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Take Charge America is a nonprofit financial counseling agency that has helped more than 2 million people nationwide transform their financial outlooks with one-on-one guidance to pay off debts, regain financial independence and save for the future. An industry pioneer and leader, we are proud to drive many of the innovations and services that have supported consumers in financial distress since 1987.

As a nonprofit agency, our mission is rooted in providing our clients and the general public with free financial education. We offer counseling, resources and knowledge that generate a profound ripple effect, improving financial wellbeing at the individual, household and community levels – and ultimately leading to a positive and sustainable economic impact.

We have already helped our clients manage and repay more than $6 billion in personal debts – and we have offered much-needed guidance to millions more through our public outreach and education efforts, preventing many debt challenges from developing in the first place.

Highest Level of Industry Standards

We are committed to the highest levels of ethical business practices and quality service, taking extra steps to earn, maintain and even set industry standards.

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Better Business Bureau

For decades, we have maintained an A+ rating from the BBB of Arizona, the highest possible rating a member organization can receive for sound and transparent business practices.

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COA Accreditation

We have proudly attained COA Accreditation. Council on Accreditation is an independent organization that ensures all of our programs and services are delivered at the highest possible standards.

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National Foundation for Credit Counseling®

Considered the “Gold Standard” in financial counseling, we are active members of the NFCC, a nonprofit association providing counselor education, legislative advocacy and expansive consumer resources.

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Financial Counseling Association of America

As a member of the FCAA, a member-supported national association, we meet strict statutory requirements and commit to delivering services with integrity, fairness and professionalism.


Take Charge America provides financial education and counseling services to improve the lives of individuals and families.


Take Charge America will be an essential lifelong resource for those seeking education, guidance, options and solutions for improving their financial health.

Code of Ethics

Ethical, accurate performance is crucial to our success as a nonprofit organization. We value the trust our stakeholders have placed in us, and we adhere to a code of ethics in order to maintain it.

Core Values

Commitment to quality service and education

Accountability to the public

Commitment beyond the law

Respect for pluralism and diversity

Transparency, integrity and honesty

Accuracy, timeliness and follow through

Responsible stewardship of resources

Respect for the worth and dignity of individuals

Commitment to excellence, always

In the Community

We offer free tools, resources and guidance to people facing a variety of financial challenges, helping them develop effective financial habits, budget to meet living expenses and manage debt. Learn what we do, how we do it, and how you or your organization can benefit.

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Annual Report

For an in-depth overview of our recent activities and achievements, download our Annual Report for Fiscal 2018-2019.

Click cover to download PDF.


Executive Team

David Richardson, CPA


With a proven track record of guiding organizations in the nonprofit and financial sectors, David steers the strategic direction of Take Charge America, overseeing all operational activities, mission-focused business development and the implementation of new service offerings.

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Carol Lown

Vice President/Chief Compliance and Communications Officer

Carol Lown joined Take Charge America in 1999. She oversees compliance, communications, education and outreach programs, and marketing and public relations efforts.

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Christie Barfoot

Director of Education and Training

Christie is instrumental in developing and distributing the educational content that is central to the organization’s mission of serving as an essential lifelong resource. She engages in cross-departmental collaboration to consistently improve educational materials and meet evolving consumer needs.

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Richard McDaniel

Director of Security

As head of IT, Richard identifies and executes corporate security initiatives and standards. He resolves technical difficulties while embracing long-term strategic thinking to ensure sensitive financial information, assets and intellectual property are protected.

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Wendy Anderson

Corporate Secretary/Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance

Wendy directs and manages regulatory compliance activities including state licensing applications and reporting, regulatory examinations, and dissemination of applicable statutory requirements for bankruptcy, credit counseling, housing counseling and student loan counseling services.

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Board of Directors

Ralph Gilbertson, Chairman

Managing Director, CBRE, Inc.

Global Corporate Services

Kerwin Brown

Managing Principal

K-Vaughn Consulting, LLC

Deborah Haynes, Ph.D

Associate Professor, Health & Human Development

Montana State University

Jody Davis

Private Mortgage Banker

BMO Harris Bank

Andrea White

Master Certified Coach

Self Employed

Sherry Celaya

Chief Financial Officer

Phoenix Union High School District

Jonathan Fox, Ph.D

Professor, Human Development & Family Studies

Iowa State University

Brenda Blunt


Eide Bailly LLP

Alice Sweeney

Industry Consultant

Self Employed

Explore Free Financial Resources

Arm yourself with the knowledge to create lifelong financial independence. Get tips and tools for managing debt, developing effective financial habits, budgeting to meet living expenses and saving for the future.

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