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Story of Good: Using on-the-job skills to help domestic violence survivors

Research analyst Sarah Lawrence volunteered with her team to help The Allstate Foundation develop a financial wellbeing measurement tool

Editor's Note: The Stories of Good video series highlights the people who make Allstate a different kind of company. We believe that when we bring our individual passion and purpose to everything we do, we not only bring Our Shared Purpose to life – we make the world a better place.

Sarah Lawrence, an employee at Allstate Northern Ireland, usually works on projects that inform business decisions and answer questions about consumer behavior. It's all part of her role as a research analyst on the Market Research & Insights team.

Recently, Lawrence used her time and skills in a different way: on a volunteer project to help The Allstate Foundation further its mission of ending domestic violence.

Empowering domestic violence survivors through financial education

Financial abuse often accompanies domestic violence, keeping victims trapped in abusive relationships. The Allstate Foundation created its Moving Ahead Curriculum for local nonprofits to teach financial basics to domestic violence survivors. The curriculum includes topics such as budgeting, managing debt and improving credit.

The Allstate Foundation wanted a strategic and consistent way to understand how the Moving Ahead Curriculum affected domestic violence survivors' financial wellbeing over time.

So, the Foundation partnered with Lawrence and her colleagues on the Market Research & Insights team to develop a financial wellbeing measurement tool. It was uniquely designed for and informed by domestic violence survivors.

"I've always had a keen interest in using my research skills to provide a voice to marginalized sections of society. The opportunity to work with The Allstate Foundation on this project was an absolute pleasure for me."

Sarah Lawrence
Research Analyst, Market Research & Insights team

 

Tracking financial wellbeing with research-based methods

The tool Lawrence helped develop is a 15-question survey. It allows domestic violence programs to assess a participant's financial wellbeing before using the Moving Ahead Curriculum. It can also be used to track changes in financial wellbeing after curriculum completion.

The survey is based on several predictors of financial wellbeing, including economic empowerment, financial strain and subjective satisfaction.

One of the inputs for creating the financial wellbeing tool was previous research from The Allstate Foundation, which surveyed 450 domestic violence survivors who'd completed the Moving Ahead Curriculum.

Lawrence drew upon her background in sociology, social research methods and criminology to help the project team develop and test the tool.

"I've always had a keen interest in using my research skills to provide a voice to marginalized sections of society. The opportunity to work with The Allstate Foundation on this project was an absolute pleasure for me," Lawrence said.

The Allstate Foundation is testing the financial wellbeing measurement tool with existing nonprofit partners. Once the pilot is complete, the Foundation will explore the feasibility of sharing the tool with more nonprofit programs across the domestic violence sector.

The Allstate Foundation


The Allstate Foundation is an independent charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. Since 2005, the Foundation has invested over $85 million to end domestic violence and financial abuse and helped more than 2.5 million survivors rebuild their lives through financial empowerment.

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