Report shows Stand By Me financial coaching helping during pandemic

WILMINGTON — Delawareans struggling to maintain or regain stability during the COVID-19 pandemic are turning for guidance to a statewide financial empowerment program called Stand By Me, offered free of charge by United Way of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

A recent study of SBM by the Washington-based Urban Institute suggests the program is making a difference.

When the institute compared the financial health of SBM clients with a similar group of people in nearby states, researchers found that, as a whole, SBM clients are seeing improvements in their financial well-being. According to the report, “An Evaluation of the Stand By Me Financial Coaching Program,” SBM clients are more likely than the comparison group to:

• Raise their credit scores.

• Obtain student loans.

• Bring late or delinquent debt back into good standing with creditors.

• Have fewer debts sent to collections.

• Qualify for credit cards, yet use those cards less frequently.

The report was funded by Stand By Me, a program operated in partnership by the state of Delaware and United Way of Delaware, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Commenting on the success of SBM, researchers said, “Stand By Me has made meaningful contributions to the financial health and well-being of thousands of Delaware residents.”

According to Donna Snyder-White, vice president of financial empowerment and Stand By Me program director at UWDE: “During COVID-19, the world may be slowing down, but Stand By Me isn’t. There’s nothing more important to us than the financial well-being of our clients. We know people need our free financial coaching more than ever to make it through this tough time.”

Ms. Snyder-White urged Delawareans seeking support and guidance regarding their personal finances during COVID-19 to visit Stand By Me’s COVID-19 Tips & Tools page at standbymede.org.

She noted that all discussions are confidential, that financial records are not shared outside the one-on-one coaching relationship and that all the program’s services are free.