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The Inclusive Economy

Assets & Opportunity Network Leadership Convening Shapes Network Course for 2016

By Dara Duratinsky on 12/03/2015 @ 12:00 PM

Tags: News, Assets & Opportunity Initiative

For the second time in the A&O Network’s history, Leaders from across the country came together in Washington last month for the Assets & Opportunity Network Leadership Convening. This event—which was sponsored by BB&T, Ford Foundation, Intuit, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss Foundation, MetLife and Northwest Area Foundation—brought together more than 150 Leaders representing 63 Lead Organizations and National Allies. For two days, these leaders deepened relationships with one another, increased their capacity as leaders, educated lawmakers about the issues affecting low- and moderate-income Americans and set the Network’s priorities for 2016. Among their many achievements at the Convening, these leaders walked away having shaped Network initiatives, identified strategies for improving service delivery and set the Network on a path to key policy victories in 2016.

Shaping Key Network initiatives.

On the first day of the Convening, attendees chose to participate in one of four design charrettes—sessions that went deeper than typical concurrent sessions and invited participants to craft a vision for a particular initiative or address a systemic challenge. In one design charrette, Network Leaders laid the foundation for a coherent brand for our movement, including key messaging that we will develop throughout the year and share with the field at the Assets Learning Conference in September. In another design charrette, participants built the initial plans for a National Week of Action, to take place January 25-29, 2016. During the National Week of Action, organizations across the country will work to advance their efforts relating to consumer protections, credit building, children’s savings and community tax preparation. Stay tuned for more details!

Improving Delivery of Asset-Building Services.

One key objective of the Assets & Opportunity Network is to improve service delivery by drawing on the collective experiences of Network members. One way the Convening worked toward this objective was by offering sessions designed to bring different communities of practice together. One session, “Uniting the Financial Coaching Field,” explored opportunities for financial coaching providers to come together around governance, common standards and outcome measures. Another session, “Identifying Barriers and Solutions to Financial Capability for Taxpayers,” probed the year-round needs of taxpayers as they work to navigate through a complicated financial environment. These and other conversations are critical as we work to address systemic challenges facing service providers in the asset-building field.

Setting the Network on a Path toward Key Policy Victories.

As is customary when we convene the field, the Convening offered Network Leaders the chance to participate in Capitol Hill Visits to help lawmakers see how essential financial capability and asset building are in building financial security. In all, 72 Leaders met with 63 Congressional offices to discuss critical programs, such as tax credits for working families and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Building on this advocacy opportunity, the Convening offered a session called “Fundraising for Coalition Building and Advocacy,” which gave Leaders a new framework for testing their fundraising pitches and ultimately create new opportunities to fund their advocacy work.

In the next several weeks, we will be diving deeper into the insights gleaned at the Leadership Convening. If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on the Network’s latest achievements and aren’t already a member, you can join today for free.

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