Community engagement work continues to grow at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. In 2018, we expanded our evaluation of some of our community engagement activities, like the Family Estate Planning Series. We will share more on evaluation and new community engagement activities throughout the year. Initiatives are our most significant form of community engagement work. Youth homelessness is still on our radar and we continue to lead the Caregiver Support Initiative. However, we have increased capacity and it is with great excitement that I announce our new Financial Abuse Initiative.
Why Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse takes many forms, including fraud, scams, and predatory loans. Someone might get a call from a strange company saying they owe money, and, if they do not pay them immediately, they will be arrested. Some scams can be disguised as good news. Someone might claim to be an attorney and state that a long-lost relative left you an inheritance that you can receive by sending personal information, like your Social Security or bank account number. Some scams are obvious, but others can be deceptive, especially when the abuser is a family member.
The elderly and youth who are in foster care or are at-risk are often impacted by financial abuse. 1,305 cases of elder abuse in Washoe County were recorded by the Aging and Disability Services Division. Additionally, five cases of abuse were recorded by law enforcement. The perpetrators of elder abuse were spouses/partners, children, relatives, friends/neighbors, service providers, and strangers.
Financial abuse is a broad topic and we are starting the initiative by examining all kinds of financial abuse. The Community Foundation will serve as a neutral convener and engage people who have been impacted by financial abuse and organizations addressing the issue. Over time, our Steering Committee will narrow down the scope of the initiative to determine which financial abuse subtopics to address. After that, we will organize community convening where anyone who cares can share their story and ideas for solutions. Just like our Youth Network Initiative and our Caregiver Support Initiative, we listen and learn from our community to determine our action items.
How You Can Help
We have formed a Steering Committee and are looking for more members. Most importantly, we need to hear from people who have been impacted by financial abuse. If you or someone you know has been a victim and want to share your story to help others, please call us at 775-333-5499. Because of the sensitivity of financial abuse, we have also created a survey that can be completed anonymously:
Our Financial Abuse Initiative seeks to reveal and address an unmet need that will minimize the impact of financial abuse.