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Carl Rist, Director, Children's Savings & Senior Advisor, Asset Building

Areas of Expertise: Children’s Savings Accounts, Enterprise & Economic Development, IDAs, Local Policy, Savings & Financial Security

Carl Rist has spent over 20 years at CFED, working on a variety of strategies to expand economic opportunity and help lower-income households build wealth. Presently, Mr. Rist is the Director of Children’s Savings and a Senior Advisor on Asset Building. In this capacity, Mr. Rist directs CFED’s efforts—including field building, public policy advocacy and consulting services—to ensure that more than a million low-income children have access to Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs). Previously, Mr. Rist launched and directed the 1:1 Fund, a fundraising and marketing tool created by CFED that makes it easy for donors, large and small, to help children save for college by matching their contributions in CSAs.

Mr. Rist’s experience with CSAs also includes directing the SEED (Savings for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment) Policy and Practice Initiative (2003-2009), a multi-year, multi-site demonstration of matched savings accounts for children and youth in low-income families. In addition, Mr. Rist helped to design and implement an innovative partnership between UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the KIPP network of public charter schools and CFED to offer incentivized college savings accounts to KIPP students.

He is the co-author of numerous publications about children’s saving, including Hope in Concrete Form: Children’s Savings Accounts and the Save and Invest Economy; From Piggy Banks to Prosperity: A Guide to Implementing Children's Development Accounts and Children's Savings Accounts: A State Policy Sourcebook.

Prior to his work on children’s savings, Mr. Rist was responsible for CFED's efforts to support state-level policy and coalition-building initiatives designed to expand Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and other asset-building tools. He led the development and design of the initial version of CFED's Assets & Opportunity Scorecard (then known as the State Asset Development Report Card), a comprehensive tool that examines wealth, poverty and financial security across the 50 states and the District of Columbia using performance and policy measures. Mr. Rist's experience at the state level includes working with state task forces in both Delaware and Pennsylvania to develop recommendations for helping citizens, especially those with low incomes, to build and protect assets. Mr. Rist also has served in an advisory capacity for a number of state-level IDA coalitions, including the North Carolina IDA and Asset-Building Collaborative, the Michigan IDA Partnership, the South Carolina IDA Collaborative and the Mid-South IDA Initiative (Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi).

Mr. Rist earned an M.A. in public policy in 1991 from the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University. He also holds an undergraduate degree from Davidson College.


Hope in a Concrete Form: Children’s Savings Accounts and the Save and Invest Economy

Improving Your Business Climate: A Guide to Smarter Public Investments in Economic Development

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Most Recent Blog Posts

Nov 12, 2015

What's Next for the Children's Savings Movement?

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis hosted a first-class convening on Children’s Savings Accounts

Sep 3, 2015

1:1 Fund Kicks Off Two Major Fall Campaigns – Join Today!

The 1:1 Fund, CFED’s fundraising and marketing platform that makes it easy for donors to help kids save for college by matching their deposits into savings accounts, is planning two opportunities this fall to help make kids’ college dreams come true.

Jul 21, 2015

1:1 Fund Partners: Leading the Nation to Expand Children’s Savings

We couldn't do this work to expand children's savings without the support of our outstanding partners.

Jul 9, 2015

Campaign to Expand Children's Savings Launched at Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America

CFED and a number of our partners joined President Clinton on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Conference in Denver to launch the Campaign for Every Kid’s Future.

Jul 18, 2014

Catalyst Forum Brings Together Senator Cory Booker and NFL Star Justin Tuck to Talk with NYC Leaders About CSAs

At an intimate event Monday, co-hosts Justin and Lauran Tuck and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker engaged an audience of New York City leaders in a conversation about children’s savings accounts (CSAs) and college access.

May 28, 2014

Lieutenant Governor Newsom Joins 1:1 Fund in Presenting $150,000 Check to K2C

Last Thursday, at a high-energy assembly at Hillcrest Elementary organized by the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), the 1:1 Fund joined Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

Oct 23, 2013

Check Out the New and Improved 1:1 Fund Website

The 1:1 Fund has launched a new and improved website to match kids' college dreams dollar for dollar.

Oct 14, 2013

The 1:1 Fund Expands to New York

Read the 1:1 Fund Executive Director Carl Rist's recap from the event earlier this month in New York City announcing the expansion.

Apr 30, 2013

Why I’m Proud to Lead the 1:1 Fund – A Tale of Two Grandfathers

Carl Rist, Executive Director of the 1:1 Fund, reflects on the link between children's savings accounts and his family history

Mar 22, 2013

Education is One Way to Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap

For generations of Americans, graduating from college has been the surest route to achieving the American Dream

Feb 15, 2013

New Data on Student Debt Highlights Need for College Saving

The 2013 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard data underscores the importance of saving for college

Oct 1, 2012

Income Taxes: Check the Box for College Savings

As a federal taxpayer, you’ve no doubt noticed the $3 “check-off ” for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund

Aug 7, 2012

Investing in Children Early Increases Access to Education

A new blog posted on U.S. News Education and written by Equal Justice Works highlights the relationship

Jul 18, 2012

A Healthier Gambling Alternative to the Lottery and Sweepstakes Games

Governor Perdue’s veto of the $20.2 billion state budget proposed by the Republican-led legislature and the subsequent

Feb 24, 2012

Financial Access at Birth

What would it look like if every child in the U.S. started his or her life with an endowed account for use in saving for college

Jan 17, 2012

Assets and Child Development in Rural America

Last week’s announcement of the latest Race to the Top grantees – this time a group of nine states

Oct 10, 2011

CFEDers to Headline Pathways to Prosperity Conference

The 2011 Pathways to Prosperity Conference will take place next week, October 17-18

Oct 3, 2011

Engaging Community Colleges in Small Business Development: StartZone

Community colleges have long been an important local resource for economic development. A key part of this

Sep 7, 2011

Letter-to-the-Editor Published in Chicago Tribune

"New Lessons Behind Kids' Allowances" (News, Aug. 28) is interesting fodder for parents considering how best to

Aug 24, 2011

Refund to Savings (R2S) Initiative

If a natural disaster struck your home or vehicle, how soon would you be able to access the funds to make the necessary repairs?

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