O'Donnell's team administers an employee aid program for Providence Health and Services, which is Oregon's largest private employer. Through the program, they offer financial assistance to low-income workers, helping them maintain housing, pay bills, and balance finances and saving.
The team hopes to expand to other businesses in the coming months, particularly in rural areas. The fees they collect for administering the employee aid programs are used to offer financial help to other clients who come through their doors – who may be homeless, pregnant, recently released from jail, or financially uneducated.
O'Donnell emphasized that the fees from contracting with employers are what allow the model to become sustainable, and to then "serve those people who that cannot afford the service."
Clients who come to the Save First Financial Wellness program begin with an individualized assessment, which helps identify underlying needs and challenges. These may include wage garnishment, mental health issues, domestic violence, identity theft and immigration status.
From there, clients are connected with local resources to help them in any obstacles that are identified. They are also able to take part in financial wellness classes through Catholic Charities, which teach about budgeting, cash flow, savings, debt reduction, and credit.
After completing the financial wellness courses, individuals may participate in a three to six month financial coaching program, where an instructor helps them identify their financial goals and the steps to accomplish them.