Entries by Emily Hickox

Financial Success amidst the Holiday Season

Regardless of what holiday your family celebrates, there are an abundance of gifts being exchanged during the month of December and the expense of all that gift giving can sneak up on you. If you’ve been working hard to stay on budget and gain financial stability this year, don’t let this season derail your progress. There are three things to keep in mind from now until New Year’s to stay on course to improving your financial health.


GetLifted Program

We are excited to share that we have been selected to be a part of Capital One’s GetLifted program! When we first heard about this program, we thought this was a fantastic way to bring financial education to the communities we serve.  In this article, we will explain all about the program, the volunteer positions we are looking to fill and how you can become a part of this exciting project!

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How to Navigate Buying a Home with Student Loan Debt

Consumers’ first line of defense against frauds is awareness, which is why CCCSMD works to safeguard them. People most frequently associate scams with attacks on their identity or financial security, but as the amount of fraud rises, so do the attack strategies, and individual people aren’t the only group being targeted. Scammers target businesses, especially nonprofit and volunteer organizations, and their actions can cause significant financial harm.


Are You Living Within Your Business Means?

The key to achieving long term financial success is to balance your investments and business expenses with your income to ensure that you’re operating within your means. You may need to invest in a variety of products, services, tools and technologies to help your business grow, but these investments should always be made with a sound budget in mind.

Board Member Spotlight – Gail Sanders

Gail H. Sanders is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Upon graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she moved to Maryland to accept a teaching position.  After receiving a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University and teaching for nine years in public and private schools, she changed the direction of her career and began working […]


Two Personal Financial Apps that Changed our Finances

When my wife and I began carefully budgeting four years ago, we sat down and developed a budget and a system for tracking our spending. In the old days, we may have handwritten a list to track our purchases or put cash in envelopes to use throughout the month, but this is 2022, and there are now more options available than ever for tracking your finances.

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The Racial Wealth Gap – Turning Shortage into Abundance

History tells us that differences in wealth exist between varying ethnic or racial groups and the racial wealth gap has been looming over us for centuries.  The term “racial wealth gap” refers to the difference in assets owned by various racial or ethnic groups, which results from a range of factors that affect the overall economic well-being of these different groups.

Evading and Escaping the Credit Card Trap

When used responsibly, credit cards can be very convenient and useful financial management tools. The various perks, including travel rewards, are hard to ignore; and the cash back rewards are truly free money! Credit cards also offer excellent security and protection against fraud.


Board Member Spotlight – Joyce Odongo

We are pleased to introduce you to one of our outstanding board members, Joyce Odongo! Joyce is the Florida Community Development Officer for Bank OZK, a large regional bank concentrated in the southern U.S., with more than 200 branches in five states: Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Joyce has more than 20 years […]


Mortgage Types

If you’re searching for a house, there’s a good chance you might also be searching for a mortgage. With so many choices, it’s hard to know which mortgage type is right for you. A variety of factors will impact which mortgage type to choose, including, but not limited to, the property price, type, and location, […]


Affordable Summer Fun

Every summer brings the challenge of trying to cram as much fun into two months as possible without depleting your bank account.  Summer of 2021 promises to be much better than 2020 as CDC guidelines are relaxed and traditional events and activities are returning to our communities. Traveling, attending events and throwing backyard parties all […]

Navigating the Home Loan Process

So, you’re ready to buy your first home? Wonderful! When done right, home ownership can be a truly rewarding and financially beneficial experience. Owning a home provides flexibility, stability, and freedom that renting cannot match. Still, the home buying process can be intimidating, especially in a housing market where prices keep going up and where […]

Keys Unlock Dreams Initiative

Interview with Laurie Benner, Associate Vice President of Programs We interviewed CCCSMD Board Member Laurie Benner, of National Fair Housing Alliance, on her involvement in a new initiative, Keys Unlock Dreams. What is the Keys Unlock Dreams initiative and what is your role in the program? The Keys Unlock Dreams initiative is a three-year, 10-city […]