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City of Roanoke Launches Financial Empowerment Center



Roanoke, Virginia – The City of Roanoke, in partnership with the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) and Freedom First Enterprises, announced today the grand opening of Roanoke’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), offering professional, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching as a no-cost public service to local residents.

At the Roanoke FEC, professionally trained FEC counselors help individuals and families manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products. At the core of the FEC model is the integration of counseling into other social services, such as housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more.

Due to concerns with COVID-19, all one-on-one financial coaching sessions will be conducted over the phone. To schedule an appointment please visit If you need further assistance, please email us at, or call (540) 427-6811.

“The City of Roanoke looks forward to helping our residents reduce their debt, build savings, establish and improve credit, connect to safe and affordable bank accounts, and work towards a stronger financial future,” said Mayor Sherman Lea.

“As a long-time local provider of financial counseling services in our region, Freedom First Enterprises is proud to partner with the City of Roanoke to bring quality, no-cost financial counseling to all of Roanoke area residents through the Financial Empowerment Center,” said Tim Cerebe, Vice President of Community Development Programs at Freedom First. “Our counselors look at the whole picture for each individual client, no matter their socioeconomic status, so they are set up for success as they work towards achieving whatever goal they set out, whether it be debt reduction or wealth building or any number of financial aspirations.”

“Local leaders know first-hand the connection between family financial stability and community financial stability,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Mayor Lea, City Manager Bob Cowell and the City of Roanoke are part of a growing national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with the City of Roanoke on this critical work.”

First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, FECs across the country have worked with over 108,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $150 million, and increasing their families’ savings by more than $23 million. In addition, a CFE Fund evaluation showed that this program works even for residents with very low incomes and other complex financial challenges. Roanoke is one of more than two dozen cities and counties across the country that have either launched or are working to launch local FECs. The City of Roanoke FEC is supported by grant funding from the CFE Fund, local tax dollars, Freedom First Enterprises, and with further financial support from Carilion Clinic.

For more information, contact Brandon Meginley in the City’s Economic Development Department at (540) 853-1120 or send an email to

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in over80 cities to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.

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