small change: Money Stories from the Neighborhood small change: Money Stories from the Neighborhood is a podcast and learning platform highlighting smart, practical and collaborative money skills developed by people living with lower and unstable incomes. Hosts Chris Farrell and Twila Dang talk to community members who are redefining wealth and poverty, the value of community and the purpose of money. Money wisdom taught by the true experts –people who have learned from experience. From MPR News.
small change: Money Stories from the Neighborhood

small change: Money Stories from the Neighborhood

From MPR News

small change: Money Stories from the Neighborhood is a podcast and learning platform highlighting smart, practical and collaborative money skills developed by people living with lower and unstable incomes. Hosts Chris Farrell and Twila Dang talk to community members who are redefining wealth and poverty, the value of community and the purpose of money. Money wisdom taught by the true experts –people who have learned from experience. From MPR News.

Most Recent Episodes

Small Change Story: Cooperative Living

No matter where you live, the price of buying a home is out of reach for growing numbers of people. Young adults and people living on low and unstable incomes in particular find that they're priced out of the market. The high price of home ownership is one reason why forming coops is increasingly attractive. A coop or cooperative home is shared housing. Pooling resources to buy makes home ownership a more realistic option. In this episode we talk with Saoirse Maloney, who lives in a cooperative home in Denver. Warning - There is some "colorful" language within the first ten minutes.

Small Change Story: Michael Laverdure

Michael Laverdure is from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. He's a partner with the local architectural firm DSGW and the founder of the First American Design Studio. We met with at his office in Lake Elmo, Minnesota–a small town some 14 miles outside the Twin Cities. He is part of a growing community of indigenous architects from around the world, including New Zealand and Canada. We had a wide ranging conversation with Laverdure about his views on money, his remarkable path to becoming an architect and the significance of home, Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.

Small Change Story: Arielle Grant

Arielle Grant is the founder and executive director of Render Free. The company is a work space and wellness club for self-identified black and brown women. Render Free disrupts racial trauma by promoting self care and healing through events and community connection. It is housed in a 3,000 square foot welcoming space in the basement of a south Minneapolis Church. Render Free was launched during the early months of Covid. Hardly an auspicious time, but it is still growing its membership. "Don't be afraid to dream really, really big," says Arielle.

Small Change Story - Predatory Lending

Joyce James is the founder of the Middleburg Institute in Saint Gabriel, Louisiana. The Institute's mission is to raise the economic, educational and social level of families in low to moderate income communities. We met Joyce while researching predatory lenders. These lenders charge sky-high interest rates on short-term loans and they're a financial blight on too many people living on low and unstable incomes. Joyce routinely meets with people struggling to make ends meet in small communities around Louisiana. A major topic of these conversations is how people can turn their side hustle into a viable business. Practical money talk are invaluable when it comes to helping people steer clear of financial trouble. But individual knowledge isn't enough. Policymakers need to reform the payday lending business and the financial services industry to clean house.

Small Change Story: Invisible Disabilities

Katye Barton, age 47, describes herself as a high-functioning autistic adult with mild cerebral palsy. Katye is focused on improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, with a special emphasis on advocating for better mental health and obesity services. Jessica Wick joined our conversation. She has been Katye's supporter for about a decade, helping her navigate different situations when needed—like with our interview. We covered a wide range of topics with Katye, from how she learned to manage her money to the critical role the Special Olympics played in her life. Katye is persistent in her efforts to create a more inclusive environment for people dealing with intellectual disabilities. "We're not scary," says Katye. "If you see somebody in the community who was different, looks different, who acts different, go up and say hi."

Caregiving In Texas - Susie

Susie Rivera lives in a mobile home with her wife in New Braunfels, Texas, which lies between San Antonio and Austin. She has been a professional caregiver since 1986. She now earns $15 an hour and puts in 72 hours a week. Rivera works through eQuality Coop, the only home care worker-owned and worker-controlled cooperative in Texas. Throughout our conversation, it was clear that Rivera is proud of her work. Caregiving to her is a "calling," not a job. "It's just it's, it's, it's a calling, it's so rewarding to get in there and, and, you know, I've always said this whenever I go and take care of somebody, I said the cavalry's here," she says. "Don't worry, we'll take care of you."

Small Change Story - Spurs Bar and Grill

Small Change Story - Spurs Bar and Grill: Esperanza Lopez and Stephanie Lopez—mother and daughter—are the founders of Spurs Bar & Grill in Willmar, an agriculture-dominated city in West Central Minnesota. We met with them at their restaurant housed in an historic downtown building. Esperanza and Stephanie didn't have much money. What they had was a vision and the drive to pursue their idea. The restaurant took them several years to open since they didn't have much money. They did most of the remodeling and renovation themselves, with the help of a few trusted skilled trades people and by watching plenty of how-to YouTube videos. "To be honest, I quit like 100 times," says Esperanza. But, she adds, "since we open, we're living our dream. Yeah, we don't regret it." Stephanie adds that "it's crazy how she says she's quit 100 times. I've probably quit double that!" But she came to realize that dealing with days when tasks seem overwhelming is part of being a small business owner. Even more important is the realization that "I can't be comfortable with being comfortable," she says. "You know, it's better to be uncomfortable and push yourself farther." Theirs is a story about resilience. The energy and fortitude that drove Esperanza and Stephanie to stick to their vision and will their dream into reality.

Small Change Story – Harvest Nation

Denise Pieratos, along with her sister Tracey and her two daughters Dani and Nikki are creating Harvest Nation, an innovative company with ambitions to transform agriculture in Minnesota. Members of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, we met with Denise and Dani at their home on the Bois Forte reservation in northern Minnesota. Worried about global climate change, sustainability and healthy diets, Harvest Nation plans on growing crops and fresh produce year round at an indoor aeroponics farm that would initially supply the reservation and nearby community. (Plants are suspended with aeroponics so that roots are free hanging and exposed to air; roots are misted at certain intervals with a nutrient-water mix optimal for the type of crop being grown.) Entrepreneurship is never easy. A classic bootstrap startup business, they're building Harvest Nation on the side, putting their own money and time into it. These remarkable native women confront additional barriers to funding: They're native; they're women; and they live in a rural area. "I think the challenge is what we've faced all our life. We do not look like the face of American business," says Denise. "We don't."

Money & Lending Circles

Systemic racism and stereotypes about lower income individuals denies them access to mainstream financial institutions. Yet they need money to buy a home, start a business and live. A time-honored way to provide loans is with lending circles. A group of people, often with close cultural ties, work together to provide members with the money they need to achieve their goals. For additional resources, visit https://www.smallchangestories.org/episode/2020/11/30/money-lending-circles

Money & Dignity

Too much financial commentary assumes people earning low wages aren't smart with money. Wrong, deeply wrong. Necessity forces many to be savvy money managers. There are also societal, financial and government institutions that have erected barriers to progress. Ultimately, people want the opportunity to help themselves. They want to live with dignity. For additional resources, visit https://www.smallchangestories.org/episode/2020/11/16/money-dignity