Valerie Bradshaw PictureValerie was talented, smart, ambitious, and beginning to feel like her dreams and goals were out of reach. She was attending the University of Utah and barely scraping by financially. Her small sewing and design business provided minimal income and she worried constantly about how she would pay even one more semester’s tuition. Then one of her professors suggested she look into Utah Individual Development Account Network (UIDAN). IDA accounts administered by AAA Fair Credit Foundation, are available only to low and moderate income individuals and are matched savings accounts designed to help people save for their future. IDA participant savings and the matching dollars they receive can only be used towards specific items like, buying a home, post-secondary education, growing a small business or assistive technology devices.

“When I found out this program would help me to pay for about a semester and a half of college I couldn’t believe it. Though at times it was a struggle to put away $63 every month, I knew it would help me in the long run. It brought peace of mind, knowing that in a year I would be able to pay my tuition because I’d already saved for it and it had been matched in funds.”

When Valerie’s hard work paid off in the form of a full scholarship which paid for her final semesters of college she was able to use her savings to grow her small business. Her matched IDA savings account, combined with lots of hard work and sacrifice allowed her to reach her dreams. Valerie’s business, Nishiguchi & Bradshaw, specializes in alterations, sewing services, and design consultation. Some of the specialties of her business include custom bridal gowns and costume design.

At the Heart of Our Community are people like Valerie and organizations like AAA Fair Credit Foundation and the UIDAN program where the goal is to expand financial capability and economic opportunity for working families.

It’s what makes Our Community great!

For more information about the AAA Fair Credit Foundation and the UIDAN program or to volunteer or donate visit http://faircredit.org/services_ida.asp

Valerie’s story is brought to you through the Utah Bankers Heart of Our Community initiative. For more stories like Valerie’s follow our blog at www.heartofourcommunity.com or on FaceBook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest #heartofourcommunity #utahsbanks #uidan #aaafaircredit #nishiguchi&bradshaw