Building Stronger Families through Financial Stability

The Bold Goals Coalition’s Financial Services Network (FSN) partners with eight nonprofit financial service providers to help people in Central Alabama achieve financial stability. This month, Kate O’Day, President and CEO of Gateway, offers some thoughts on the collective strength and impact of our diverse network partners.

Kate O’Day, President & CEO of Gateway

Throughout its 127-year history, Gateway has been among the most innovative child and family-service agencies in the nation. This is exemplified by the agency’s recognition of, and proactive stance on, financial counseling as a means of stabilizing the family environment. “Though Gateway is Birmingham’s original orphanage and a state leader in mental health and foster-care services, we are one of the only child and family agencies in the nation to offer financial counseling,” said Ms. O’Day. “Our financial counselors are the only ones in Alabama located in a family-counseling office, where families are truly able to reach their full potential and become the best parents possible for their children.”

A long-time advocate for family and children’s rights, Ms. O’Day has extensive experience running successful nonprofits and partnering with all levels of government to improve human-service policy. That experience includes child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, juvenile justice, runaway/throwaway youth, poverty alleviation and financial stability. She said that she believes she’s done some of the best work of her career here in Birmingham since joining Gateway in 2014.

Under her leadership, Gateway has achieved tremendous success in finding new ways to improve the lives of children and families in our community. “Since 2014, Gateway has helped more than 140 foster children find forever homes and families; inner-city youth have received more than 5,000 hours of mental-health therapy; and families have paid back more than $2 million of debt through financial counseling,” said Ms. O’Day.

In partnership with the FSN, Ms. O’Day and her team are actively working to transform the way nonprofits in Central Alabama collaborate to address the needs of their clients. “When United Way asked us to participate in the Bold Goals Financial Services Network, we were thrilled to see how much more we can move the needle for Birmingham families together with new and old community partners,” she said. “The FSN approach encourages and supports each member of the network in aligning their work so that resources are focused on the best leverage points for change.”

This approach of addressing selective needs through the collective strength of the Financial Services Network is producing real, sustainable, positive change throughout Central Alabama.