Bank teaching finance at nonprofit


Guiding Light is a homeless shelter in downtown Grand Rapids that runs rehab and back-to-work programs. Photo via

A nonprofit is partnering with a bank to offer a finance class to its clients.

Guiding Light has partnered with Chemical Bank to help the men in its Back to Work program tackle their debt.

In addition to making a donation to the Back to Work program, members Chemical Bank in Grand Rapids are volunteering to teach a class focused on banking basics. Topics discussed in the classes include budgeting, credit scores and savings plans.

Men who enroll in the Back to Work program face significant barriers to finding and keeping full-time work, including lack of housing and transportation. Men who enter the program have an average of $13,000 in debt, Guiding Light said. Many have no knowledge of personal finances and are overwhelmed by their debt.

The classes are ongoing and rotate monthly between a budgeting session and a credit session. All classes are taught by Chemical Bank volunteers.

Chemical Bank said it typically donates money to a nonprofit each year and offers additional help when possible.

Back to Work provides a short-term stay for homeless men who are employed or seeking full-time employment, requiring them to save money while they look for more permanent housing. The men in the program are given three meals a day and resources needed to find a job, including a computer lab for job research and creating resumes, job coaching, and daily encouragement and advice.

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