Steve Cape, Education Program Manager at RDI, has devised the concept for a budgeting class for developmentally-disabled individuals who live independently and need a simple budgeting system to manage their finances.

Cape developed the concept after receiving calls from several independent living centers—which provide support to individuals with developmental disabilities—looking for a budgeting class to use with their residents. However, he was unable to find any programs designed for this audience.

“People forget that we have a sizeable population which needs a simple way to manage their finances,” says Cape.

He decided that the “envelope system”—a method currently used with people who have typical budgeting needs—could be simplified for use by the developmentally disabled. The system teaches people to determine their budgets and place amounts allocated for each category of expense into envelopes. When the envelopes are empty, they are done spending on that category for the budget cycle. Most people might have ten to fifteen envelopes; someone in the simplified system might have five.

Cape has shelved the project for the time being due to a lack of funding. He says that while there is a significant population in need of such a program, the need is narrow enough that the required funding is too small to apply for a foundation grant, and that smaller grants programs—like MFEC’s mini-grants program—are a great opportunity to fund such small pilot programs. “Mini-grants are perfect for funding all those unique projects and experiments that would otherwise get left on the table.”

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