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The UNC Center for Community Capital seeks partners to fund and pilot a new financial capability program, Pocket Change, designed to help low-income youth in North Carolina ages 12-19 develop financial socialization skills that enable them to become financially secure adults.

While traditional financial education programs focus on teaching facts and terminology, Pocket Change focuses on changing financial behaviors and attitudes that empower youth to view themselves as financial agents. Research shows this approach offers a greater chance of creating lasting positive change.

Key programs elements include:

  • Research-based content and curriculum designed to change behaviors and attitudes that lead to healthy spending habits and financial outcomes.
  • Flexible program delivery that works within existing youth development and college readiness programs to leverage and enhance both.
  • Frequent and ongoing evaluation that enables improvement as the program evolves.

Project Team

Sonia Garrison is a financial capability consultant with 20 years’ experience in community development and consumer finance in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She brings extensive research, policy analysis and project management experience in the areas of affordable housing, mortgage finance, consumer bank accounts and student loans.

Mark McDaniel, senior research associate at the center, leads the center’s collaboration with Bridges2Success, an early childhood-to-career research and education initiative focused on helping males of color achieve academic and life success. He brings a diverse set of experiences in conceptualizing, designing and implementing initiatives that improve the socio-economic outcomes of low-income residents and the neighborhoods in which they reside.


To learn more and explore partnership opportunities, visit or contact Sonia Garrison,, (919) 491-9239.



Topics(s): Consumer Protections, Financial Capability, Financial Inclusion, Savings & Asset-Building
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