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Fortera Credit Union creates Fortera Foundation to Combat Generational Poverty

Fortera Credit UnionClarksville, TN – Fortera Credit Union has announced its establishment of the Fortera Foundation.  The not-for-profit organization aims to help break the cycle of generational poverty and improve families’ long-term financial stability. 

“Fulfilling our purpose to be a force for financial good, it was important to Fortera that we establish an entity dedicated solely to supporting our community impact initiatives,” said Tom Kane, Fortera Credit Union President and CEO.  The Fortera Foundation aligns our core values, resources and commitment to make meaningful investments in the communities we serve,” said Kane.

Fortera Foundation

Within its focus, the foundation seeks to address a particularly high rate of poverty among single mothers. 

As reported by the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau, 80 percent of single parent families in the U.S. are headed by single mothers.

More than 30 percent of those are living in poverty, five times the poverty rate of married families. Local demographics reflect this trend with higher-than-average divorce and fertility rates contributing to a high percentage of single mother households living below the poverty line.

Numerous barriers preventing educational and occupational opportunity make it especially challenging for single mothers to raise their families’ standard of living.  While single mother poverty rates improve at an average rate of 33 percent with each advancement in educational level, only 8 percent of single mothers who start college earn an associate or bachelor’s degree within six years, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The issues are further compounded by COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic related challenges as many single mothers struggle to balance employment and remote learning requirements for their families.  Once forced to choose between rearing a child and furthering their own education, sole income earners are now also faced with foregoing employment to stay home with their children during the pandemic.

Bridging the Gap

Recognizing a need to provide greater access to higher education, the foundation funds an Austin Peay State University (APSU) scholarship program to provide supportive assistance to single parents. 

“Earning a post-secondary degree is a well-established pathway out of poverty, yet it can be difficult to achieve with obstacles such as childcare, transportation and financial strain,” said Ginna Holleman, President of Fortera Foundation and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Fortera.

“Fortera Foundation works to bridge the gap in resources, empowering single parent students to overcome challenges, enter college and graduate with a life-changing degree.  In doing so, they pave the way to a more prosperous life for their families while inspiring educational goals for their children and the generations behind them,” said Holleman.

Information about applying for a scholarship through the Fortera Foundation Bridge Fund will soon be distributed to students through APSU’s Office of Financial Aid at the start of the 2020 fall semester. 



Beyond providing financial assistance, the foundation will also partner with Austin Peay State University and other educational institutions to offer financial literacy and coaching programs.  Furthering a broader mission, the organization will support additional initiatives that strengthen the economic self-sufficiency of Fortera members and local residents.

For more information about Fortera Foundation’s impact, visit forteracu.com/ForteraFoundation

About Fortera Credit Union

Established in 1954, Fortera Credit Union has expanded from serving the United States Army Base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to a full-service financial cooperative serving Montgomery and Stewart counties in Tennessee, as well as Christian, Trigg, and Todd counties in Kentucky. Headquartered in Clarksville, Tennessee, Fortera has more than 64,000 members worldwide and over $640 million in assets.  


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