FII-Albuquerque Director Susy Sarimiento likes to tell people, “FII doesn’t do anything, but really just showcase what families are already doing for themselves.” FII’s Uptogether platform helps document the initiative families are taking, and gets cash into their hands quickly to resource their projects.
“Our journaling system where we collect data from our families monthly has this algorithm. If they’re doing positive things for themselves, their home, or their community, then that score goes up.” The higher their Initiative Score, the more access to capital a family has.
“Thanks to my score I can use the UpTogether fund to help pay for my school for the next semester, which I start in August of this year,” said Monica Ponce, FII-Albuquerque Family Partner. “One goal that I wrote in my journal was to graduate with two associate degrees and this past May received one psychology and one liberal arts degree. It made me feel like anything was possible, even with two children and a husband. It felt like a load was lifted because I feel a strong responsibility as a mother to set a good example by educating myself.”
Monica is doing all of this while also helping her own mother, Yadira, to get her daycare certification expanded to serve more children. Yadira says, “When I first started in FII, I only had the capacity to care for five children and now through the funds I have acquired through FII I am expanding to twelve by moving the daycare to the garage. Most of the renovation is finished. I’m so excited, we just need to paint and put the floor down. And that’s a good thing for my family and my community, because I’m serving a very low income community. I’m very happy to be able to contribute to my community, but without the support of FII it would not have been possible.”
FII shows that direct investment in people yields results. Another example in the video is the Zaraga family, Francisco and Dolores. They used FII money to expand their catering business by renovating their kitchen, which also improves the value of their home. We already know enough to give families choice and control over the choices that impact their lives. Dolores explains, “whenever anyone asks me what FII is, I say that it is a blessing to be a part of it.”