In October 2016 and May 2017, Starks Financial Group sponsored several rock concerts for area middle and high schools. Rock concerts, you say? What on Earth does this have to do with financial literacy? Well, these were very special rock concerts! These concerts were in partnership with Funding the Future, a non-profit dedicated to helping get the word out to today’s young people about the importance of financial literacy.
There is nothing out here to highlight the scale of these machines. A blue-grey sky hangs behind the enormous structures; the boat we are on, 4 miles (7km) offshore from Liverpool, bobs excitedly up and down on the swell of the sea. We’ve come to the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm to see an engineering marvel: the largest wind turbines in the world.
When one of the turbine’s blades swings to its highest point, it reaches 195m (640ft) – making these structures nearly twice as tall as Big Ben. The diameter of the turbines’ three colossal blades is greater than that of the London Eye. As the huge wings sail by, cutting the air, they make a gentle swooshing sound.
The very first offshore wind farm was a Danish project. But Britain now leads the world. The largest offshore wind farm on Earth is the UK’s London Array, a massive site of 175 turbines in the outer Thames estuary. Up to 5.2GW of electricity are provided by the country’s offshore turbines – almost as much as the rest of Europe’s sea-based wind farms put together, with more than two-thirds of continental Europe’s capacity. Beyond Europe, the rest of the world’s offshore wind totals just a few gigawatts.
Neighborhood Services is dedicated to serving the residents of Asheville because involved, connected neighborhoods are essential for a strong and healthy community.
Businesses and economies eager for growth may be overlooking the potential of women seeking an equal financial footing with men.
Sociologists and economists have long pondered ways to close the gender gap—the unequal representation of women in everything from financial markets to salaries to corporate leadership.
The #GrabYourWallet boycott on Twitter is one example of an anti-Trump protest that appears to have had significant results. Founded last fall by Shannon Coulter and Sue Atencio, Grab Your Wallet seeks to convince companies to stop selling Trump-branded products through organized boycotts.
IWPR’s new The Status of Women in the South is the first report to provide a comprehensive portrait of the status of women, particularly the status of women of color, in the southern states, grading each state on six different topic areas related to women’s economic, political, health, and social status.
WASHINGTON, DC – Jonathan Gold, Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the following statement on 2017 North Carolina health insurance rate changes.
“Consumers in North Carolina will continue to have affordable Marketplace options next year. Among Marketplace consumers, most will be able to select a plan for less than $75 per month. Headline rate changes do not reflect what these consumers actually pay because tax credits reduce the cost of coverage below the sticker price and shopping helps consumers find the best deal. Meanwhile, for people in North Carolina with employer coverage, premiums have grown at some of the slowest rates on record since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. All North Carolina consumers, no matter where they get their coverage, are benefiting from ACA protections like no more exclusions for preexisting conditions, no annual limits on coverage, and no cost sharing for preventive services.”
Since the Affordable Care Act became law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years. Premiums for the 150 million Americans with employer-sponsored insurance have grown at some of theslowest rates on record. And, a recent analysis finds that 82% of Marketplace consumers in North Carolina would be able to purchase coverage for less than $75 per month, even if all rates went up double digits.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed for affordability. Two important features of the Marketplace protect North Carolina consumers from the impact of rate increases.
Tax credits go up along with premiums. Tax credits are designed to protect consumers from rate increases and keep coverage affordable, increasing by whatever amount the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver, or benchmark plan increases. So if all premiums in North Carolina go up by similar amounts, 91 percent of consumers will not necessarily have to pay more, since tax credits will increase in parallel. Last year, despite headlines projecting double-digit rate increases, the average premium increased just $4 per month for HealthCare.gov consumers with tax credits, and 7 out of 10 Marketplace consumers could purchase 2016 coverage for less than $75 per month. Even if premiums and tax credits rise, the overall cost of the ACA is still below CBO’s original projections. CBO’s recent projections estimate that for 2019 coverage, ACA coverage will cost $49 billion less than originally predicted.
Consumers can shop around to find the best plan. In 2016, consumers could choose among an average of 10 plans per issuer. Variations in provider network and drug formulary makeup from plan to plan can offer consumers meaningful choice. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, it was almost impossible to shop around for health insurance. Not only were many Americans barred from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but those who did have insurance through the individual market were often trapped in a plan, since people with even small health problems could be denied coverage or charged an exorbitant price if they tried to switch plans. Today, any Marketplace consumer can purchase any plan during open enrollment, and Marketplaces let consumers compare prices, plan designs, and networks to find the best choice for them. Last year, 43 percent of returning North Carolina HealthCare.gov consumers switched plans. They saved an average of $48 per month.Current Marketplace rates are well below initial Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections.
- Independent researchers recently calculated that 2016 Marketplace rates are anywhere between12 percent and 20 percent below what CBO initially predicted.
- 2017 Marketplace rate increases are subject to a number of predictable upward pressures that will dissipate next year.
- The end of the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program in 2016 puts upward pressure on 2017 rate increases that won’t exist for 2018 and beyond.
- Evidence suggests that some issuers priced below cost for 2014, reflecting the uncertainties of a new market and a desire to offer strongly competitive initial rates. With two full years of experience, many issuers are making one-time adjustments this year to bring premiums in line with observed costs.
- CBO’s projections show that the law is working to cover the uninsured, while costing less than expected. Recent estimates find that the law’s coverage provisions will cost 28 percent less in 2019 than in CBO’s original projections.
Medicaid expansion lowers Marketplace premiums by 7 percent.
- In addition to limiting access to coverage for millions of Americans, the decision not to expand Medicaid also has costs for Marketplace consumers, who pay significantly higher premiums than they would if the coverage provisions of the ACA were working together in their state as intended.
- Economic analysis finds that Medicaid expansion brings down Marketplace rates by 7 percent, even after controlling for differences across states in demographic characteristics, pre-ACA uninsured rates, health care costs, and state policy decisions.
Marketplace and non-Marketplace consumers are benefiting from slow health care cost growth since the enactment of the ACA.
- Since 2010, per-enrollee costs in both public and private health insurance have grown moreslowly than in previous decades – contributing to lower-than-expected costs in the Marketplace.
- Ten times as many people are covered by employers as purchase insurance in the Marketplace and the average premium for families with employer-sponsored health plans grew just 3.4 percent in 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust survey, extending a period of unusually slow growth since 2010.
- The White House Council of Economic Advisers calculates that the average family premium in North Carolina was $2,400 lower in 2015 than if premiums had grown at the same rate as the pre-ACA decade.
- Part of the progress in slowing cost growth is the Administration’s work to develop new,innovative ways of paying for care that align payment with improved outcomes which can help sustain and build on the slowdown in health care costs
- This benefits Marketplace consumers as well. CBO has consistently predicted that Marketplace rates would grow faster than employer premiums for the first few years, but then grow at the same pace as employer coverage.
- That means Marketplace consumers will also benefit if slow health care cost growth can be sustained and the Marketplace advances in its stability and reaches a steady state.
The Marketplace is providing 545,354 North Carolina consumers with coverage they value, because it improves their access to care and financial security.
- Nearly 4 out of 5 Marketplace consumers are very or somewhat satisfied with their health insurance. Importantly, they are just as satisfied with their coverage as people with employer plans.
- Marketplace consumers are accessing primary, specialist, and other care they need at rates similar to people with employer coverage and far higher than the uninsured, thanks in part tomoderate cost sharing.
- The share of families struggling to pay medical bills fell for all income groups between 2013 and 2015, and fell the most for the moderate-income families most likely to have gained coverage through the Marketplace.
- ·Only 11.2 percent of people in North Carolina went uninsured in 2015, new Census data show, down from 16.8 percent in 2010. That dramatic drop means 552,000 more North Carolinians had coverage in 2015.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule on raising the salary threshold under which working people can earn overtime pay. The final rule will double the current salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, directly benefiting 12.5 million workers, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. The rule is undoubtedly major progress for workers struggling to support their families at a decent standard of living, and especially for working women in the United States. Continue reading
Mission: The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina.
Vision: The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina’s vision is a vibrant 18-county region where all people can find opportunity and enjoy the region’s many resources.
The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1978 to build a permanent pool of charitable capital for the 18 counties of Western North Carolina. We work with individuals, families and corporations to create and manage charitable funds and make grants to nonprofits or public agencies in our region.
We manage $247 million (March 2016) in assets with a long-term investment strategythat permanently protects and grows these funds. In partnership with fundholders, the Foundation has awarded more than $180 million in scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations and public institutions across our 18-county region and beyond.
What We Do
- Work with donors to create charitable funds according to their specific interests and needs
- Inform donors about critical issues and match them with giving opportunities
- Responsibly manage the charitable assets in our care
- Make grants and provide support to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and public agencies for improving communities in our region
- Encourage and participate in community initiatives and partnerships
- Build awareness of the importance of philanthropy
A PREDATORY MODEL that can’t be fixed: Why banks should be kept from reentering the payday loan business
By the Progressive Blog Policy Watch
[Editor’s note: In the new Washington, D.C. of Donald Trump, many once-settled policies in the realm of consumer protection are now “back on the table” as predatory businesses push to take advantage of the president’s pro-corporate/anti-regulatory stances. A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending (“Been there; done that: Banks should stay out of payday lending”) explains why one of the most troubling of these efforts – a proposal to allow banks to re-enter the inherently destructive business of making high-interest “payday” loans should be fought and rejected at all costs.]
Banks once drained $500 million from customers annually by trapping them in harmful payday loans. In 2013, six banks were making triple-digit interest payday loans, structured just like loans made by storefront payday lenders. The bank repaid itself the loan in full directly from the borrower’s next incoming direct deposit, typically wages or Social Security, along with annual interest averaging 225% to 300%.
In 1961 the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, unanimously upheld the constitutionality of a jury selection system that discriminated against women on the grounds that “women are at the center of home and family life.” The observation reflected dominant social values at the time, but the Court was unable then to see how such values thwarted the promise of equality for women implicit in the Constitution.
written by Jane Edwards
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As the result of the (Civil) War, corporations have been enthroned. … An era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people… until wealth is aggregated in a few hands… and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln, 1864
A message from the ACLU of North Carolina. Rather than cleanly repeal House Bill 2 March 30th, the North Carolina General Assembly passed and Governor Roy Cooper signed a new law — HB 142 — that keeps in place many of the most harmful parts of HB 2. It is not a real repeal, and it doesn’t leave North Carolina the way it was before HB 2 was rushed into law last year.
Supporting rural Southern women as human rights leaders to end poverty
Women uniting for change ~ Women combating sexism, racism, classism ~ Women tackling inequality
The work is guided by the belief that to truly empower women and end poverty we must build a political culture in the U.S. that promotes and protects human rights. Visit Turn South: Southern Women for Change
Written by Jane Edwards
Yes, here’s the thing, the BIG THING. House Bill 2, called “the bathroom bill” deals with quite a few things that are utterly unrelated to bathroom privileges and which negatively impact citizens in our state more than public bathroom privileges.
Securing Your Legacy: Mind, Body – From Starks Financial – a series to promote financial literacy for women
Securing Your Legacy: Mind, Body and Self
January 17th, 2017:
MIND: This three part series will kick off with college planning. Laura Misner of the College Foundation of North Carolina will show you how to survive paying for your own, your children or your grandchildren’s college tuition and not go broke.
March 21st, 2017:
BODY: Come learn how to protect yourself and your finances at the March event. We believe in a holistic approach not only to financial planning, but life in general. That is why we have invited local experts to come teach self-defense techniques and we’ll end with tips on defending your finances.
September 26th, 2017:
SELF: In September, come learn the ins and outs of investing and feel confident in your ability to navigate this ever-changing financial landscape! Women now make up almost half of the entire U.S. workforce, and 40% of women are their family’s primary breadwinner. This is important because women are becoming and will continue to become more prevalent in the investment planning process given their position in the world today.
Why are we doing this? Well, as a firm that is predominately made up of women, we have a long track record of promoting financial literacy among women. We know how hard you work every day and now it’s our turn to give back!
To join Savvy Women, check us out at www.starksfinancial.com or call for more information: 828/285-8777. Or visit us at 440 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Laura Misner or the College Foundation of North Carolina.
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC
During my time as a Financial Counselor at Ontrack Financial Education and Counseling, I worked with a very kind and intelligent older woman. I still think of her often. She was distraught and trying to piece her life back together when she came to see me. Several months before she had unwittingly fallen victim to a “Sweetheart Scam” and realized a little too late what had happened.
If you’ve been paying attention to the political news in the past couple of years, you know that the U.S. stands virtually alone in not mandating paid leave of any type for its workers.
It’s hard to miss; the topic has become a top talking point for Democratic politicians. Hillary Clinton is advocating for stronger paid-leave policies on the campaign trail. In her Monday economic address, Clinton called for paid family leave as a way of helping women stay in the workforce. Sen. Bernie Sanders, her closest rival for the Democratic nomination, has advocated both paid vacation and paid maternity leave on the campaign trail. In addition, some cities and states have started instituting their own sick leave policies. Continue reading
I never thought of myself as a donor or a “woman in philanthropy,” as I gifted money to various nonprofits whose mission and values matched my own. My donations seemed small compared to those of donors that I read about in the news who were giving away thousands or millions of dollars to high-profile charity work. It turns out, however, that small donationscanadd up to make a big impact when enough people participate. I was surprised when a house party I hosted in rural Georgia raised $750 from small donations for a statewide equality organization. And more recently, I have seen organizations harness the power of working together to raise awareness and money on issues of affordable housing and homelessness. In October, a large crowd turned out to hear Womansong of Asheville sing a benefit concert for Homeward Bound. Half of ticket revenues went to helping women transition from homelessness to permanent housing. This is philanthropy in action—making change person by person, in small amounts that make a big difference.
Few realize that women give more money to charity than men, proportionate to income. There are still a lot of myths about women donors. Cultural stereotypes suggest that women do not understand or control money or do not want to discuss it. Myths that women will give only from their disposable income, and that women volunteer their time but not their money can deter women from philanthropy. In reality, many women take philanthropy seriously and personally. (Reinventing Fundraising, Shaw-Hardy and Taylor).
Despite stereotypes and myths, women are critical to philanthropy in the U.S.
Did you know that women:
Contribute to twice as many organizations as men do, but make smaller donations to each;
Tend not to base philanthropy on business connections or a desire for public recognition but a desire to make a difference;
Are more likely to be involved with organizations to which they contribute money, while men cherish recognition and status; and
Ask more questions than male donors.
(Reinventing Fundraising, Shaw-Hardy and Taylor).
Women’s approach to giving creates great philanthropic potential and promises a new, emerging donor landscape. If more women give to causes that reflect their beliefs and values, we will transform charitable giving. And if more women give to organizations benefiting women, some basic gender inequities can be addressed (The Giving Forum: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. http://www.givingforum.org/ ).
So how can women donors transform philanthropy? Women can contribute to political organizations that influence policy and politics and we can contribute to nonprofit organizations with monthly or annual donations.
One way to make philanthropic giving more personal and to feel the collective impact of smaller donations is through a Giving Circle. “A giving circle is a group of individuals each or whom contributes to a pooled fund. Members decide together how to distribute these funds to nonprofit and charitable organizations. Giving circles increase impact and allow members to learn about philanthropy and causes in a collaborative and non-threatening way. Members often commit to participate for a specific timeframe at an established dollar level. The pooled funds may be held at a public foundation in the form of a donor-advised fund, at a local bank, or by some other nonprofit or commercial entity.” Or a giving circle can be more informal, with members gathering around a potluck dinner each month to discuss how they will make donations as a group for the year (The Giving Forum: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. http://www.givingforum.org/).
Once you have raised funds, there are numerous organizations that can use them to improve the lives of women and girls in our community, nationally, and around the world. Below are just a few examples of political and nonprofit organizations that focus on women’s issues:
Giving Locally in North Carolina
The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina: http://www.cfwnc.org/
A charitable gift of any amount to the Women’s Fund helps meet the unmet needs of women and girls of the region. In addition, The Community Foundation’s Women for Women Giving Circle allows donors to commit $1,100 per year for three years with all proceeds going to improve the lives of women and girls in the region. Collectively this fund has distributed more than 2 million dollars to regional programs helping women and girls.
Hispanics in Philanthropy: www.hiponline.org
Working transnationally since 1983, HIP has a strong presence in North Carolina with a regional office based in Asheville. Program manager, Althea Gonzalez, focuses on increasing the capacity of Latina/o led nonprofits and strengthening the Latina/o leadership pipeline in the state.
Giving at the National and International Level
L-PAC is the lesbian political action committee, formed in 2012, and seeks “to positively influence the current political and social landscape” by improving policies that affect women.
Emily’s List:http://emilyslist.org/ Emily’s List helps to elect progressive female candidates to political office and is focused on building the female political leadership pipeline in the U.S.
Global Fund for Women: http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/
Women for Women International: http://www.womenforwomen.org/
Women’s Funding Network: http://womensfundingnetwork.org/about/partners
Sondra C. Shaw-Hardy and Martha A. Taylor, Reinventing Fundraising– Realizing the Potential of Women’s Philanthropy, 1995(Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995).
The Giving Forum: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. http://www.givingforum.org/
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