Opportunity Passport®2018-10-02T13:03:51-05:00

What is Opportunity Passport®?

Opportunity Passport is a financial literacy and matched saving program. It helps young adults transitioning from foster care become financially capable through:

  • Financial and money management education

  • Helping participants open, maintain, and grow a bank account in their name

  • Matching participant savings dollar for dollar (up to $3,000) to help them purchase approved assets like a car, housing, or education-related expenses

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative created the Opportunity Passport and supports its implementation in Mississippi and other sites across the country.

We will begin enrolling new Opportunity Passport participants in 2019! Read on for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate in Opportunity Passport in Mississippi?2018-10-02T13:02:28-05:00

To be eligible to participate in Opportunity Passport, you must:

  • Be at least sixteen, but have not yet turned 26
  • Have spent at least one day in foster care after your 14th birthday
  • Live in Mississippi
  • Commit to completing a 20-minute online survey twice per year, in April and October
What is an asset?2018-10-01T13:51:34-05:00

An asset is something that you own that has value. The Opportunity Passport program has a set list of approved assets toward which we can contribute matching funds. Some examples include the purchase of a car, tuition for college, or a security deposit for an apartment.

Some examples of the types of expenses that Opportunity Passport does NOT provide matching funds for are month-to-month rent, clothing, cell phone and utility bills, or other types of recurring costs.

What does “matched savings” mean?2018-10-01T13:52:54-05:00

The Opportunity Passport program provides a dollar-for-dollar match on the money that you save toward the purchase of an asset. Here’s an example:

You’ve been saving up to to buy a car and now you have $2,500 in your savings or checking account that you want to use toward a down payment. The Opportunity Passport program will “match” your money and provide you with another $2,500, giving you a total of $5,000 to use on the down payment.

What types of purchases can I match for?2018-10-01T13:56:23-05:00

The Guide to Opportunity Passport lists all of the types of assets that we match for in each of the following categories: Vehicles, Credit Building, Housing, Health, Micro-Enterprise, and Education.  It also provides some examples of things that we do not match toward and the documentation we will require to match you for each of the different types of assets.

Can I participate if I don’t have a checking or savings account?2018-10-01T14:01:56-05:00

No. You must have either a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union in order to participate in the Opportunity Passport program. If you don’t have an account already, you will learn more about how to open one at the Opportunity Passport training.

Note: If you were already a participant in Opportunity Passport before 2018, you may still be able to participate in the program without a bank account. Please get in touch with the program coordinator.

How do I enroll in Opportunity Passport?2018-10-01T13:45:47-05:00

To enroll in Opportunity Passport you need to:

  • Complete a Keys to Financial Literacy training session that will help you learn about assets, building good credit, and money management. Click here to find a training session near you.
  • Open a savings or checking account if you do not already have one
  • Submit the Opportunity Passport application form
    • You can submit your application at any time. We will accept 30-40 new participants each year using a lottery process. New applications are considered twice per year in May and November, and you will be contacted if you have been approved for participation.
  • If you are selected for participation, take your initial Opportunity Passport participant survey.

Once you complete these steps, you will receive $150.00 for your savings or checking account!

How will I know if I am enrolled?2018-10-01T13:47:59-05:00

We accept 30-40 new participants each year using a lottery process. Applications will be considered and approved in May and November.

You will be notified by phone and email if you have been approved to participate. Once you are accepted, you can continue your participation up until your 26th birthday as long as you continue to complete your participant survey each April and October and keep your contact information up-to-date with the Opportunity Passport Coordinator.

What do I have to do to stay enrolled?2018-10-01T13:49:48-05:00

To continue your participation in the Opportunity Passport program, you need to:

  • Complete the 20-minute online participant survey twice per year, in April and October
    • Participants who fail to complete two consecutive surveys will be removed from the program and ineligible to receive matching funds.
  • Update the Opportunity Passport coordinator with any changes to your contact information
    • The coordinator needs at least one reliable way to get in touch with you by phone, email, or social media. Participants who do not respond to outreach from the program coordinator during the month prior to survey month will be considered “inactive.”

 

Where and when can I attend an Opportunity Passport training?2018-09-28T14:53:36-05:00

Trainings are held throughout the state on a regular basis. The next scheduled trainings is:

There is nothing scheduled at this time. Please check back soon.

Click here for a full list of upcoming trainings.

What types of purchases can I match for?2018-10-01T13:56:23-05:00

The Guide to Opportunity Passport lists all of the types of assets that we match for in each of the following categories: Vehicles, Credit Building, Housing, Health, Micro-Enterprise, and Education.  It also provides some examples of things that we do not match toward and the documentation we will require to match you for each of the different types of assets.

Do I have to match all $3,000 at once?2018-10-01T13:57:36-05:00

No. You can match multiple times up to a total of $3,000 while you’re in the program. There is no amount too small to match. As an example, you could match $300 toward the security deposit on an apartment, then you could continue to save for a couple years and match $2,000 toward the down payment on a car. Then, later, you could match the remaining $700 toward tuition.

Can I match for the same type of asset more than once?2018-10-01T13:59:57-05:00

Yes! You are welcome to match more than once for an asset from the same category. For example, sometimes young people match for multiple semesters of tuition, different medical expenses, or new apartment deposits if they move.

How do I match my money?2018-10-02T12:55:27-05:00

Step 1

Double-Check that Your Purchase Qualifies for Matching

Contact the Opportunity Passport Coordinator to make sure that the item you want to purchase is on the list of approved assets. We cannot match for purchases that are not on the list of approved assets.

Step 2

Gather Required Documents

The Opportunity Passport Coordinator will let you know what documents you will need to submit in order to have your money matched for the type of asset you want to purchase. For example, before we match your money toward a security deposit on an apartment, we would need a copy of a completed lease agreement and a copy of your bank statement.

Step 3

Submit Documentation and Purchase Request

Submit all of the required documentation to the program coordinator by email or text. The program coordinator will let you know within 3 business days whether your request has been approved or if additional information is needed. After your request has been approved, it will take 7-10 business days to receive the matching check. The check will be made out to the “vendor,” which is the company or person that is selling you the asset.

Step 4

Make your purchase!

Provide the vendor with the match check plus your half of the purchase amount.

Enjoy your purchase!

How long will it take to receive my match money?2018-10-01T14:16:19-05:00

After you submit the required documentation, the program coordinator will let you know within 3 business days whether your request has been approved.

Then, it will take 7-10 days to receive the check for the match money. We can mail the check directly to you or to the vendor. The check will always be made out to the vendor.

When do I need to take the Opportunity Passport survey?2018-10-01T14:24:47-05:00

You will take the survey as part of the process of enrolling in the Opportunity Passport program. Then, you will complete the survey every April and October as long as you continue to be active in the program.

What is the purpose of the survey?2018-10-01T14:24:15-05:00

The purpose of this survey is to learn more about participants, like you, who are using the Opportunity Passport™. The information will be used to see if the Opportunity Passport™ has made a difference to participants in the areas of permanence, education, employment, financial capability, housing, physical and mental health, youth engagement, and social capital. These results will help your community decide how to create opportunities for young people who have been involved in the foster care system.

How is the information collected through the survey used?2018-09-28T17:44:57-05:00

Your information will be used by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to see if the Opportunity Passport™ program has made a difference in the lives of participants and to help create opportunities for other young people leaving foster care.

How do I get the $40 stipend for completing the survey?2018-10-01T14:22:42-05:00

Every time you take the Opportunity Passport Survey, you will receive a $40 stipend. We can either deposit the funds directly into your savings or checking account or mail you a check. If you wish to receive a check by mail, confirm your current address with the Opportunity Passport Coordinator. You will receive your stipend within 2 weeks of completing the survey.