FAIM Program

FAIM Program: Family Assets For Independence In Minnesota

Minn CAP Pam Johnson, Rep Jeff Backer, and WCMCA Executive Director Steve Nagle

Pam Johnson, Minn CAP, introduced the FAIM bill and Rep Jeff Backer signed on to the FAIM bill. Pictured left to right: Rep Jeff Backer, Pam Johnson and Steve Nagle.

What is FAIM?

FAIM is a matched savings project that assists low-wage workers at or below 200% of poverty to build assets. Participants save earned income each month that is matched at a 3:1 ratio by the public and private sector. FAIM is known also as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).

How Can the Funds be Used?

FAIM helps participants:

  • Purchase a home
  • Pursue a higher education
  • Begin or enhance a small business

Participants will save earned income each month. The maximum savings per month is $40 for two (2) years. Once families reach their savings goals, matched funds will be added and the monies can be used.  The application can be found here: Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) Application

Purpose of FAIM

FAIM helps people change spending and savings behaviors, including consumer debt reduction. Participants complete a comprehensive 22-hour Financial Strategies for Success course. The course includes Economic Literacy (12 hours), plus 10 hours in one of Homestretch, Micro-enterprise, and Higher Education tracts, depending on the use of the savings.

Income Guidelines for FAIM

FAIM 2015 Poverty Guidelines Chart
Persons in Family/Household100% Poverty GuidelineFAIM Guideline (200%)
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,180 for 100% and $8,360 for FAIM for each additional person.

Upcoming Classes

The 2016 Class Schedule


The History of FAIM

The 1998 Minnesota Legislature enacted FAIM as a four (4)-year pilot project. President Clinton signed the Assets for Independence Act in October 1998, which funded a four (4)-year federal demonstration pilot project. Both laws were passed with bipartisan support. The pilot project began on January 1, 2000 and operated through December 31, 2003.

Funds invested in FAIM leverage public and private dollars. Governor Tim Pawlenty signed legislation to appropriate $500,000 in State funding. The FAIM Collaborative has received $1,000,000 in federal funds. The McKnight Foundation has committed funding state-wide for financial coaching.

FAIM Funding Sources

FAIM is administered by West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc., serving the five (5) counties of Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse, and is funded by federal and state monies, The West Central Minnesota Initiative Fund, and The McKnight Foundation.

For additional information on the FAIM Program contact Kelli  320-815-2692 or leave a message for Kelli on our toll-free number:  800-492-4805 or email: kelliw@wcmca.org