Bradford Act Delivers Nearly $1 million to Nonprofits to Improve Consumer Financial Well-Being

September 22, 2020

SACRAMENTO ­– Yesterday, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) announced the inaugural award of nearly $1 million in CalMoneySmart grants to 12 nonprofit organizations throughout California. The $4 million CalMoneySmart grant program was created by SB 455 (Chapter 478, Statutes of 2019), authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). This bill established the California Financial Empowerment Fund (FEF) to provide low- and moderate-income Californians with greater access to financial tools and education they can use to improve their financial well-being.

“COVID-19 has made it even more important that we be creative in delivering financial services to those lacking access to them,” said Senator Bradford. “I authored SB 455 last year to help provide people with access to the types of financial resources they need to protect themselves. I am thrilled to see those dollars going to organizations that will carry on that mission and look forward to seeing the next round of funding awarded next year.”

According to the most recent Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, approximately 7% of California households are unbanked, and another 18% are underbanked. The FDIC defines “unbanked” individuals as someone without a checking or savings account, and “underbanked” individuals as those with checking or savings accounts but who also use nonbank services. Although two-thirds of California’s households are fully banked, only half of households save for unexpected expenses or emergencies, and many of those who save still lack the money necessary to cover a $400 emergency expense.

The funds directed toward nonprofit organizations are awarded by DBO through a competitive application process that drew 95 applicants in the program’s first year.  Grants are awarded in amounts of up to $100,000 to non-profit organizations that offer financial education, financial coaching, products, and/or services to unbanked and underbanked individuals free of charge.  The 12 grantees for 2020 serve communities across 17 counties and include, Juma Ventures, JVS SoCal, Mission Asset Fund, Dreams for Change, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Peninsula Family Services, Folsom Cordove Community Parnetship, the Delhi Center, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Children’s Network of Solano County, and El Sol of San Bernadino.

The next CalMoneySmart application period, for fiscal year 2021-22, will be open in January.

Additional information about the CalMoneySmart grant program can be found at For questions, comments, or help, please contact




Senator Bradford is the chair of the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee and represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington. More information about Senator Bradford and his legislation can be found at