycle of generational poverty.
Geographic areas served: Miami, FL
Programs: Grow Program - serves elementary students preparing them for lifelong success through enrichment of their minds, bodies and hearts. Our engagement with the students begins after school with tutoring and homework help but continues with enrichment activities including: Summer Shade Camp, Recreational Activities, Social Skill Development, Mentoring and Healthy Meals and Snacks. The Branches Grow program serves 250 children each year and is among the top 10% performing programs as rated by The Children’s Trust. Over 400 students attended the 2019 Summer Shade camp, who otherwise would have no enriching or safe program to attend when school is not in session. Branches also hired 43 of its Climb program youth to serve as summer guides (camp counselors) for Summer Shade, enabling them to earn some money, build their resumes and learn valuable leadership skills.
Climb Program - serves middle and high school students focusing on the development of their individual assets in order to maximize opportunities to become better students and better people. Through the guidance and support of caring staff and volunteers, Branches youth are able to participate in: Life Skills, Service Projects, OASIS Spring Break Camp, Academic Tutoring and Retreats. By participating in Climb activities, youth stay on track to climb in their outlook, climb in school and climb in life. The Climb program serves over 160 youth each year. Over 200 students attended the 2019 OASIS Spring Break camp where they could retreat away from the pressures of their daily lives in order to experience a supportive environment.
Branches also recently launched the Climb to College & Career program which prepares and assists high school students to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary for postsecondary success. The program currently serves 188 students and provides a series of workshops, mentoring and completion of a postsecondary plan. The college and career students will be eligible for a Climb thru College Scholarship designed to enable highly motivated high school graduates who have participated at Branches for at least two years to compete for college or technical/vocational scholarships. This additional support is intended to be an incentive and a reinforcement toward successful pursuit of becoming a postsecondary graduate.
Achieve Programs - The family of Achieve Programs provide a continuum of financial services that equips and enables families to achieve increased financial stability and long-term success in life. Achieve programs create opportunity, stimulate productivity and ultimately lead to financial stability and long term success:
1. One-on-One Financial Coaching- Financial coaches work one-on-one with families to understand their circumstances, helping them complete financial action plans that include: budgets, credit improvement, tax preparation and review, money saving solutions, asset building and referrals to partners. Financial coaches establish long-term relationships with clients that encourage them speak freely and confidentially and to receive specific guidance relevant to their needs.
2. The United Way Center for Financial Stability (UWCFS) in North Dade and South Dade is housed and operated by Branches. The UWCFS provides families and individuals with a full range of services and support to help them secure financial independence.
3. Free Tax Preparation Services/VITA - These services help hard working families and individuals secure tax credits they depend on to pay down debts, start small businesses, invest in reliable transportation, put a down payment on a home, and in general save and invest in their future. Since 2015, Branches has lead the Miami Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coalition, a group of 23 strong community-based partners that help hard-working families secure more of their hard earned money by providing access to services, at no cost to them.
4. ASSETS Small Business Solutions provides business assessment and entrepreneurial readiness workshops, comprehensive business management training, personal one-on-one financial coaching, one-on-one technical assistance, peer support networking groups, and ongoing business support services.
5. Ways to Work Program provides financial education and coaching to remove barriers to employment by promoting reliable transportation. This reduces work absence or tardiness and increases income for participants, increases financial literacy skills, credit worthiness of participants to access additional assets, improved access to better child care programs, after school activities, and health care facilities.
6. The Emergency Service Network (ESN) offers hunger relief services through 9 local partner congregations which provide over 10,000 units of emergency food and other assistance to community members in need each year. In addition, Branches organizes an annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery which feeds and educates over 5,000 individuals in South Florida on Thanksgiving Day.