MoneyWork$: Learning To Make Ends Meet


By Priya Pratap and Roxana Calderon

February 2016


Every immigrant has a story, sometimes full of success, loss, or both. Opening Doors has developed a program, MoneyWork$, to provide immigrants with the education and resources they need to become successful and self-sufficient.


Ricardo Gomez is an example of success and the profound influence MoneyWork$ can have on someone's life and family. He has three children who inspired him to move his family away from the imminent danger they faced in Mexico to the United States. In Mexico, his family had no sense of security, always fearing for their safety and the likeliness of being kidnapped. This fear limited their occupational and educational opportunities, and made it difficult to sustain a normal life. The risk of leaving their home, family, friends, and employment was worth the possibilities that awaited them, so Ricardo obtained legal residency as an asylee and moved himself and his kids to the United States.


When Ricardo came to the United States, he struggled to find financial stability and he continued to spiral into more debt. Fortunately, he discovered our MoneyWork$ program and his financials did a complete turnaround. His goals coming into our program were to have a firm hold on his finances, to understand the U.S. financial system, and to implement what he learned.


Ricardo was an exemplary MoneyWork$ student, demonstrating considerable engagement and knowledge. He actively applied the principles he learned on credit, insurance, budgeting, and further education in classes to recover from his financial downfall. He also learned about health and educational institutional programs that could benefit him and his family.


Our MoneyWork$ program inspired him. With his newly found knowledge and opportunities, he quit his path of unstable, low-income, and labor intensive jobs where he was usually mistreated, and transitioned to a field he is passionate about as a sales representative at a construction company. He also decided to take English classes, which he didn’t speak until he came to the U.S.


After risking everything to come to the United States and struggling to make ends meet, Ricardo Gomez found our MoneyWork$ program, which educated and empowered him to establish self-sufficiency and pursue his passions. He felt these things were unreachable when he first came to the United States. Not only was he able to give a better life to his family, but he was able to create a more promising future for himself.


We would like to thank our funders who make the MoneyWork$ program possible:

  • Citibank
  • Comerica Bank
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Kelly Foundation
  • Mechanics Bank
  • Bank of the West
  • Sacramento Bank of Commerce
  • First Northern Bank

Read other articles from February 2016:

Deborah Ortiz Assumes CEO Role at Opening Doors

You Can Give a Safe Night: New App Finds Beds for Survivors of Trafficking