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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 18, 2012


NEW CASTLE (Jan. 18, 2012) - Delaware's Stand By Me Financial Empowerment Program will receive national attention Thursday when its director and a local hotel manager who uses the financial coaching service make a presentation before the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Treasury.

The Delaware Financial Empowerment Partnership is a joint project of the State of Delaware and the United Way of Delaware. Stand By Me provides financially vulnerable low- and moderate-income Delawareans with one-on-one financial coaching; help navigating college and financial aid applications; access to consumer-friendly alternatives to pay-day loans and check cashing stores; assistance with requesting and interpreting credit scores; and financial planning support to help them increase their own economic security.

Since the first financial empowerment center launched at the Hudson State Service Center in May 2011, Stand By Me's services have expanded to such locations as ShopRite Supermarkets, the Christiana Hilton and Delaware Technical & Community College, Wilmington and Stanton. In the first quarter of 2012, Stand By Me will expand to Dover Downs and selected locations of Walgreens. Discussions also are under way with other employers and educational institutions.

"Financial stability is not an issue of concern only to nonprofits and public agencies," said Mary Dupont, director of Stand By Me and director of Financial Empowerment in the Department of Health and Social Services. "We can see that in Delaware, this is also important to employers and community colleges. They worry about the financial well-being of their workforce because when workers do well, so do employers. When students are successful, the school wins. Stand By Me is a perfect partnership where the nonprofit, public, post-secondary, and private sectors join forces to increase access to the support that Delawareans need to take charge of their financial lives."

Joining Dupont at the Washington presentation will be Brad Wenger, general manager of the Christiana Hilton, who will talk about the impact that Stand By Me has had on the hotel's employees.

"It's a program that has been enthusiastically embraced by so many of our staff," said Wenger, who estimated that 25 percent of his 150 employees have had one-on-one coaching sessions at the hotel since the Stand By Me program arrived three months ago. "I think it will help with retention and be a very powerful tool in the recruitment of staff."

The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability was created by Executive Order on Jan. 29, 2010, to help people in understanding financial matters and making informed financial decisions. The council suggests ways to coordinate and maximize the effectiveness of existing private and public sector efforts and identify new approaches to increase financial capability through financial education and access.

Dupont said she is honored that she and Wenger have been invited by the council to talk about Delaware's new approach to financial empowerment. "We've been motivated and inspired by the encouragement of Gov. Markell, who believes strongly in fostering financial self-sufficiency. We've been able to make this work in a way that is unique and hasn't been done elsewhere in the country."

Earlier this month, the Delaware Community Foundation announced an $80,000 grant to the United Way of Delaware to support statewide expansion of Stand By Me. The program will serve about 6,000 clients over the next three years and involve collaboration with dozens of Delaware businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

For more information about Stand By Me, go to, or contact Mary Dupont at (302) 255-9245.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.