Bloomberg gives Philly $3M for debt ed

Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charity funded by New York Mayor and billionaire financial data mogul Michael Bloomberg, and Living Cities' Cities for Financial Empowement Fund, funded by a coalition of charities, said today they will give $3.3 million to Philadelphia, over the next three years, to staff and equip "Financial Empowerment Centers" at the Municipal Services Building, El Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Peoples' Emergency Center, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Community College of Philadelphia, and Community Legal Services at Broad and Erie.

Counselors will be hired and managed by Clarifi, a nonprofit credit and housing counseling agency that negotiates slower payments at lower rates for people who fall behind on their bank loans.

Clarifi boss Patricia Hasson said in a statement that her group is "excited" to win the funding and open the centers, which Bloomberg credits with "helping more than 19,000 New Yorkers reduce their debt by more than $9 million" since Bloomberg-backed centers first opened there in 2008. The centers won't just target people with problem loans, but also people "entering the financial system" who are trying to establish credit and save money, for example, Hasson told me.

The funders also gave grants to Denver, Nashville, San Antonio, and Lansing, Mich.