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Financial Opportunity Center

Financial Opportunity Center

The Financial Opportunity Center (or FOC, formerly Center for Working Families) serves as a hub for financial planning and economic empowerment services at North Lawndale Employment Network. Our FOC staff provide outreach, coaching, and assistance with benefits applications to help you reach your economic goals. 

Our FOC staff provide free credit-building programs including soft pull credit reports, credit report and score analyses, assistance in removing errors from credit reports, and help in establishing a credit history. We also provide free financial education workshops, assistance in enrolling in public aid programs and household budgeting advice.

The FOC program integrates long-term financial coaching into NLEN’s existing services, showing you how to expand your financial education and access credit-building programming. Clients enrolled in two or more FOC services are:

  • 4 times more likely to improve their credit rating

  • 11 times more likely to improve net worth

  • 14 times more likely to improve net income


By adding income supports and financial coaching alongside employment services, the FOC connects residents to the economic mainstream and improves our communities.  

For more information about Financial Literacy and Education, or to set up an appointment with a Financial Coach, please contact 773-638-7070.

Most recently, we are excited to announce a partnership with Nourishing Hope (formerly Lakeview Pantry) to increase local access to fresh food. Through Nourishing Hope's innovative Online Marketplace, people can select fresh produce and dairy products, frozen meat, and other grocery and personal items online once a month and pick up at the NLEN campus. NLEN Online Marketplace Pickup is every 3rd Monday of the month, with cart finalization the Thursday and Friday prior. To learn more about the Nourishing Hope Online Marketplace, visit this link. 

To receive assistance in signing up for the Nourishing Hope Online Marketplace, email or call 773-638-7070


View upcoming FOC events at:

Office Hours 

LISC Chicago FOC Resource Room

Monday - Thursday:  9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Friday:  Closed to the Public


2023-2024 Energy Assistance Application Schedule

We will begin accepting Energy Assistance applications for eligible Cook County Illinois Residents on the following schedule for the 2023-24 service year: 

October 2nd 2023: Applications open for Cook County residents age 65+, residents with a disability, and residents with children ages 6 and under. 

November 1st 2023: Applications open for Cook County residents who have received shutoff notices or utility shutoffs. 

December 1st 2023: Applications open for all other Cook County residents. Find information on Energy Assistance eligibility, required documents, and other guidelines at this link. 

Call or email Lead Energy Assistance Technician Ana to schedule your appointment for Energy Assistance applications: 

Email: Phone: 773-265-7940 

Energy Assistance Hours of Operation


Starting October 2nd 2023 our FOC team will assist people with Energy Assistance Applications during the following Hours of Operation at NLEN's 1111 S. Homan Ave Campus: 

Mondays: Closed
Tuesday through Thursday: 9:30AM to 2:30PM

Fridays: By Appointment Only

All Program Teleconference Orientations 

Mondays & First Fridays at 10 am

Call 773-584-4588 Enter Code 4573.

Nourishing Hope Online Marketplace:

NLEN's Nourishing Hope Online Market pickup date is the 3rd Monday of every month. Pickup will take place at North Lawndale Employment Network's campus at 1111 S. Homan Ave.

Online Marketplace orders and cart finalization will take place the Thursday and Friday prior to pickup. 

For assistance in joining the Online Market, contact the Financial Opportunity Center at or call 773-638-7070.

Learn about some of the work being done at NLEN's Financial Opportunity Center.

To learn more about LISC and our work through this partnership, please watch the short video below.

Check out our Digital Literacy Program!

Click here for the Digital Education Schedule.

For more information, contact Kimberly Rayford at or 773-638-8207 x8207.

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