Financial know-how is important in today’s society, whether you have a lot of money or just enough to get by. LCFS recognizes the importance of financial literacy and offers classes for all ages (with a focus on populations without access to conventional financial resources) in order that the attendees obtain the knowledge that will help them succeed financially today and into the future.


LCFS is committed to helping people who desire to improve their credit status, move up in the workforce and achieve increased self-sufficiency. The program also provides some case management services to help individual participants learn skills such as developing a budget, reviewing their credit scores and establishing a bank account. Participants also learn about ways to resolve credit-report issues without having to resort to filing bankruptcy.

These classes had been a part of LCFS’ Ways to Work program, which has now come to an end. LCFS will continue to provide case management support to current clients with outstanding loans, but new loans are not being offered. Through the Ways to Work program, LCFS was able to learn how to help participants meet financial capability goals even in the absence of the loan.

During its time, the Ways to Work program provided financial education, a low-interest loan and support to working families, assisting them in stabilizing their financial situations. LCFS was able to provide 219 individuals with a loan to purchase reliable used cars to help them retain or move ahead in their jobs, access additional education or job training and meet their family’s needs. More than 40 of those individuals have already paid their loan in full.


In addition, by successfully completing the Ways to Work program, participants improved their credit scores, giving them better access to future loans with more favorable rates than they had previously been eligible for and helping them avoid predatory lenders. One such client Jenna (not her real name), after being in the program for only a year-and-a-half was able to trade in her vehicle for a newer model at a traditional dealership based on her consistent payment history with LCFS and the tools she had learned from the financial education class. Prior to participating in the Ways to Work program, Jenna had been denied a car loan by several dealerships. The program helped Jenna not only raise her credit score, but it boosted her self- esteem, confidence and independence.

According to Financial Education Facilitator Camille Richardson, “In step with its holistic approach to providing services to those in need, LCFS is continuing to provide the financial education classes to help attendees learn to navigate the ‘financial waters’ on their own. Attendees will gain insights on managing money; how to open and maintain bank accounts, balancing checking accounts; maintaining a budget and the importance of developing and maintaining a good credit score. Youth will learn things such as good spending and saving habits to help them build solid financial foundations before they become adults.”

Six banks, including First Midwest, First Eagle, Associated, Woodforest, Community Bank of Oak Park and River Forest and Builders, have established partnerships with LCFS to help provide the financial literacy classes. At this time classes are available at LCFS’ main office in River Forest and at Chicago Uptown Ministry. For more information on dates and times or to register, contact LCFS at 800-363-LCFS (5237) or


    • No cost to attend financial education