Building Financial Capability in Immigrant and Refugee Communities

As a follow-up to a popular NIIC 2013 session, this best practice-based panel will provide more practical examples of holistically-developed “nuts and bolts” being used to increase the financial capability of immigrants and refugees as they move towards citizenship and/or enter the financial mainstream. The panel will include successful models from the field and discuss challenges facing financial inclusion. Presenters will detail tools, products, program design, and innovative implementation strategies of their local asset-building programs. Moderator:

  • Cynthia Arreola, Senior Program Manager, NALCAB -- As Senior Federal Grants Manager, Cynthia is responsible for managing NALCAB’s federal grants for performance and compliance, ensuring strong internal systems and driving high quality implementation. She works with senior staff on administrating funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s OneCPD Program, Fair Housing Initiative Program and Neighborhood Stabilization Program II and provides supplementary support on technical assistance and resource development projects as needed. Cynthia, bilingual, received her BBA in International Business Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bilingual Business Certification from her studies in Mexico and Argentina.


  • Mattias Kraemer, Deputy Director of Asset Building Programs, Mission Economic Development Agency, San Francisco -- As Deputy Director of Asset Building Programs at Mission Economic Development Agency in San Francisco (MEDA), Mattias Kraemer’s responsibilities include management of diverse multi-platform projects including CFSI’s Credit Building through VITA, FINRA Foundation’s Financial Capability in San Francisco Hotels, UWBA’s SparkPoint San Francisco Plaza Adelante, and the national hackathon’s winning smart phone app - MEDA Pulse. Internally, responsibilities include program design and support, curriculum development, capacity building and agency wide financial capability performance management. A Chileno double national, Mattias holds an M.A in Cultural Anthropology from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, as well as a B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
  • Chancee Martorell, Executive DirectorThai Town Community Development Center, Los Angeles -- Born in Thailand and raised in Los Angeles, Martorell studied political science and public law at UCLA where she received her B.A. and her M.A. in Urban Planning with a specialization in Urban Regional Development/Third World Development. She also studied Humanities at Chiang Mai University in Northern Thailand in 1988. Engaged in social activism for the past 28 years, Martorell is currently the Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center, a non-profit organization she founded in 1994 in an effort to improve the lives of Thai immigrants through services that promote cultural adjustment and economic self-sufficiency.
  • Isabel Rubio, Executive Director, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Birmingham -- Isabel Watkins Rubio is a second generation Latina born and raised in post-civil rights era Mississippi. A social worker by training, Ms. Rubio was led to found the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama in 1999 as she observed the rapidly growing Hispanic population in Alabama. Remembering Birmingham and Alabama's place in the Civil Rights Movement, Ms. Rubio believes that lessons learned from that struggle will help Hispanics in Alabama and the broader community integrate in a more peaceful and intentional manner.
  • Hee Joo Yoon, Executive Director, Korean Resource Center -- Hee Joo Yoon is the executive director of the Korean Resource Center. Prior to leading KRC, Hee Joo has been the KRC program director since 2005, after volunteering at KRC for thirteen years. She has been instrumental in developing and strengthening the organization’s programs and services which now include the areas of health access, civic engagement, youth leadership development, immigration legal services, and financial empowerment. Hee Joo was recently honored by the White House as Champion of Change for her leadership in launching and managing an impactful, culturally competent housing and foreclosure prevention program.