Pocket Change

The center pilots a new financial capability program, Pocket Change, designed to help low-income youth in North Carolina develop financial socialization skills that enable them to become financially secure adults.


The UNC Center for Community Capital is piloting a targeted financial capability program, called Pocket Change, that will provide basic financial socialization skills associated with increased financial efficacy and long-term prospects for financial health that are often absent or incomplete in financially vulnerable youth.

While the latest research shows a preponderance of evidence linking attitudes and behaviors with financial outcomes, this framework has not been integrated into the development of financial education programs, particularly those for youth.

Pocket Change, thus, focuses on changing financial behaviors and attitudes that empower youth to view themselves as financial agents. Key program elements include:

  • Research-based content and curriculum designed to change behaviors and attitudes that lead to healthy spending habits and financial outcomes.
  • Flexible program delivery that works within existing youth development and college readiness programs to leverage and enhance both.
  • Frequent and ongoing evaluation that enables improvements while the program evolves.

Partner Requirements

The center seeks partners to fund and pilot this program in North Carolina.

The ideal program partner will be an existing social, emotional and academically based development program geared toward serving financially vulnerable youth in middle and high schools in North Carolina, as well as schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

Pocket Change offers targeted financial capability programing through a flexible, “pocket”-based curriculum. Discrete modules allow partners to select which concepts they cover and how much time they spend on them.

Project Team

Sonia Garrison is a financial capability consultant with 20 years’ experience in community development and consumer finance in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She brings extensive research, policy analysis and project management experience in the areas of affordable housing, mortgage finance, consumer bank accounts and student loans.

Mark McDaniel, senior research associate at the center, leads the center’s collaboration with Bridges2Success, an early childhood-to-career research and education initiative focused on helping males of color achieve academic and life success.  He brings a diverse set of experiences in conceptualizing, designing and implementing initiatives that improve the socio-economic outcomes of low-income residents and the neighborhoods in which they reside.


To learn more and explore partnership opportunities, contact Sonia Garrison, soniaagarrison@gmail.com, (919) 491-9239.



The UNC Center for Community Capital conducts research and policy analysis on ways to make financial services work better for more people and communities.


© 2017 UNC Center for Community Capital
1700 Martin Luther King Blvd., Suite 129 • CB#3452, Chapel Hill NC 27599-3452 • 919.843.2140 • 877.783.2359 • communitycapital@unc.edu