Creating Successful Strategic Partnerships: Expanding Access to Asset Building Across California Communities 


Strategic partnerships are key to advancing programs and services to support that long-term and short-term financial well-being.
United Way of Capital Region will discuss how they have begun to build the next level of scale, prominence and access by forging a relationship with the City of Sacramento to create a Financial Empowerment Center. Mission Economic Development Agency will discuss why urban and rural communities must work together on best practice exchange, how to overcome barriers to adoption at various organizational levels, partnership opportunities to connect urban resources in rural settings, and a how-to guide on making these connections.

Participants will leave this session with an understanding of the value and increased impact of integrated asset building services, tangible tools and resources to use in their own organization, and with opportunities to collaborate across the state.


Jaqueline Marcelos, Financial Assets Program Manager, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

Jackie Marcelos leads MEDA's Financial Capability program which provides education and coaching focused on the areas of DISC+: debt, income, savings, credit, and banking. Jackie also leads MEDA’s Tax program which serves over 4000 clients annually, with an emphasis on ITIN application support as well as leveraging Tax time for connections to other Asset Building services. Jackie is the lead trainer at MEDA on Financial Capability integration. Jackie first came to MEDA in 2007, as a Housing client, and began volunteering in this same program. Jackie quickly leveraged her Financial Capability expertise and experiences as an immigrant herself, to connect with and support MEDA's clients. Jackie was hired a Housing Coach and was promoted to lead MEDA's Financial Capability program which supports generational asset building for primarily low-and-moderate income Latino families. Jackie is currently leading integration of services for families in the Mission Promise Neighborhood footprint and residents of MEDA's affordable housing developments. Having worked in various positions throughout the organization, Jackie has developed a diverse skill set that allows her to be a strong, multi-faceted resource for clients. Jackie holds Neighborworks and Financial Coaching certifications, and is a Jackie was a key player in the development of MEDA’s Viva! integrated Financial Capability training kit. Jackie has provided training & technical assistance on Financial Capability integration to organizations across the country. Jackie is bilingual in Spanish.
Lucy Arellano, Director of Asset Building Programs, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

Lucy Arellano oversees MEDA’s Asset Building Programs division which includes direct services in the areas of: Financial Capability & Taxes, Business Development, Workforce Development, Housing Opportunities. Additionally, Lucy shares MEDA’s integrated Financial Capability capacity building Viva! model nationally. Lucy Arellano has worked for over 10 years in public, private, and non-profit sectors with intentional emphasis on supporting disadvantaged communities. Lucy is particularly passionate about asset building and empowerment programs for immigrant, homeless, and re-entry populations. As an immigrant from Mexico, Lucy understands first-hand the need for creative barrier removal solutions for low-to-moderate income families to access financial capability, education, and entrepreneurship opportunities. In Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, Lucy led federally contracted community programs for individuals navigating active immigration proceedings. At Rubicon Programs in West Contra Costa County, Lucy designed a HUD funded rental assistance program largely benefiting homeless domestic violence survivors. Also at Rubicon, Lucy led the AB109 and Second Chance re-entry workforce development programs. Lucy’s programmatic concentrations pertain to process analysis, program design, service integration, and professional development. Lucy holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, Seattle in Law, Societies, and Justice.
Ismael D. Herrera Jr., Interim Executive Director, California State University, Fresno, Office of Community and Economic Development

Ismael contributes to the development of university-led activities that align Fresno State’s assets to regional initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the San Joaquin Valley. Ismael helped launch the nationally-recognized San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center in 2010 which serves as a “one-stop hub” for rural local governments, nonprofits, school districts, entrepreneurs and small businesses, and residents to access a wide range of technical assistance, training, specialized services, and resources to ensure their needs are met efficiently, effectively, and affordably. Ismael is currently one of twenty-five people at Fresno State participating in President Joseph I. Castro's inaugural President's Leadership Academy. He is also one of twenty-five people in North America participating in the 2018-2019 Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Economy Fellowship. Ismael formerly served on the Mendota Unified School District Board of Trustees and currently represents rural west Fresno County on the Fresno County Board of Education. He also serves on the City of Kerman's Recreation and Community Services Commission. Ismael earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Amy Williamson, Program Officer for Financial Stability, United Way California Capital Region

In November 2014 Amy Williamson became the Program Officer for Financial Stability at United Way California Capital Region, where she enjoys helping many local organizations boost their capacity to help people build financial wellness. She manages initiatives including Free Tax Preparation; Financial Coaching Training, Grants and Certification; Kindergarten to College savings; and Bank On. She also oversees a school-based partnership that promotes housing and financial stability. From 1999-2005, she developed and managed a financial learning and Individual Development Account (matched savings for asset building) collaborative for low-income households in the Sacramento region. Between 2010 and 2014, she was responsible for financial capability programs for affordable housing residents at Mutual Housing California, and founded the Capital Region Prosperity Network in 2012.
Amy also has several years of experience as a newspaper reporter and freelance journalist. She has two graduate degrees, one in Community Development from UC Davis and one in Journalism from UC Berkeley.