Common Heart, located in Indian Trail, North Carolina, began as a small faith-based anti-poverty organization in 2006 and has continued in its mission to empower people to move out of poverty. Through Common Heart, over 350 volunteers serve more than 10,000 families.

Getting Ahead, an aha! Process program, is used by Common Heart, and part of Common Heart Getting Ahead is the Emergency Savings Incentive Program, which is a voluntary yearlong resource-building program for families that are enrolled in Getting Ahead.

The Emergency Savings Incentive Program (ESIP) is voluntary, lasts for 12 months, and is a resource-building incentive program for families in Getting Ahead.

ESIP participants take steps toward becoming economically self-sufficient while receiving support from the community to meet their goals. When participants meet program requirements, they receive a one-time deposit of $500 into a savings account. Participants have one year to complete the ESIP program, and the $500 is given after completion.

To receive money, participants must meet program objectives, which include:

  • Completion of Getting Ahead while incorporating at least one SMART goal plan
  • Completion of scheduled Getting Ahead assessments at the time of enrollment, at six months after enrollment, and at one year after enrollment
  • Earning 35 ESIP points within six months to a year of enrollment
  • Making progress toward meeting SMART goals

ESIP points may be earned by:

  • Volunteering with Common Heart or with Thrive! Union Agency
  • Volunteering as an “agency representative” during a poverty simulation
  • Participating in Advocates for Change resource meetings
  • Playing a supporting role in Bridges workshops
  • Completing one or more Staying Ahead courses

Courses that may be taken to earn ESIP points include: Job Search Assistance, Resumes and Job Searching Skills, Computer Skills for Job Seekers, Social Media for Job Seekers, Communication Skills for the Workplace, and Working Smart 4 ESIP Points. Courses are offered at South Piedmont Community College.