Westfield Insurance Foundation Provides $50,000 Grant To MLK Inclusive Communities Enhancement Program


Funds to be Used for Protecting and Maintaining Your Home and Your Community

Toledo, Ohio, October 27, 2014 - The Westfield Insurance Foundation and Northwest Ohio Development Agency (NODA) will hold a press conference to announce a $50,000 grant from Westfield Insurance Foundation to NODA. The press conference will be held on Monday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. at the NODA office, 432 North Superior St., Toledo.

Westfield Insurance Foundation funds will allow NODA to enhance the impact of the existing Toledo Fair Housing Center’s MLK Inclusive Communities Program by expanding opportunities for existing homeowners within the three MLK neighborhoods. The goal is to break the cycle of deferred maintenance that leads to disrepair. The program is open to any low, moderate and middle-income homeowners who have invested in those neighborhoods and want to stay in the neighborhood.

"While there is a lot of discussion about removing blight in our Toledo neighborhoods, we believe that there must be proactive approaches to prevent additional blight from occurring," explained Mike Badik, NODA’s President and CEO. "This grant greatly enhances NODA’s ability to provide the educational and counseling services that have proven to support residents in their efforts to protect and maintain their homes and thus their communities. Educated, motivated and appreciated homeowners form the basis of creating communities of choice."

Research shows that homeowners who attend education programs and receive individual counseling have shorter delinquent episodes and fewer foreclosure starts when compared to those homeowners who have not taken advantage of such opportunities.

"Westfield’s mission is to enable our customer’s peace of mind and financial stability," said Jani Groza, community investment leader, Westfield Insurance. "Through this grant, we are able to provide residents the knowledge and skills needed to protect, improve and enhance their most valuable asset, their home."

Westfield Insurance Foundation funding allows for NODA to increase its proven programming and services beyond individuals presently served by:
  • Creating and distributing quarterly newsletters to 1,875 households, with quarterly maintenance hints, description of available financial literacy and home maintenance educational opportunities and programs, and revitalization updates;
  • Presenting at least 12 general homeowner’s education workshops in each of the thee targeted neighborhoods (one workshop per quarter per neighborhood), reaching approximately 220 individuals;
  • Conducting quarterly financial management trainings, consisting of four 2.5-hour sessions, reaching approximately 32 low-income households;
  • Providing matching savings for at least 39 eligible homeowners who complete the general homeowner education workshop and financial management training and who save at least $25 per month for a minimum of six months to pay for home maintenance or improvements;
  • Offering 300 hours of one-on-one housing/credit counseling to approximately 50 low-income households, and
  • Supporting the "Westfield Insurance Best of Show" awards, highlighting the best exterior improvements made to properties within the three target neighborhoods

The vital component is the general homeowner’s education workshop, which focuses on good neighbor responsibilities, benefits of hazard and rental insurance, MLK Inclusive Communities funding availability, predatory lending identification and resolution, emergency home repair and loan programs and availability, foreclosure prevention workshop programs and availability, down payment assistance programs and availability, seasonal home maintenance and basic hands-on maintenance training. After attending these workshops, the neighborhood residents will have access to other resources and opportunities to support and maintain their homes, which positively impacts their community.

About Westfield Insurance Foundation
Westfield Insurance Foundation was established in 2005 as an independent private foundation endowed by Westfield Insurance. In keeping with Westfield Insurance values, the Foundation seeks to support safety programs that prevent accidents in homes, cars and businesses; education programs that provide avenues to future employment; and community development programs that improve business and living conditions.

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