Minneapolis, MN – At a time of rising inflation and economic uncertainty for millions of Americans, and just as the 2022 tax season is kicking into high gear, a Minnesota-based non-profit corporation, Penny Forward Inc, has launched a brand-new online platform designed to provide financial education, tools and coaching to more than seven million Americans who are blind or have low vision.
Founded in 2021 by Minnesota native Christopher Peterson, who is himself blind, Penny Forward exists to close the financial intelligence gap for people who are blind or who experience vision loss. By closing this gap, Peterson believes that poverty, unemployment and under-employment levels which are endemic for blind people can finally begin to be addressed. “We have been talking about the 70% unemployment rate within the blind community for decades,” says Peterson. “So far, progress to reduce that number has been slow. On the other hand, studies have shown that financial education programs make a difference, especially when they focus on the unique needs of minority communities, so this is our way of helping our community build the skills we need to improve our financial health ourselves. Once we do that, we will be able to eliminate debt, save money, and build the personal wealth that will give us the resilience to weather hard times, take advantage of rare opportunities, and generously support causes we deeply care about.”
Unlike most online education platforms, the Penny Forward platform was designed from the ground up to meet the unique needs of people who are blind or have low vision. Every webpage is optimized to be accessible for people who use assistive technologies such as screen magnification and software that reads text aloud and/or reproduces the text in tactile braille characters. Says Peterson, “Even as I was developing the curriculum for our first online course, I had to deal with many websites that were difficult or impossible to navigate with assistive technology. Our goal is to remove those barriers so our members can focus on their financial health rather than simply trying to navigate the screen.”
Penny Forward offers $9 monthly and $99 annual memberships, and members can take advantage of self-paced, online financial education courses, regularly-scheduled group discussions held virtually, and access to one to one coaching services—all designed to help members improve their financial health.
In celebration of the current 2022 tax season, Penny Forward’s first online class, “Taking On Taxes: A Beginner’s Guide To The Foreign Language Of Taxes”, covers basic tax concepts and how to complete and file a tax return as a blind person. Classes on budgeting, wise credit usage, and saving and investing will be added by the end of the year, with more classes and membership benefits to follow.
ABOUT PENNY FORWARD
Founded in 2021, Penny Forward Inc is a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation whose mission is to help blind people confidently navigate the landscape of personal finance through education, mentoring, and mutual support. They envision a world where blind people have the resources to weather hard times, take advantage of rare opportunities, and generously support causes they deeply care about. More information about Penny Forward’s mission, vision, and team is available at their web site, pennyforward.com.
Christopher Peterson, Founder, President, and CEO