The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, empowers low- and moderate-income households to build and preserve assets by advancing policies and programs that help them achieve the American Dream, including buying a home, pursuing higher education, starting a business and saving for the future. As a leading source for data about household financial security and policy solutions, CFED understands what families need to succeed. We promote programs on the ground and invest in social enterprises that create pathways to financial security and opportunity for millions of people.
CFED promotes policies and strategies that empower people to build and protect their savings and assets, recognizing that income alone does not translate into financial security. Our data shows that nearly half of Americans (43%) have almost no savings. These “liquid asset poor” families would fall into poverty in just three months if a job loss or other emergency left them without an income.
Our goal is to ensure that every family has access to the tools it needs to achieve the American Dream, including buying a home, pursuing higher education, starting a business and saving for the future. We believe that this country cannot thrive if long-term financial security and opportunity are out of reach for millions of people.
As a leading source for data about household financial security and policy solutions, CFED understands what helps families succeed. We start by analyzing the scope of the problem. We then identify promising ideas and test them with community partners to find out what works. Finally, we turn those ideas into action by promoting programs on the ground and investing in social enterprises that create pathways to financial security and opportunity for millions of families.
Inspired by Michael Sherraden’s pivotal work in 1990, “asset building” emerged as a strategy for helping families escape poverty. Whereas traditional approaches to poverty alleviation emphasized increasing income, recent research has proven that income is necessary but insufficient for solving poverty. Instead, assets—concrete and tangible resources like a home, savings, an education or a business—must accompany income to help families move up the economic ladder.
Assets have been proven to create a financial buffer to weather emergencies, promote success in the labor market, inspire long-term thinking and planning, and enhance the economic and psychological well-being of individuals and their families. To learn more about these and other benefits of assets-based approaches to promoting pathways to financial security, read CFED’s publication, Why Assets Matter.