Financial Deserts

Financial Deserts:
West Baltimore

Why We’re Here

Our partnership to identify and solve the problem of financial deserts has its roots in Baltimore, MD, where many neighborhoods in West Baltimore suffer from a lack of financial resources. Effective financial tools are scarce, and money moves in slow and costly ways that makes communities economically depressed. Through the vision of Master Your Card’s African American Board members Clayola Brown of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and Fred Mason, Jr. of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, we partnered with Morgan State University in Baltimore to commission a community-based study, Understanding Life in Financial Deserts. This study included a series of community forums throughout Baltimore that provided key insights on ways in which community leaders and local partners can work together to green financial deserts and improve the lives of their communities. Through this work, Master Your Card was able to introduce online youth financial education delivered by Westport Academy in Baltimore. Collaboration with the community created opportunities to connect community partnerships, add new ones and open the doors for innovative solutions to greening financial deserts. A steering committee is designing a blueprint to improve economic conditions in Baltimore, deliver solutions by using existing assets and build towards a Solutions Summit late in 2017.

Community Engagement

  • Master Your Card commissioned a literature review and community-based research study by Morgan State University, spearheaded by Dr. Kim Sydnor, that held a series of community forums in low-income communities within Baltimore and Maryland’s Eastern Shore where banks are scarce and families largely rely on alternative financial institutions.

  • Master Your Card made sure Baltimore was included in the introduction of an online financial education platform to 68 lower-income schools nationwide. Over 4,000 students have used the opportunity to learn more about modern financial tools and opportunities that can help them and their families save time and money by getting out of a strictly cash economy. The curriculum is CFPB approved and meets the national standards for financial education.

Events & Resources

  • Master Your Card Celebrates Baltimore Schools’… READ MORE
  • Morgan State Study Sheds Light on Life in Financial Deserts… READ MORE