Small Business Week Story: Meet Entrepreneurs Oscar and Zaida
By Veronica Weis on 06/18/2013 @ 06:30 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to our friends at EBALDC for sharing this tax-time story.
As part of Small Business Week on The Inclusive Economy, we're making the case for policies that benefit self-employed Americans by telling their stories of success. The first story features Oscar and Zaida, a couple who owns a small catering business and has helped other entrepreneurs in the past with free tax services in their community.
From EBALDC Staff:
We first met Oscar in 2011 when he and his wife came in as clients to file taxes for their new catering business. Oscar was so interested in our free VITA tax service that he came back the following year as a volunteer! He's now been helping other people with their taxes for 2 years and says that he does it because he loves to keep learning. He also works full time, has children, runs the catering business on the side, and comes in to volunteer 1-2 times a week.
Oscar has been an amazing addition to our team, after being featured in a video (included below) we made regarding our tax site he has kept coming back for free tax preparation and has catered our volunteer appreciation event the past few years and has also volunteered to learn and prepare income tax returns himself. He told us that next year he will bring us his daughter, who is a high school student, to volunteer as well.
From Oscar and Zaida in 2011:
"My name is Zaida and I’m here to do my taxes. My name is Oscar and we are here to do our business and personal taxes. This is our first time here. We went to a CEO Women’s workshop and we learned about the program you guys have. Our business is catering – food, Mexican and Italian food. I know how to cook Mexican, Italian food, and I like it a lot so I combine it all. We just started it last year, so we’re still struggling. CEO Women helped me a lot to have confidence. This is our first year filing taxes, and we’re really scared. Before we had someone help us do our taxes, but when I went to class I received more knowledge and I better find out the right information. It’s way different to do personal taxes than to do business class. We heard about [EBALDC’s] workshop so we went, and learned about the great opportunity for us.
We will reinvest our refund in our business to get more customers and more money. If we went to a regular accountant, we would probably pay at least $200-300. I heard from someone else that business taxes can be really expensive, and since we’re struggling with everything, I told Oscar, ‘Call Leo’ (Leo is one of our tax preparers). It was a really good opportunity."
The First Step towards a Solution
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s post is the first of a three-part series on defining problems for behaviorally informed interventions. Come back tomorrow and Thursday for the other two posts in this series.
At each of our pilot sites, the BETA Project uses a four-stage problem-solving process: define, diagnose, design and test. In the coming months, we will highlight interesting findings from our work at each stage over this past year.
We’ll start by discussing the define stage, where we attempt to correctly define a problem that can be addressed by behavioral diagnosis and design.
In order to solve a problem, you need to know what the problem is. Individuals and organizations often fail to take adequate time to define their problem. Instead, they leap directly into creating solutions. Only when those solutions fail do they go back to the drawing board and attempt to figure out exactly what problem they are trying to solve.
There are examples of failures to properly define problems in many domains. An especially illustrative example comes from the failure of the famous Arctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s “Terra Nova” expedition.
Scurvy, Scott & Getting to the South Pole
Robert Falcon Scott wanted to be the first explorer to reach the South Pole. His first “Discovery” expedition in 1902 was thwarted by difficulties with starving sled dogs and an outbreak of scurvy among men on the team. Scurvy is a horrible disease with symptoms that include extreme tiredness, disintegrating gums, immobilization and open wounds that won’t heal. Given his experience, in preparation for Terra Nova eight years later, Scott attempted to prevent scurvy by seeking the latest advice from doctors and other Arctic explorers. He was told that scurvy was caused by bacteria in tainted canned meat, and took great care to prepare the Terra Nova team accordingly. Unfortunately, these precautions didn’t help, and Scott and his team ended up in an icy grave.
Today we know that scurvy is caused by a vitamin deficiency and can be prevented and treated by eating fresh fruits, vegetables and certain animal products that contain vitamin C. While this specific fact wasn’t known to Scott and many of his contemporaries, medical research in the 1700s concluded that "scurvy is solely owing to a total abstinence from fresh vegetable food and greens; which is alone the primary cause of the disease." By 1740, the British Royal Navy mandated that every sailor receive a daily dose of lemon or lime juice to forestall the disease. If it was known for almost 200 years that lemon or lime juice could prevent and cure scurvy, why in the world was Scott trying to guard against bacteria in tainted meat?
One major conundrum is that Scott and the scurvy experts he consulted defined the problem incorrectly. While doctors in the 1700s took a wide lens to the problem and asked “How do we prevent and treat scurvy?” with the development of germ theory in disease research by the early 1900s, Scott and his contemporaries took a more narrow lens. They assumed that scurvy had a bacteriological origin (borrowed from germ theory), and consequently defined the problem as “How do we ensure that our meat is not tainted with bacteria?” For many diseases, like cholera, germ theory was an important medical advancement because bacteria are the actual cause. But for scurvy, it was a step backward, as scurvy is caused by a vitamin deficiency and not the presence of bacteria.
When a problem is poorly defined, it is difficult to correctly interpret information. Experienced Arctic explorers such as Scott noticed that when explorers ate fresh seal meat, the symptoms of scurvy lessened. However, when they preserved the meat, scurvy re-surfaced. We now know that this is because the process of preserving and cooking meat leached away vitamin C. But since they had defined the problem incorrectly, Scott’s expedition believed this was evidence that they had failed to properly preserve the meat. Tragically, the expedition would throw out meat that was perfectly well-preserved (though lacking vitamin C) under the mistaken belief that it was tainted with bacteria.
The advance in medical knowledge was, in this case, a curse. Rather than exploring what actually causes scurvy, practitioners in the field started to take intense efforts to rid their food of bacteria, making Scott’s efforts to protect his team from scurvy entirely ineffective. The problem was defined too narrowly, and it contained the assumption that scurvy was caused by bacteria. With a broader definition of the problem, Scott’s might have returned home safely, rather than resting in a cairn somewhere in the Ross Ice Shelf.
Next BETA Project Post: Helpful Tactics to Define a Problem
How can we, as practitioners in the consumer finance field, avoid similar pitfalls of poor problem definition? In our next BETA Project blog post, we will highlight some problem definition tactics that were especially helpful to us and may be helpful to leverage findings from behavioral theory for your own program. These posts and other helpful insights from the BETA Project will be available on CFED’s Behavioral Economics blog and the BETA Project website.
Three Steps to Kick Off National Small Business Week
Today is the first day of National Small Business Week (NSBW), a series of events sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration to highlight the impact of entrepreneurs, owners of small businesses and other self-employed professionals.
For years, CFED has supported NSBW because of our commitment to the low-income entrepreneurs who start and grow businesses that fuel the U.S. economy. This year, we’re offering three ideas for ways to support the efforts of microentrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneur Stories
One of the ways we can make the case for policies that benefit self-employed Americans is by telling their stories of success. This week on The Inclusive Economy, we’ll offer three such stories, so check back daily! (Have a story you want to share? Email Veronica!)
- SETI Resource Bank
Ideal for practitioners, the SETI Resource Bank offers a range of tools to help you make the most out of the time you spend supporting your clients. The Resource Bank also includes outreach tools for VITA sites and other tax preparation services.
- Twitter Recommendations
Throughout the week, make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@cfednews), where we’ll connect you with some people and organizations to follow who provide valuable resources. For example, you can start following Sam’s Club (@samsclub) today, as they offer a ton of helpful tips for their network of millions of owners of small businesses. (Pro tip: When Tweeting, make sure to use hashtag #microbiz and #SBW2013.)
Is your organization participating in NSBW? Tell us how below!
Asset-Building News Roundup - June 14, 2013
By Veronica Weis on 06/14/2013 @ 02:00 PM
On June 18, Senator Mary Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrpreneurship & Small Business Majority will host a conference call to celebrate the 50th annual National Small Business Week. You can register here.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development released a study this week that concluded that discrimination against minorities looking for housing persists in subtle forms. The New York Times offers key takeaways but you can click here to read the full report.
A newly released report by the Center for an Urban Future at the New York University's Wagner School spotlights the 15 most innovative policies from cities around the U.S. and the world that could serve as a model. Notables are San Francisco's Kindergarten to College children's savings accounts program and Michigan's Prize-Linked Savings initiative.
The top cities in the U.S. for unbanked populations received considerable media coverage this week as outlets in Miami, Philadelphia and Memphis focused on the need to help the large number of unbanked and underbanked populations in their states gain access to reliable and safe financial products.
What's the biggest scandal in America? The Washington Post's answer might surprise you: "22 percent of children in the richest country in the history of the world live at or below the federal poverty line — and if it weren’t bad enough that more than 1 in five American children live at or below the federal poverty line nearly half live in low-income families that struggle to meet basic needs."
According to a CFPB report released on Tuesday, rules to curb overdrafts charges have produced mixed results.
From the Assets & Opportunity Network
Millennials Will Reinvent Charity
By John Bare, Guest Contributor on 06/13/2013 @ 02:30 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story originally appeared on CNNOpinion and is well worth the read for our friends in the micro and IDA fields. You can read the original post here.
My niece Sarah is one of the do-gooders with an entrepreneurial bent who's blurring nonprofit and for-profit activities.
Through micro-lending, Individual Development Accounts, creative marketing and a novel kind of stock offering, these disruptors are re-imagining charitable giving and re-purposing investment tools.
Now we need policies and financial instruments to catch up to the movement.
Sarah is one of more than 900,000 Kiva lenders who have made more than $440 million in loans to entrepreneurs in 68 countries. Kiva is a nonprofit organization that facilitates micro-loans. Amounts as small as $25 can help someone -- usually a woman -- start or expand a business. The effects can be life changing.
Starting with the $1,000 Kiva fund I gave her as a high school graduation gift, Sarah found time during college to make 30 loans totaling $1,700 to entrepreneurs in 17 countries, from Bolivia to Uganda.
As folks repay the loans, Sarah keeps making new loans and helping more people change their lives. A funding pool that replenishes itself gives Kiva an edge over typical charities. With most cash donations, when the receiving organization spends the money, it's gone for good.
There's a catch: Sarah can loan money to a grocer in Ghana, a farmer in Uganda and a weaver in India -- but she has not been able to loan money to entrepreneurs in the United States.
Because of technical and policy issues with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it's easier to help entrepreneurs in another country than in our own backyard.
The bright folks at Kiva are creating a work-around. Kiva Zip is an experiment in "person-to-person lending."
Using Kiva Zip, Tommy in West Helena, Arkansas, sought a loan to expand his barbecue and catfish restaurant. Tracy in Pittsburgh is seeking a loan to move her home hair salon into a commercial space. She expects expansion to create three or four jobs.
Kiva Zip comes along as Grameen America is bringing its micro-lending model to more U.S. cities.
Thirty years after Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus created Grameen Bank, which has extended micro-finance to 8 million people in Bangladesh, Grameen America now has branches in New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Omaha, Indianapolis and Charlotte.
Some of the business-charity hybrids are counterintuitive. While many nonprofit groups ask local businesses for donations, the reverse is uncommon. Yet Ross Baird emerged from the University of Oxford in 2009 with just that notion. He created a nonprofit organization, Village Capital, that raises rounds of capital to invest in startup companies.
One foundation invented a new kind of stock offering to turn neighborhood stakeholders into real stockholders.
Fulfilling its commitment to "resident ownership," the Jacobs Family Foundation wanted to transfer a chunk of the equity in a commercial development project to residents living nearby. It took attorneys six years and 40 drafts to invent a way, and in 2005 Jacobs issued the first-ever Community Development IPO.
Residents purchased all 50,000 units of stock, priced at $10 per share.
In Philadelphia, Dr. Mariana Chilton began working with mothers who didn't have enough food. Through Witnesses to Hunger, she put the mothers in front of elected officials to advocate for federal nutrition programs.
Chilton discovered that women from Witnesses to Hunger were also entrepreneurs. Hustling to put food on the table for their kids, literally, these mothers were earning $50 here and there doing hair and nails or babysitting.
Problem is, no one treated these mothers as entrepreneurs. Their business activities were discouraged or penalized, either because of overly enthusiastic local government regulations or upside-down rules of federal assistance programs. The reporting requirements, intended to deter fraud, were not calibrated to accommodate modest income fluctuations associated with their entrepreneurial activities.
Chilton is chipping away at change. Her team is giving mothers technical assistance to bring their micro-businesses into the mainstream. She is connecting the women to bank accounts, and Chilton's nonprofit will match deposits the mothers make into savings accounts and Individual Development Accounts.
Policy changes could help. The federal nutrition benefits should diminish gradually over time, as folks get on their feet. At a moment when we need innovative thinking, the old rules still use a bright-line test to force mothers to choose between food and work.
Further, we need more technical and policy advancements that make social investing easy. Few organizations have the time and resources to chase legal solutions for six years. The next generation of leaders must generate breakthrough solutions that can operate at scale.
A good place to start is MCON13, which is hashtag-speak for a conference devoted to engaging the 80 million U.S. millennials in giving and volunteerism. Next month hundreds of professionals will gather in Indianapolis at MCON13 to crack the code on millennials.
Expect millennials to keep blurring the lines. If Sarah can loan $50 to a farmer in Paraguay, why not a hair dresser in Philadelphia?
Six Online Tools & Resources to Help Low-Income Entrepreneurs Save Money
By Brian Spero, Guest Contributor on 06/12/2013 @ 10:30 AM
Thanks to new technology and the Internet, entrepreneurship in America is once again for everyone, providing a real opportunity for those currently categorized as low-income to change their fortune and reach financial self-sufficiency. If you are wrestling with the concept of how to overcome challenges such as limited capital and access to credit to start your own business, or if you work for an organization dedicated to helping low-income entrepreneurs succeed in the mainstream economy, consider these six online tools and resources to keep costs to a minimum.
In the modern era, a functional website is an essential part of establishing a professional business identity. While it can cost thousands of dollars to design a high-end e-commerce website, just about anyone can use WordPress to create a beautiful website or blog at a minimal cost. Registration is free, and the initial process is simple and straightforward, allowing users to choose from a array of themes and options to customize a website's look and functionality. You'll find all of the support you need to get started on the WordPress website, including information on choosing hosting and advanced strategies that enable even a novice to create an online home for an entrepreneurial venture.
- Google Voice
Communication is a basic concern for any business entity, and Google Voice provides a comprehensive free solution for transforming the capabilities of an existing personal line without taking on the additional expense of a business phone. After registering with Google Voice, a unique phone number is assigned that can be used and distributed as a professional contact. Incoming calls are then forwarded to whichever line is chosen (you can use your home number or a cell phone), allowing the user to set preferences for personalized greetings, voice mail forwarding, call screening and more. There are even options for sending SMS to email, conferencing in multiple callers and low-cost international rates.
Accounting and invoicing can be extremely expensive to outsource, as well as intimidating and time-consuming to tackle on your own, making FreshBooks cloud accounting a welcome lifeline for low-income entrepreneurs. With a free basic version to help get started (with up to three clients) and inexpensive monthly fees for a complement of professional features, FreshBoooks is designed to make it simple for businesses to save time billing, get paid faster, record expenses and keep time sheets for individual projects. From providing revealing reports that demonstrate ways to be more financially efficient, to supplying records for everything you need at income tax time, FreshBooks is a time-saving tool for keeping a personal business financially fit.
Starting a venture, whether it's a small business or charitable nonprofit, requires legal expertise to ensure that best interests are protected. Nolo is a comprehensive source that can potentially save startups thousands in legal fees, providing a library of expert-level advice and do-it-yourself instructions on everything from forming an LLC and registering a business name, to insights on businesses taxes, contracts, and litigation. Beyond a huge database of legal topics, Nolo supplies access to the gamut of necessary forms, documents and reference material, as well as a directory of law professionals available for consultation.
When hiring a human resources representative or paying expensive head-hunters is out of the question, oDesk is a powerful tool to help you locate the staff needed to grow a business. oDesk not only helps low-income entrepreneurs connect with service providers through free online job posting, but also features a qualified database of top freelancers working in everything from customer service and sales, to administrative and Web development. With features that help you contract employees on a need-basis, monitor workflow from remote locations, and make safe, direct payments, an independent business can get the high-quality support it needs on its own terms without an additional investment of resources.
FreeCycle is an online grassroots movement that operates on a community level. It connects people interested in giving away quality, no-longer-needed items to those who have a genuine use for it. It's completely nonprofit, totally free and extremely popular, with nearly 10 million members around the world.On any given day, a budget-conscious independent businessperson can find essentials ranging from office furniture, telephones and filing cabinets, to computers, computer accessories and paper products for the simple price of arranging for a pickup. If a business is nonprofit or benefits the community, there can often be found high-end items in excellent condition offered exclusively for ventures with a charitable focus.
As economic turbulence continues to cause high unemployment and underemployment, a growing number of individuals are turning to self-employment as a means for creating opportunity and filling income gaps. By utilizing free and cost-effective online tools and resources, low-income entrepreneurs can leap inherent hurdles and chase down the dream of financial independence and security.
Can you suggest any other online resources for entrepreneurs on a tight budget? Use the comments section below to share your tips!
Brian Spero writes about business, economic policy and technology on the popular personal finance site, Money Crashers.
Meet Jamira: A Low-Income Student Turned National Children’s Savings Advocate
By Veronica Weis on 06/11/2013 @ 04:00 PM
Jamira Burley is the Executive Director for the City of Philadelphia Youth Commission and an outspoken advocate of the power of college savings for low-income youth. She recently spoke at a CFED & Opportunity Nation Forum on College Savings in Washington, DC.
Q: Did you grow up thinking that college was a possibility?
As the first of 16 children to graduate from high school and attend college, for a long time, I didn’t think it was even an option. Neither of my parents had graduated from high school, let alone college, and it always just seemed so far out of reach.
Q: How were you able to afford the costs of a college education?
The summer before my senior year of college I decided that I was going to college. So, I applied to every scholarship that I could find and I also was lucky enough to have a full-time job which helped me pay for college and college-related expenses.
Q: What would be the best way to help kids and their parents think about and plan for college?
I think the earlier parents and children start to think about college and preparing is best because it would give them an opportunity to learn and research all of the available options.
From speaking with many of my peers whose families had put aside money for their education, I learned that it didn’t start with a lot of money and parents just saved what they could. So, I think parents and students have to learn and understand their financial options in paying for school but also start saving early, even if it’s a dollar here and there.
Q: What advice would you give to students who might become discouraged and think college might be financially out of reach?
As a person who has worked in education both secondary and post-secondary, I would say that there are way too many options out there, if you look for them. There are a number of scholarships that go unclaimed every year because students don’t apply. I know a lot of people think that it’s all about your GPA but that’s not true. There are a number, hundreds of scholarships, that select awardees on other things besides GPA.
Q: What do you hope to do with your education in the future?
I hope to use my education to enhance the work that I do with youth. My goal is to one day attend law school and help to create policies that will make education more accessible for everyone.
Asset-Building News Roundup - June 7, 2013
By Veronica Weis on 06/07/2013 @ 11:00 AM
Join the National Disability Institute on Wednesday, June 12 for an Integrated Service Delivery webinar to learn how to integrate financial services and asset development strategies to assist individuals and families build financial security. This webinar will define the integrated service delivery concept, the spectrum of options to integrate services and provide best practices from two organizations that have effectively integrated financial services and asset development strategies in to their programs. CFED's Kate Griffin, Senior Program Manager for Savings & Financial Security is speaking on the panel.
Next Step staff will offer a day of training at the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Philadelphia August 19-23. The course, CP135 Successful Construction Using Factory-Built Homes, will be one day and will take place on Wednesday, August 21.
This week, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) hosted an event to release “Latino Financial Access and Inclusion," a new report that takes a look at the relationship between comprehensive immigration reform and household financial stability for Latinos in the US. Hannah Emple of the New America Foundation offers a recap here.
A new report by the Center for American Progress, "Making the Mortgage Market Work for America’s Families," explores how to design a housing-finance system that effectively meets America’s housing needs and ensures access and affordability for all Americans while providing access to credit, enabling families to build wealth, build strong neighborhoods and support both the local and national economy.
From the Assets & Opportunity Network
The first ever King County Veterans Resource Fair & Stand-Down will take place on June 8 at the Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington. This event offers Veterans and their families access to a wide variety of free resources, including employment, housing, medical and dental, legal, and social services. Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative is sponsoring a "financial resources and services" area with partner banks, financial planners, and credit and housing counselors offering services. Click here for more information.
Southern Bancorp Community Partners has compiled a summary of family economic security efforts in 2013 Arkansas legislature. Check out the full report here.
This year, Illinois has taken some giant steps forward in combating poverty and creating greater opportunities for low-income individuals and families in Illinois. The spring legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly has come to a close and the Illinois Asset Building Group has compiled a complete spring legislative roundup.
Four Insights from Rand's BeFi Forum
By Pamela Chan on 06/06/2013 @ 02:15 PM
Last Friday, I participated in the RAND Behavioral Finance forum (BeFi), an annual day-long conference that focuses on research that combines behavioral science and cognitive psychology with economics and finance. This year’s conference explored how behavioral finance can be incorporated into public policy and efforts to improve Americans’ financial decision-making and well-being. Two panels, “Building Knowledge to Build Financial Stability” and “Behavioral Approaches to Building Savings and Reducing Debt,” were especially relevant to practitioners in the asset building field.
Both panels provided insights on how to support consumers’ financial decisions and outcomes. Here are key takeaways from the presentations.
- Videos and visual tools are more effective in building financial knowledge and confidence than static tools like written narratives and brochures. (Presentation, Samak) Videos illustrate a financial concept through a story presented by actors. Visual tools allow the user to play with different financial decisions and immediately see projected outcomes. Videos have greater potential for immediate use in practice because they can be delivered at a relatively low cost and through a variety of accessible channels such as classrooms and smartphone.
- Changing the way we frame exercises where people are asked to estimate the benefit of financial decisions can change their perceptions of the benefit. (Presentation, Carman) For example, people perceive that their savings will generate a higher rate of return when asked how much they need to save each month now to spend a certain amount each month at retirement than when asked how much they will get to spend each month during retirement if they saved a certain amount each month now. In practice, this means that people who are asked to estimate how much they need to save now could save less because they overestimate the return. People who are asked how much they will get to spend in the future if they save a prescribed amount now could save more because they underestimate the return.
- Providing financial education or access to cheap savings accounts can have positive financial effects (e.g. increase income and savings). (Presentation, Jamison) Whether or not offering both simultaneously creates an even greater financial effect is still inconclusive, but at minimum, there doesn’t seem to be any negative effects of offering both simultaneously (at least among the Ugandan youth in this study).
- Prize-linked savings, soft commitments, and hard commitments all demonstrate the potential to increase savings in lab experiments and should be considered for use in savings products. (Presentation, Kearney; Presentation, Luoto) The decision to incorporate these features should be made in light of the specific the saving product’s objective and target consumer. For example, prize-linked savings, where saving is nominally rewarded with entries into a drawing with prizes, seems to be effective in in motivating males, but not females. Soft commitments, where a person is asked to write down “I’m a good saver. I will save for [insert person’s goal],” are effective at increasing savings in the short term, but its impact erodes over time. Hard commitments, where a person cannot withdraw money until a specific condition is met, are sometimes better in helping people to save more in the long term.
Beyond these two panels, there was also a wealth of insightful topics on how to enhance retirement security, how to better protect investors, and how the federal government and private financial companies are using behavioral finance to build financial capability and stability. Videos of the presentations will be posted on RAND’s BeFi website.
Coming Soon: Integrated Service Delivery Webinar
By Sean Luechtefeld on 06/05/2013 @ 05:30 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: CFED's very own Kate Griffin will be speaking on this webinar, hosted by our friends at the National Disability Institute. We hope you can join!
Integrated Service Delivery Webinar
Wednesday, June 12 | 3 - 4:15 pm EDT
Join National Disability Institute as we explore "Integrated Service Delivery" and learn how to integrate financial services and asset development strategies to assist individuals and families build financial security. This webinar will define the integrated service delivery concept, the spectrum of options to integrate services and provide best practices from two organizations that have effectively integrated financial services and asset development strategies in to their programs.
- Paula Kelley, Client and Business Management Executive, U. S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Chair, Disability Advocacy Network, NDI Board Member
- Kate Griffin, Senior Program Manager, Savings & Financial Security, CFED
- Carolyn Seward, President/CEO, FWCA/MET Center – St. Louis, Missouri
- Christa Brown, Program Specialist, United Way of the Bay Area – San Francisco, California
Click here to register for the webinar!
Event: NeighborWorks Training Institute in Philadelphia
By Susan Bond on 06/04/2013 @ 05:30 PM
Next Step staff will offer a day of training at the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Philadelphia August 19-23. Our course CP135 Successful Construction Using Factory-Built Homes will be one day and will take place on Wednesday, August 21. By taking this course you will spend the day with a team from Next Step, the first and only national strategy and scalable approach to bring factory-built homes to nonprofits nationwide. Next Step will show you tools designed specifically to assist nonprofits with the factory-built housing construction process including ENERGY Star certification of factory built homes. You will benefit from the expertise of our factory-built housing industry technical advisor, George Porter, who has over 30 years of experience in the manufactured housing industry as well as a great sense of humor in sharing his knowledge. George will cover steps from home ordering to planning to turn key completion of manufactured and modular homes. You will leave equipped to translate your site-built construction expertise into supervising successful construction using factory-built homes. This class is open to all, and is highly recommended for those considering applying to the Next Step Network and current Next Step Network Members. If you have any questions, please feel to contact Amy Barnard, our Marketing and Operations Specialist.
Inspire Us for a Chance at $3,000
By Jimmy Crowell on 06/03/2013 @ 03:30 PM
CFED & Bank of the West Announce the Saver to Homeowner Story Fund in Support of National Homeownership Month
Submit a success story that inspires savers to achieve their homeownership goals!
National Homeownership Month is here and CFED and Bank of the West have partnered to bring IDA practitioners an opportunity to support their homeownership savers. Each June, Americans have the chance to celebrate homeownership and reflect on the improvements homeownership has brought to their individual lives and communities. CFED, with support from Bank of the West, is reaching out to IDA programs to gather stories and photos of recent homebuyers in California and Tucson, Arizona that advance homeownership. For each story that is accepted, CFED and Bank of the West will provide the submitting IDA program with $2,000 in matching funds and $1,000 in administrative support for financial education (for a total of $3,000). IDA programs interested in applying must submit a homeowner’s story, a photo and a signed waiver for each eligible saver by July 15, 2013, and must comply with the terms on the Saver to Homeowner Story Fund website.
Here is the inspiring story of one family’s participation in an IDA program and their subsequent journey to financial stability through homeownership:
The Saeeds – Oakland, CA
Immigrants from a war-torn region of Yemen, the Saeed family of Oakland, California, closed on a four-bedroom, single-family home in October 2012.
Since their arrival in Oakland, Ali Saeed, a taxi driver, and his family of eight have been driven to explore all opportunities that could help them achieve the stability they wanted for themselves. They made many sacrifices and worked diligently to build savings. The family has overcome many obstacles along their journey to homeownership – all the while caring for one child with special needs and another who recently underwent surgery. Now the Saeed family is gearing up to welcome a new baby to their household.
Eventually, their path led them to the City of Oakland’s Families Building Wealth IDA Program. When Terry Rabb, IDA program coordinator for the City of Oakland, remembers her interactions with the Saeed family, what stands out to her was the strength of their perseverance and determination to achieve financial stability through homeownership. “The vision of the Families Building Wealth IDA Program is to assure all citizens of Oakland equal and fair access to resources, which will produce a financially literate and economically sound community,” she explains. “The Saeed family is the living embodiment of this vision. They never missed a monthly deposit!”
Month by month, Mr. Saeed and his wife, Noor, gradually built their savings, eventually reaching their savings goal of $4,000. The Families Building Wealth program then matched their savings with an additional $12,000. The Saeeds also received a first-time homebuyer loan via the City, which provided them with a $60,000 silent second mortgage that helped make their home even more affordable. Now happily residing in his new home with his family, Mr. Saeed expresses “deep gratitude” for the programs that the City of Oakland and community partner Oakland Housing Authority offers.
Four Lessons Gleaned from the Children & Youth Finance International Summit
By Bob Friedman on 06/03/2013 @ 01:00 PM
One hundred million children in more than 100 countries with financial education and services by 2015.
When Jeroo Billamoria first suggested that goal for Child and Youth Finance International, the global facilitator toward this grand goal, I thought, frankly, it was crazy. Even if you could achieve anywhere close to those numbers, the actual access, education and services received by many might be minimal.
But then, I like round numbers, aspiration and inspiration, especially around a worthy goal. And worthy, this goal is. One-third don’t even have a legal identity in this world, let alone the integrity, respect, freedom and opportunity all people—including all children—deserve. Children and youth, worldwide, are even more likely to be poor than their elders, and they, arguably even more than their parents, will need financial understanding, savings and education to traverse the daunting economic gauntlet of the 21st Century global economy. Even if we accomplished a fraction of Jeroo’s goals, the journey would be worthwhile.
I agreed to join the Board of CYFI (pronounced Sci-Fi, to further endear it to children of all ages). After all, who can say “no” to Jeroo?
No one, it turns out: 400 adult delegates from 102 countries and 100 children and youth from more than 40 countries participated in the second Child and Youth Finance International Summit, May 7-9 in Istanbul, Turkey. The delegates represented powerful international, national, governmental, financial, educational authorities, internationally recognized NGOs as well as leading researchers, practitioners, and children and youth. It was about as diverse a group as one could imagine along all dimensions. But, it was clearly unified by one shared goal and value: to include the world’s next generation(s) with economic citizenship, financial education, financial access and financial services. Clearly, there is a global movement for child and youth financial inclusion. To be sure, the call for 100 million of the world’s children to be reached with financial education and services is fairly undefined and allows the possibility that not all counted will have received meaningful access, inclusion and empowerment. But, just as importantly, CYFI’s goal is articulated in a call for both financial education and financial services, including at least an account. CYFI commissioned a global consortium of leading researchers in the field to consolidate international learning, and concludes that a combination of education and services is necessary and effective, whereas financial education alone seems to have little effect.
Many takeaways from CYFI’s International Summit are worth mentioning here.
Global Learning is Crucial and Timely: While we in the US have much to teach (SF K2C, SEED, etc. draw interest can allow us to glean crucial insight), we have much to learn from developments and innovations on all other continents, including from developing and poor countries where the numbers of savings programs, institutions, and child and youth participants are much more numerous and where the use of technology and especially the mobile phone is far ahead. Among the countries where model initiatives are blossoming from which we can learn: Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria in Africa; Philippines, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka in Asia; Brazil, Colombia and Mexico in South America; and Egypt and Turkey in the Middle East and North Africa. For example, the Government Savings Bank of Thailand, established 100 years ago to promote savings, has established 738 school banks with 1,392,000 accounts, 122 mobile service centers, and 54,682 village and community funds.
Scholarship/Resources: CYFI’s Research Committee (led by many of our friends including Margaret Sherraden, Deb Adams, Lew Mandell, Willie Elliott, Fred Ssewamala, Trina Shanks and Mat Despard) produced and released at the Summit two documents well worth anyone working on CSAs reviewing, including Children & Youth as Economic Citizens: Review of Research on Financial Capability, Financial Inclusion, and Financial Education, and its companion report, which reviews and summarizes leading programs across the globe. In addition, CYFI has issued Child and Youth Friendly Banking Product Certificate Guidebook, the National Implementation Guide: Child and Youth Finance Initiatives at the National Level Guidebook and Beyond the Promotional Piggybank: Towards Children as Stakeholders. Among the significant departures included in these documents, I note several. First, the inclusion of social education and a rights perspective in economic citizenship that is the stated goal of CYFI—“that all children and youth realize their full potential as economic citizens.” Second, though financial education is undoubtedly the most practiced element of financial capability, inclusion and empowerment, there is little evidence that financial education alone is effective, and there is too much variation in what is meant by it. Third, a conversely, there is significant evidence that financial education and inclusion together have significant savings, economic, social and financial effects. Fourth, there is a hunger for and need to establish a unifying theory, set of measures, definition of different kinds and doses of financial education, and (among researchers at least) impact evaluation which separates financial education, financial inclusion and the combination. Finally, Lew Mandell and Trina Shanks agreed to produce a paper accumulating what evidence exists justifying the combined effect of education and services together.
The Business Case is Weak (and maybe not the right case to make): I went to a session on Building the Business Case for CYF where there was no case really presented, certainly no cost benefit or ROI from a financial institution perspective. Lew Mandell, chair of the session, turned to me as someone else pointed this out, to invite me to talk about K2C and how the use of batched accounts might lower costs. I do think there are reasons and ways to reduce the cost of financial inclusion to financial institutions (e.g., by universal enrollment, use of mobile and other technology, offloading financial education to the education system, finding more effective and simpler products and distribution systems) and to increase their returns (e.g., longer-term tracking, government deposits, etc.). But, as the session progressed, I began to think that the better frame is societal ROI, since the returns are longer-term and not capturable by a financial institutions or business entities. The potential returns are huge—in skilled workers, entrepreneurs, savings, investment, productive work and more—but the real case for universal financial inclusion is like the case for universal public education—a rightful pursuit by government and society.
The Importance of Child and Youth Voice and Inclusion: During the final session of the Summit, people talked through an address by the head of the UNCTAD. But when José—an eight-year-old from Peru, shorter than the podium—talked, without notes, pausing professionally for the translator to provide an English version, there was not a sound other than his calm strong voice in the room. I cannot do justice to his exact words, but here’s some of what he said:
- “I don’t want to see any children working the streets."
- “I don’t want to see any children going hungry for want of food."
- “All kids should be able to afford books and clothes so that other kids won’t make fun of them."
- “You should only use savings in the case of emergencies."
- “We should recycle."
- “We should learn how to make chocolate and sew."
- “We kids can and should teach each other.”
The 100 kids who attended had their own sessions and made six recommendations to the adult delegates, including:
- Financial education should be available to all kids and compulsory.
- Adults should give their old cell phones to the kids of the world.
- All kids should have access to bank accounts without expensive fees or minimum deposits.
- All kids should have access to entrepreneurial training and jobs.
- Adults should speak to and treat kids as equals and with respect.
Perhaps most important, they noted, all the above should be done ASAP.
The involvement of the kids was important, and their voices were the most powerful we heard.
For CYFI's Summit Summary and Findings, click here.
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Asset-Building News Roundup - May 31, 2013
By Veronica Weis on 05/31/2013 @ 11:30 AM
June 5-7 is the 8th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum. Presented by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and SourceMedia, the publisher of American Banker, the Forum provides an opportunity for organizations to share their successes and challenges in the underbanked marketplace.
The San Francisco Smart Money Network is hosting an upcoming professional development workshop “Student Financial Concerns and Solutions: Dealing with College Debt" on Thursday, June 6 in San Francisco. The training is intended to enhance the capacity of financial education practitioners to coach their clients toward successful resolution of student debt issues. Click here to register.
The Illinois Senate passed legislation that would save nearly $1 million annually and removes a significant barrier that prevents Illinois’ poorest families from saving money. HB2262, which passed out of the House with bipartisan support last month, will eliminate the “asset test” in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Sponsored by Representative Gabel and Senator Hunter, this legislation encourages savings and will allow families to gain financial independence. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk.
Heidi Moore, reporting for The Guardian, argues that the $1 trillion 2013 farm bill currently being reviewed by Congress would harm the poor while promoting unhealthy food.
Income inequality has been in the news this week after the release of the National Bureau of Economic Research's paper "The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective." As both the Huffington Post and The Atlantic note, tax cuts might be driving income inequality across the country.
From the Assets & Opportunity Network
The Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi tipped us off to a new report by the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program and the Small Business Majority offers a small business perspective on medicaid expansion.The report is just part of a growing body of evidence that shows that Medicaid expansion is a vital economic and public health opportunity that should not be left on the table.
Jose Quinonez, Executive Director of the Mission Asset Fund, shared a blog post reflecting on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) recent public meeting in Los Angeles and shared an important call to action for advocates.
CFPB Hears a One-Sided Story, Advocates Need to Speak Up
By Jose Quinonez on 05/30/2013 @ 09:00 AM
Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) held a public meeting in Los Angeles. The meeting was both to unveil CFPB en Español, a new website in Spanish dedicated to helping new Americans better navigate the financial marketplace, and to hear from the community about a wide range of issues that impact immigrants’ ability to engage in the marketplace. The first part of the community conversation was a structured discussion with community representatives to learn about the barriers and struggles immigrants face in the financial marketplace. The second part of the community conversation was open to the public. After the community discussion concluded, audience members were invited to make comments.
Wearing my hat as the chair of the CAB, I can say that I was genuinely hoping to hear about the experience of real people who find themselves in the need of short-term credit. I was admittedly disappointed that those who spoke out were overwhelmingly industry employees or individuals who had been prepped with the industry’s party-line.
Wearing my hat as the Executive Director of the Mission Asset Fund, which is a community organization that serves financially-excluded, mostly immigrant communities and is a Lead Local Organization in the Assets & Opportunity Network, I was glad to hear from Andrew Chang from CABO, which is the Assets & Opportunity Network Lead Local Organization in Los Angeles. He argued that high-cost, small-dollar loans are a serious concern for families who get trapped in a cycle of debt and who spend hundreds of dollars to repay loans that they could be using for day-to-day needs or to save for the future. He urged the CFPB to use its authority to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive and abusive practices and recommended five specific policies the CFPB should adopt.
As chair of the CAB, which is the community voice into CFPB, I am committed to listening to the voices and experiences of all stakeholders in the consumer financial marketplace and using that experience to shape policy options. As a leader in the Assets & Opportunity Network, I am committed to fighting for access to credit on fair terms and I encourage you to do the same.
Here are two things you can do:
- Share what works. We recognize that a critical part of reforming the predatory short-term consumer loan industry is ensuring that there are affordable alternatives for borrowers. What strategies have you seen work? How could those strategies be delivered at scale?
- Raise your voice not once, but every time there is an opportunity for public comment. You have the ear of the federal government. It’s time to say something!
Remember that the industry is well-funded and ready to show up at each and every event with their buttons and stickers, pushing forward individuals who have been talked into believing that payday lenders are the answer. If advocates for the financially-excluded want to be heard, we must show our collective strength.
Today is 529 College Savings Day!
By Veronica Weis on 05/29/2013 @ 11:00 AM
Today, May 29, is National 529 College Savings Day, a day to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college with 529 plans. This year, more than 30 states across the country are celebrating 529 day by hosting education sessions, waiving enrollment fees, offering 529 plan scholarships and more. To see an interactive map by The College Savings Plans Network with events nationwide, click here.
To highlight the importance of college savings, we have been sharing student saver stories on the 1:1 Fund's blog this week here. The three-part series features profiles of the participants who spoke with Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education, in a Conversation with Savers at the 2012 Assets Learning Conference in Washington, D.C.
Ways to Participate:
Asset-Building News Roundup - May 24, 2013
By Veronica Weis on 05/24/2013 @ 11:00 AM
Next Step is offering a day of training at the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Philadelphia on Wednesday, August 21. The course, Successful Construction Using Factory-Built Homes, will cover tools designed specifically to assist nonprofits with the factory-built housing construction process. They’ll cover steps from home ordering to planning to turn key completion of manufactured and modular homes. Participants will leave equipped to translate site-built construction expertise into supervising successful construction using factory-built homes. Click here to register before the June 24 deadline.
Next Wednesday is 529 Saving for College Day. As part of the campaign, nationally recognized "529 Guru" Joe Hurley will be presenting a live webinar open to anyone wishing to learn more about 529 plans.
Good news from the Illinois Asset Building Group: The Illinois Senate passed legislation that saves our state nearly $1 million annually, while removing a significant barrier that prevents Illinois’ poorest families from saving money. HB2262, which passed out of the House with bipartisan support last month, will eliminate the “asset test” in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, commonly known as “welfare.” Read more here.
According to "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America," a new book released this week by researchers Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution, suburban poverty has increased by 64 percent in the last decade. For coverage of this troubling trend, the Washington Post offers an interesting read.
From the Assets & Opportunity Network
In a blog post earlier this week, Ed Sivak, Director of the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi, explains why pitting education against expanding Medicaid omits a number of important facts in a way that is misleading to readers and presents a false choice between two of our state’s most critical priorities.
In this issue brief, the Ohio CASH Coalition makes the case for why expanding Medicaid would be good for Ohio and good for Ohioans.
How Can Democratized Wealth Build Assets?
This afternoon, we had the pleasure of attending “Democratizing Wealth and a Sustainable Future,” a New America Foundation event featuring University of Maryland Professor and Democracy Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz.
Video streaming by Ustream, Courtesy of New America Foundation
Building on some of the arguments put forth in his new book, What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution, Alperovitz discussed democratized wealth as a linchpin component of a new economic politic. Under this new system, a more inclusive American economy would require:
- Systemic changes (i.e., changes to the structures in place that enable increasing and unsustainable levels of wealth concentration),
- Political changes (i.e., changes to how we understand the importance of democratized wealth)
Alperovitz provided a myriad of examples of wealth democratization, ranging from worker-owned businesses and credit unions where stakeholders actually get a vote, to models such as the Cleveland Clinic Model which focus on sustainable community development. As we listened to these examples, we couldn’t help but be reminded of how these models mirror, in a number of ways, the integrated service delivery models that are being pioneered by leaders in the assets field.
Take, for example, Haven for Hope in San Antonio. This 37-acre residential campus provides communal living facilities, employment assistance, financial education and training, and other asset-building services, all in a convenient one-stop center. The rationale behind Haven for Hope is that by embedding these services together, they can be delivered and taken up more effectively than when offered individually.
This logic seems similar to the rationale for the development around the Cleveland Clinic. As Alperovitz discussed, the idea in that community was to locate cooperatively owned businesses near “anchors” such as hospitals and universities that weren’t likely to leave the community, thereby creating long-term economic growth with the added benefit of giving residents easy access to health care and education services. Again, the logic supposes that bringing services together makes them more effective than when offered separately.
Our question, then (and perhaps unsurprisingly), is how we might bring democratized ownership models together with asset-building strategies to supercharge the effectiveness of both. In other words, how could the idea of cooperative ownership be integrated into a one-stop shop like Haven for Hope as a method for empowering low-income individuals to create their own pathways to economic mobility? Certainly, this is a complex question, but we’d love to hear your ideas.
As always, many thanks to the folks at New America Foundation for yet another thought-provoking event!
CFED Notes: A Foot in the Door to the American Dream
By Jeremie Greer and Emanuel Nieves on 05/21/2013 @ 02:30 PM
A Foot in the Door to the American Dream: A Forum on College Savings Accounts
Nearly every parent aspires to see their child walk across the stage in a commencement ceremony to receive their college degree. Undeniably, access to a quality college education has proven to be essential in climbing the economic ladder out of poverty and into the middle class. Unfortunately, soaring tuition and the burden of out-of-control student debt have threatened to make this important pathway to economic security out of reach for far too many young people.
On Thursday, May 9th, CFED and Opportunity Nation joined forces with Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to host a lunchtime policy forum to bring attention to an extremely powerful tool for enhancing access to a college education for millions of low income young people: Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs).
At the event, Senator Coons announced the reintroduction of the American Dream Accounts Act, which uses existing Department of Education funds to create expand college access opportunities to low-income students by monitoring higher education readiness through a personal online savings account.
To watch videos of the event, visit our Youtube page here.
Introducing CFED’s Newest Fact File: Microbusinesses – America’s Invisible Job Creators
As Congress continues to work on how best to create jobs in America, high-growth small businesses receive much attention. But a vast majority of small business owners (26 million, more than 95% of all small businesses) are running firms with five or fewer employees (often called “microbusinesses”), and their firms have not been the targets of many small business policies. This invisible majority of entrepreneurs are cafe owners, construction contractors, bookkeepers, child-care providers and other Main Street businesses.
- 22 million small-business owners are self-employed and generate almost $1 trillion in economic activity per year.
- An additional 4 million microbusinesses employ 1-4 people.
- While their overall economic impact is large, a majority – nearly 74% – of microbusiness owners do business in their local communities.
Unfortunately, 13 million microbusiness owners are financially vulnerable. Federal small business policies aren’t working for the smallest businesses, where and when it comes to research and policy that focus on small business, most emphasize the minority (fewer than five percent) who employ more than 20 workers. As a result, the majority of government programs and resources meant to assist small businesses are unavailable to these microbusiness owners.
For more information on the facts on Microbusinesses, click here.
Rethinking Pell Grants: Enhancing Access to a College Education for Low-Income Students
For more than 30 years, Pell Grants have made the dream of a college education a reality for millions of low-income young people. However, rapid growth in the uptake of Pell Grants has caused some to question the fiscal sustainability of this powerfully important program.
The College Board recently released a report that recommends linking two extremely powerful tools to enhance access to a college education to millions of low income young people: Pell Grants and Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs). In this report, The College Board recommendations center around the creation of “education accounts” aimed at narrowing the financial and information gaps between low-income youth and young people that grow up under more privileged circumstances. The College Board’s recommendations of linking these two important tools would begin to put college back within reach for millions of low-income young students.
To read the full report, click here.
The Racial Wealth Gap in America
Recently, our colleagues at the Urban Institute released a powerful three-minute video explaining just how pervasive the growing racial wealth gap is, which uses CFED's findings in our Upside Down report to illustrate how, despite spending $400 billion on asset-building incentives, the federal government still fails to reach the populations who need support in building wealth and financial security.
We invite you to view the three-minute video here.
Blogtakes: CFED Viewpoints
- Read Jeremie Greer’s, CFED’s Director of Government Affairs, blog post about putting college back within reach for millions of low income young people.
- Take a look at The Center for an Urban Future’s blog post about the Importance of Entrepreneurship Programs.
- Read Ethan Geiling's, CFED's Program Manager for Policy & Research, blog post about Hawaii Becoming the Seventh State to Eliminate TANF Asset Test.
- Check out Ethan’s blog post about the CFPB’s recently released white paper, which examined payday and deposit advance loans.
Asset-Building News Roundup - May 17, 2013
By Veronica Weis on 05/17/2013 @ 12:00 PM
June 5-7, 2013 participate in the 8th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum, the country’s only conference that brings together bank and credit union executives, technology entrepreneurs, retailers, investors, regulators, nonprofit providers, and consumer advocates to discuss market opportunities for advancing innovative efforts and reaching the financially underserved. Presented by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and SourceMedia, the publisher of American Banker, the Forum provides an opportunity for organizations to share their successes and challenges in the underbanked marketplace. Register here to attend the Forum and use code PTNR13 to receive $200 off of the current rate.
NCLR is hosting an event on Tuesday, June 4th from 10am-11:30am at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The event will feature the release of a new NCLR report focused on Latino access to financial services, and will highlight immigrant inclusion in the financial market, and the ways in which citizenship provides new opportunities for individuals to build their financial capacity. The event will also feature remarks by Elizabeth Garza, Managing Director of Citi Global Consumer Banking, Governance, Regulatory and External Affairs, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, and Janis Bowdler, Director of Wealth-Building Policy Project at NCLR. You can RSVP here.
After a decade of advocacy, the Colorado legislature passed SB 13-001, which makes the EITC permanent set at 10% of the federal credit and also includes a Child Tax Credit. The bill, however, includes triggers that mean the credits will only be paid out of revenue above the current General Fund expenditures.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 25 states have bills pending on predatory small-dollar lending. In good news, the Texas House Investments & Financial Services Committee held a public hearing on SB 1247, which has already passed the Senate and would regulate payday and auto-title lending. Washington legislators defeated HB 2040, which would have replaced the payday loan system with an equally predatory high-interest installment loan system.
Senators Coons (D-DE) and Rubio (R-FL) introduced the American Dream Accounts Act, which would open college savings accounts for low-income students and monitor college readiness online. For more info, check out our President Andrea Levere's op-ed in Politico with Opportunity Nation's Mark Edwards here.
From the Assets & Opportunity Network
The Ohio CASH Coalition shared a blog post earlier this week with highlights from their recent brief, "Mothers and Medicaid: Expanded health coverage would help Ohio families."
The Assets & Opportunity Network developed five recommendations to curb predatory short-term, small-dollar lending for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Washington Asset Building Coalition, an A&O Network Lead Organization, is accepting proposals for workshop presentations at their statewide conference in Yakima from September 18-19, 2013. The deadline for proposals is May 24.
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