In the news: Alan Gentle
Alan Gentle, manager of the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment, has been tapped to receive a Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Award from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. Gentle is being honored for transforming the small employment resource center into an effective, full-service financial opportunity center with free financial and employment coaching. Gentle’s commitment to public service and his ability to empower staff, volunteers, and the people they serve is a major factor in the success of the programs provided at the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment.
When Mayor Martin Walsh first took office, he challenged Boston city employees, including Gentle, to brainstorm ways to help Boston families improve their economic mobility. Such efforts led to the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment and the transformation of the Roxbury Resource Center into the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment, within the Office of Workforce Development, funded by the BPDA.
Today, charged with the responsibility of providing economic mobility and workforce development for Boston residents, RCFE serves five to six thousand residents per year. This transformation required initiative and professionalism. The number of employees at RCFE doubled. Gentle and his staff underwent extensive training and certification to become financial coaches while also learning grant management tools and new software. Alan also had to create a public communication program to inform residents about these free opportunities and encourage them to participate.
Additionally, Gentle had responsibility for managing the move to a new and less visible location. Despite these challenges, he and his staff have met service goals for financial coaching to several hundred residents per year (in English or Spanish), tax preparation for nearly 1,500 households each year, and free counseling for several thousand individuals who come to RCFE workshops on credit building, workforce development, or job assistance. This success has resulted in more funding for their work and helps assure the continuation of these remarkable programs.