Robert Friedman, General Counsel, Founder & Chair Emeritus
Areas of Expertise: Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, Children’s Savings Accounts, Enterprise & Economic Development, Federal Assets Budgets, Federal Policy, IDAs, Local Policy, Microenterprise, Public Sector, Savings & Financial Security, State Policy
Robert (Bob) Friedman is the Founder, Chair of the Board and General Counsel for CFED. A recognized pioneer in the asset-building and economic development movement, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development from President Bill Clinton in 1999. He helped create the U.S. microenterprise, savings and asset-building fields and the international economic development and child savings fields. Currently, he is focused on economic development strategies that ensure an inclusive economy where all children and adults have a reasonable opportunity to save, go to college, start a business, buy a home and otherwise build an economic future for themselves, their families and the country as a whole. Bob is based in San Francisco (too far from his granddaughter) and serves on a number of Boards including Ecotrust, Child and Youth Finance International, the Rosenberg Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation and the Family Independence Initiative. He is a past board member of Levi Strauss & Co., a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, and author of The Safety Net as Ladder: Transfer Payments and Economic Development.
"Building the Opportunity Economy," in What It's Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation
Bob’s Closing Remarks at ALC2010
Bob’s Remarks on SEED as a Critical Investment
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Most Recent Blog Posts
Oct 28, 2016
CFED's founder Bob Friedman looks back on his closing remarks at the 2016 Assets Learning Conference.
Feb 8, 2016
The promise Oakland is making to its young people is a promise America should be making to its youth, regardless of where they live.
Sep 21, 2015
Why is wealth inequality—and asset poverty—so great, and what should and can be done about it?
Jun 4, 2015
We launched the Family Economic Opportunity Fund, a $2,000,000 campaign to raise the capital CFED needs to design, pilot and scale innovative programs and policies that significantly reduce wealth inequality in the US
Feb 17, 2015
This recently published Inside Philanthropy article explains the history behind funding the asset building field.
Nov 5, 2014
As CFED embarks on the journey of developing our next strategic plan, we’re not just looking to the next three years.
Jun 12, 2014
Over the past 25 years, the Child Savings Account movement has grown from an idea to a global phenomenon, and, in the US
May 14, 2014
Jack A. Litzenberg, who worked at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for more than 30 years, died Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at the age of 67.
May 13, 2014
Policymakers’ and pundits’ answers to that crucial question vary from year to year.
Apr 28, 2014
David Callahan critiqued the asset-building field by asserting that it was hard to think of "a policy movement that failed so miserably in its overall goal
Nov 19, 2013
The wealth gap these days is the subject of an acclaimed documentary, viral videos and countless articles and opinion pieces. But even as the concept infiltrates popular culture, have we moved any closer to understanding it?
Sep 13, 2013
All-in Nation is noteworthy for how it advances the conversation about asset-based strategies that create pathways for economic security.
Jun 3, 2013
One hundred million children in more than 100 countries with financial education and services by 2015.
Apr 1, 2013
I remember when I first met Wilma Mankiller, thirty years ago at the first convening on women’s economic development
Mar 19, 2013
The video, Wealth Inequality in America, went viral last Tuesday, scoring more than two million hits
Mar 14, 2013
The creation of the social safety net during the 20th Century – in the U.S. and Europe – represented major progress in the attempt to eradicate poverty
Oct 11, 2012
Last week, I attended CFED’s 2012 Assets Learning Conference, a biannual national
Aug 28, 2012
BOB FRIEDMAN ’71 will never forget the moment at the Harlem Children’s Zone when the five-year-old son of a poor single mother
Mar 13, 2012
As you may remember, CFED Founder Bob Friedman spoke earlier this year at the Big Ideas for Job Creation Forum
Mar 5, 2012
The top one percent create only about one percent of businesses. The lion's share of new businesses are started by the remaining 99%, including middle- and low-income Americans, trying to create jobs for themselves.
Jan 24, 2012
These days, job creation seems to be the topic of conversation nearly everywhere we go. Everyone has ideas – some good, some bad – for how best to battle the unemployment crisis facing our nation.
Dec 15, 2011
Twenty years ago, Michael Sherraden’s seminal work, Assets and the Poor: A New American Welfare Policy, appeared. It changed my life, and more importantly, the lives of tens of thousands, soon to be millions or tens of millions, of low-income people and their advocates, around the world.
Nov 10, 2011
A few days ago, the two of us attended a forum in Washington titled “Big Ideas for Job Creation.”
Oct 21, 2011
On Tuesday, November 8, CFED Founder Bob Friedman will speak at “Big Ideas for Job Creation,”
Oct 19, 2011
Among the very good provisions of the American Jobs Act (AJA) are some that recognize
Sep 6, 2011
Forbes' Rahim Kanani recently interviewed CFED founder and general counsel Bob Friedman for his column that focuses on leadership in the social sector.
Jul 25, 2011
“Tax cuts for job creators!” It is a rallying cry echoing these days from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Mar 18, 2011
The policies in our history that have resulted in the most significant, widely shared and sustained increases in economic prosperity