Opportunity Passport™

Providing tools for success through financial education & matched savings

Opportunity Passport™ Celebration

On December 1, 2015 youth and adult supporters gathered at the Capital Center’s Hall of Flags in Augusta to celebrate the financial achievements of Maine’s youth in foster care: the Opportunity Passport™, the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative’s matched savings program, has passed the $1M mark of youth savings and matches for asset purchases. This means that since 2004 youth have saved $500,000 and been matched the same amount to purchase assets such as vehicles, educational resources, first apartments, or investments.

Three youth got up to speak about how Opportunity Passport™ has helped them secure safe affordable housing, purchase educational resources, and learn how to budget and manage their finances. In addition, Mary Mayhew, the DHHS Commissioner, expressed her pride in the accomplishments of these youth who are on their way to achieving financial competency, something that eludes many adults.

To view media coverage from WMTW click here, or read the article from the Bangor Daily News here.

The Opportunity Passport™ program provides financial literacy skills and an opportunity for matched savings designed to help youth successfully transition to adulthood. Experienced staff at Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) provide ongoing, consistent support as youth develop savings goals and plan for asset purchases.

Who is eligible?
The Opportunity Passport™ program is for youth who:

  • Are age 14-25
  • Are currently or have been in the Maine foster care system for at least one day since the age of 14
  • Participate in financial education training (dates/locations across ME)
  • Have a job or an ongoing, reliable source of income
  • Have the desire and commitment to save money

How does the program work?

After determination of eligibility and training, youth open a bank account at a financial institution of their choice. Money saved by enrolled youth will be matched, dollar for dollar up to $1,000 per year ($3,000 lifetime maximum), toward purchase of specific assets.

What types of purchases are eligible for matching funds?
Examples of eligible purchases by enrolled youth include:

  • Education: Tuition and room & board, computers
  • Housing: Rent, the purchase of a home, furnishings
  • Transportation: Vehicles and certain associated expenses & repairs, bus passes
  • Medical: dental and health costs
  • Credit Building & credit repair

How do you get involved in Opportunity Passport™?
Referrals can come from caseworkers, foster parents, educators, or support staff. Self-referrals are also encouraged.

For more information, or to download a referral form with instructions, click here.

Hundreds of Maine youth who are currently or formerly in foster care have benefited from Opportunity Passport™ which is funded by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the Maine Department of Health & Human Services, and private funders.

Amanda Sweden was introduced to Opportunity Passport™ by her caseworker while she was enrolled on the V-9 program two years ago. Once she was no longer on the V-9, she was fearful that she would lose her access to Opportunity Passport™ and was happy to find out she could keep it! Read more about Amanda’s path towards economic success.

Opportunity Passport™ is managed by Jobs for Maine’s Graduates(JMG).

Contact JMG for more information:
Debbie Bechard,
207-620-7180, x212

JMG Central Office:
45 Commerce Drive, Suite 9
Augusta, Maine 04330

(207) 620-7180 phone
(207) 620-7185 fax