FII Mother and Daughter

Family Independence Initiative

Family Independence Initiative Twin Cities (FII Twin Cities) is a data-driven strategy that invests directly in the initiative and strength of low-income/low-wealth families. The Wilder Foundation partners with FII national to support families as they work in peer groups to move themselves out of poverty. 

How It Works

FII Twin Cities starts with the assumption that society has underestimated the capacity and initiative of low-income communities to improve their financial well-being. Our goal is to remove the barriers and debunk the myths that families face as they work to escape poverty.

Our approach is simple, but requires commitment and connection.

Family Responsibilities:

  • Organize a group of friends, colleagues, community members
  • Work with 5-7 other families/households to identify goals (e.g. wealth creation, stable housing, health and wellness, affordable child care, education)
  • Attend monthly meetings
  • Submit a monthly online journal
  • Participate and engage

Wilder Responsibilities:

  • Compensate participants for time and data
  • Track data and trends to provide insight on what is needed to help families achieve goals
  • Make capital resources available (e.g. loans, grants, lending circles)

It's never too late to invest in your family's future.

Become Part of the Movement

Family-led movements will change the fabric of our communities. This is your chance to be part of it.

Families who want to participate in FII should:

  • Seek a referral from a current FII family
  • Organize a group of friends, colleagues or neighbors you want to work with
  • Complete a nomination form

Organizations and businesses that want to support FII Twin Cities and help families escape poverty should contact Norka Avignon Petersen at 651.280.2462 or

Courageous Stories

Mary Chazen is a participant in Wilder's Family Independence Initiative-Twin Cities,

The Family Independence Initiative Invests in the Strength of Low-Income Communities: ‘We Are the Ones Making the Change’

Mary Chazen was ready. Nearly two years after joining the Family Independence Initiative Twin Cities, Mary had begun recruiting new families to join the movement.

“I see how much of a difference it can make when you have t...More about this story »