Wednesday: IWPR Roundtable on Women & the Economy
By Sean Luechtefeld on 09/26/2011 @ 03:15 PM
Join CFED’s Federal Policy Director Carol Wayman as she participates in the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s (IWPR) Roundtable on Women and the Economy. Taking place this Wednesday, Carol will be exploring topics relating to economic insecurity following the ‘Great Recession.’
For more information about the details of this event, click here. We hope you will be able to join the call!
Documentary Screening: To Catch a Dollar
By Sean Luechtefeld on 09/26/2011 @ 01:30 PM
CFED is excited to announce the screening of To Catch a Dollar, a documentary film featuring our friends at Grameen and highlighting the microenterprise field, this week in New York and Los Angeles!
To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America follows Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Yunus as he brings his unique and revolutionary microfinance program, Grameen, from Bangladesh to the US. Grameen America is a nonprofit organization that provides education, resources, support and affordable non-collateral microloans to help low-income entrepreneurs achieve the American dream.
Initial screenings are taking place every evening this week in New York and Los Angeles, and we hope our friends in those areas get the opportunity to check out the film. Then, the film will open on select campuses across the country in conjunction with the fall economic empowerment campaign. For more information about the film and screening opportunities near you, please visit http://www.tocatchadollar.com/.
Featured Event: NALCAB National Conference
By Sean Luechtefeld on 09/22/2011 @ 11:30 AM
The National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) and its Board of Directors are pleased to announce its 2011 National Conference Building a Better Economy for All Americas: Desarrollando Destinos Economicos.
This conference is designed to address the needs and interests of Latino leaders and aspiring leaders, in the community development and asset building fields. The national conference will attract over 200 individuals; primarily executives from NALCAB member organizations, federal officials, representatives of private philantropies, as well as partners from other national organizations. Keynote speakers will include cabinet-level officials, members of congress, representatives from the census bureau, representatives from the Pew Hispanic Center.
For more information or to register, visit the NALCAB site today!
CFED Brings Inclusive Economy to Wall Street
This morning, CFED took its message of economic inclusion all the way to Wall Street as President Andrea Levere rang the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange!
Andrea was joined on the platform by some important friends of CFED, including representatives of Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, a SETI Innovation Site. Also joining her were CFED Board Member Dan Letendre, CFED Chief Business Development Office Lesia Bates Moss, CFED Founder and Chair Bob Friedman, and CFED Assistant Director of Communications Kristin Lawton.
The NYSE honor took place as CFED traveled to New York to gather with key partners to identify strategies for building the inclusive economy. Leaders from the city and diverse members of the banking and nonprofit sectors gathered for the meeting, including Michelle Green, Executive Director of the NYSE Euronext Foundation; Jonathan Mintz, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs; as well as representatives from the Citi Foundation, Bank of America and others.
In case you didn’t get the chance to watch the ringing of the Opening Bell this morning, you can check out the photo slideshow by clicking the image above. You can also watch Andrea’s YouTube interview here.
What better way to start a Wednesday than bringing our message of economic inclusion to Wall Street!
Related Blog Post
CFED to Ring Opening Bell at New York Stock Exchange Wednesday
By Kristin Lawton on 09/20/2011 @ 12:36 PM
We are excited to announce that CFED President Andrea Levere, along with CFED staff and special guests, will ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange TOMORROW, Wednesday, September 21! Celebrate with us as we usher in a new era of financial inclusion on Wall Street.
The NYSE Opening Bell
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
9:30 a.m. EDT
Watch it Live: Tune into CNBC, CNN or Fox Business News to see CFED ring the Opening Bell live at 9:30 a.m. EDT sharp.
As always, we will share all of the details with you on the blog tomorrow with video and photos.
Achieving Success in Economic Development
By Bill Schweke on 09/19/2011 @ 11:00 AM
While cleaning up my office, I ran across a lecture, authored by Professor Edward (Ned) Hill, that I embarrassingly never read. Despite being dated January 2002, it was as current as any short work published today. Entitled “The Fundamentals of Regional Economic Development,” I believe that Hill hit a home run with this piece.
This article comes from a question posed by a foundation executive, regarding Hill’s proposal for a perfect headline for a major article on economic development. He answered by saying “it’s complicated.”
The rest of this short essay will try to summarize elements of the lecture, while elaborating on others. (This is not small task, because Hills’ treatment of the issues is both deep and lucid.)
- “There is no set formula” for success, “no silver bullets when it comes to economic development.” To say that development policy’s thinking, design and implementation will be challenging and must be nuanced is no cop-out, no scholarly convolution, no reluctance to take on the vested interests and conventional wisdom.
- Hill correctly distinguishes “development” from “growth.” Development signifies economic progress – discovering and applying better ways of meeting our wants, while growth indicates just more output, more income, more jobs or more people. (“The goal of economic growth is to get bigger.”) Growth, indeed, could occur from plain, dumb luck; an unanticipated relocation of a footloose factory. Or, the stars become aligned for a long struggling entrepreneurial venture because of a change in federal policy.
- Pulling this off is a matter of dancing on a tightrope, not just walking on it. Smart economic development policymakers and practitioners must be adaptive and flexible, because the best climate for development can be characterized as one of “creative destruction.” Turmoil, closings and openings all abound, while efforts are underway to create new and better opportunities, greater family economic security, a certain amount of earning stability and increased entrepreneurial initiative. To use another metaphor, it’s like playing ball on running water.
- Places matter and places differ. One area’s source of advantage is another’s “death wish.”
- Economic development of the successful sort is grounded in three distinct elements. To start, there are theories, economic do’s and taboos, mathematical identities, and factual regularities, which can be distilled into models of “how things should work in a market economy.” Next is the world of effective or best practice – a box of programs that seem to work somewhere reliably. Then there is what Hill calls “local context.” Or, better stated – “the recognition of local context.” Successful development strategies reach critical mass when the particulars of an area, regarding human capital, social capital, financial capital, physical capital and technological knowhow are robust, as well as maintained, upgraded and catalyzed by good government. The best economic development strategy is getting the fundamentals right, such as schools, roads, amenities and overall quality of life.
- “There is an active – and good – tension between the study of and practice of economic development. It is the tension of vision versus rigor, program design versus program analysis, and the compelling story versus the skepticism of the dismal science.” Indeed, “a studied skepticism” is key to the getting the whole shebang going right. Certainly, “the not-invented-here syndrome” is best combated with it, not ‘boosterism.’
- Political and development timeframes diverge significantly. Economic crises expand policy opportunities, but their horizons may be short. (Think about the electoral cycle.) At the same time, actually completing a major development project may take 3 - 5 years. Transforming an overall economy is a matter of a decade or two (or more). Thus, patient, long-term investments in a region’s advantages are the prerequisites to development, but the leaders must obtain the populace’s buy-in, regarding the vision and the strategy.
- A good civic infrastructure for nonprofits complements actions in the private and public sector and is often better positioned to tackle certain assignments and oversee to complex alliances and collaborations. But, you must not forget that nonprofits do not walk on water and may, over time, become turf-bound.
- Economic developers are in the business of selling locations, public/private investments and accountable, cost-effective public services. They do not directly create jobs. Entrepreneurs and private investors are the main players.
- Economic development is primarily a generative strategy. It is structured to create a bigger pie and see that all benefit. But it is not a redistributionist effort, although there are important links with workforce and community development. Those experiencing dislocation and job loss should not be allowed to fall way behind. Employability is critical for all working in today’s global, information economy.
To quote Hill:
- “Fundamental change to encourage economic development is not closing deals; the core of change is building an economic environment where business wants to do deals.”
- Moreover, “it means that government must get its own house in order first by executing the basics of serving business and workers.”
Assets & Opportunity Impact Report
By Ethan Geiling on 09/16/2011 @ 12:30 PM
As part of the 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Campaign, CFED worked with 25 state partners to improve state-level policies related to asset building and protection as a means of expanding economic opportunity. Using the framework of the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, partners advocated for policy change on a range of asset-building issues; engaged new stakeholders from the public, nonprofit and for-profit sectors; and informed state policy agendas for asset policy coalitions across the states.
Year 2 of the 2009-2010 A&O Campaign has officially come to a close. Fifteen of our state partners reported to us on activities, benchmarks and outcomes from the past year. We’ve summarized their accomplishments into this two-page Partner Impact Report. Take a look and see all of the great work our partners have done this past year!
New Manufactured Housing Toolkit Resource Guide Released
By Lauren Williams on 09/15/2011 @ 11:00 AM
Check Out the Newest Resource Guide!
First Steps Toward a Resident Purchase Opportunity
CFED and our partners have developed a set of tools to help advocates educate policymakers, allied organizations and the general public about how public policy can improve the lives and financial security of owners of manufactured housing.
Our newest addition to the Manufactured Housing Toolkit is the First Steps Toward a Resident Purchase Opportunity Resource Guide. We know that nearly 2.9 million manufactured homes are placed in communities around the United States—this accounts for nearly 43% of all manufactured homes. When owners of manufactured homes place them in communities, they typically lease the land on which their homes sit and become vulnerable to rent increases, arbitrary rule enforcement and even community closure if the community owner decides to convert the land to some other use.
A state purchase opportunity policy that ensures manufactured home community residents have an opportunity to bid when their communities are for sale gives them equal rights with other potential buyers. Sometimes, however, advocates are unable to secure a full-fledged purchase opportunity policy. Whether to push for a less-than-comprehensive purchase opportunity policy presents a dilemma for advocates. If state policymakers adopt one of the suggested “first steps,” they may feel that they have solved the problem and may be unwilling to revisit the issue. Similarly, advocates may choose not to mount a policy campaign for a “first step” policy since it does not guarantee residents the full opportunity to purchase their communities. But a multi-step approach can be effective if advocates have a multi-year strategy, and if they make it clear to policymakers that the “first step” policies they are proposing are only that – first steps. This policy guide presents “first steps” – steps that do not amount to a comprehensive purchase opportunity policy but that may help move a state toward such a policy.
The Manufactured Housing Toolkit includes Policy Briefs, Resource Guides, Sample Local Level Policies and Communications Tools. Policy Briefs are intended to be broadly disseminated and shared with policymakers and allies, while the Resource Guides include legislative analysis, examples of states where certain policies have been adopted, and other detailed information to help advocates in making the case for manufactured housing. The Communications Tools include both concise messages to share with policymakers and community members, as well as tips for advocates in framing the discussion.
Book Review: Hearing the Other Side
By Bill Schweke on 09/14/2011 @ 11:00 AM
Diana Mutz’s book, “Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy” (2006) is a bit of a well-written and thoughtful “wet blanket.” The author delves into an extremely important topic – the effects of increased political discussion and involvement. Her original empirical research discovers a paradox: “participating in politics can bring modest increases in the tolerance of diverse views. But exposure to a diversity of views decreases participation in politics.”
Only about 23 percent of Americans recall having political conversations with those that disagreed with their views. Our citizens appear to have also less exposure to differing views than our counterparts in some countries, but are more talkative about politics. Moreover, civility and tolerance appear to be fostered by awareness of other views and friendship networks that are characterized by diversity of opinions. These factors affect propositions on civil liberties as well.
On the other hand, cross-cutting dialogue increases ambivalence and reduces the propensity to vote and get involved in other forms of political participation. (Ouch!)
The author hesitantly draws two conclusions – the old adage that “religion and politics should never be discussed in mixed company” appears to be true, discouraging lively exchanges by the conflict adverse. And, when forced to choose between democratic ideals, Professor Mutz comes down on more diversity, including more exposure to diverse media messages. (Change is not too likely on this front – too many ways for viewers and listeners to practice “cerebral hygiene” and avoid what they don’t want to experience. And, the erosion of the fairness doctrine is a bummer of a trend too.)
Finally, Mutz’s work shows how creative survey research can be brought to bear on philosophic debates, falsifying some ideas and raising new questions about the efficacy and realism of our political visions.
American Jobs Act Provides Resources for Start-up Businesses, Replacing Outdated Homes and Aid to Unemployed
By Katherine Lucas McKay on 09/13/2011 @ 04:46 PM
Ask your legislators to support the American Jobs Act!
Last week, President Obama delivered a $447 billion package of job creation proposals to a joint session of Congress. The proposals have been packaged into legislation, called the American Jobs Act, that Congressional leaders will consider in the coming weeks. Details of the proposed legislation are below.
The proposals will not only spur job creation and economic growth, they will also deliver substantial benefits to low-income working families, microenterprises and new entrepreneurs. CFED is thrilled that one key element is the expansion of the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEA), which enables aspiring entrepreneurs to utilize unemployment insurance money to fund their businesses for up to 26 weeks, providing roughly $10,000-$13,000 in assistance. Currently only seven states provide this benefit. The proposal makes the program available to all states. In addition to expanding SEA, the President's proposals reflect several other CFED priorities for job creation and new business formation.
The economic research firm Macroeconomic Advisers says that the American Jobs Act would boost GDP by 1.3% and increase employment by 1.3 million jobs by the end of 2012. The legislation would achieve this through a combination of new spending to support cash-strapped state and local governments and invest in infrastructure improvements as well as $250 billion in tax cuts to employers and employees.
- Cut in half the payroll taxes that businesses pay on their first $5 million in employee wages and salaries. As 98% of U.S. firms have payroll expenses under $5 million, this tax cut will provide significant, targeted assistance to the small firms that drive job creation. This cut applies to all employers including nonprofit organizations, which employ 11 million workers.
- Provide a 100% payroll tax holiday for employers for newly added workers and increased wages paid to current employees.
- Extend and increase the current payroll tax holiday by cutting payroll taxes by 50% for 160 million workers in 2012. The average American household will receive a $1,500 tax cut.
- Offer a $4,000 tax credit to employers that hire long-term unemployed workers. We are unsure if this credit applies to nonprofits, which do not have a federal tax liability.
The American Jobs Act also includes key provisions to help small business owners better access capital and finance investments in their businesses. Two in particular will deliver benefits to microenterprise owners:
- Allow firms to raise capital through crowd-funded investments (numerous small-dollar investments up to as much as $1 million solicited and bundled through websites such as Kickstarter). Currently, money raised through crowd-funding is counted as donations; allowing supporters to invest instead could greatly expand the amount of funding that entrepreneurs can raise.
- Extend through 2012 firms' ability to deduct 100% of business expenses.
The Act also includes support for unemployed workers who are seeking new jobs and those who are starting their own businesses:
- Extend emergency unemployment compensation to prevent 5 million Americans who are looking for work from losing their benefits.
- Allow states to implement wage insurance to help reemploy older workers and programs that make it easier for unemployed workers to start their own businesses--including expansion of the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEA) and changes to the Workforce Investment Act. The plan proposes increasing the number of states that have programs including a one-stop mechanism to enable states to connect entrepreneuers with mentoring and access to capital through the SBA and other resources.
- Prohibit employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.
- Encourage Work-Sharing by permitting workers whose employers choose work-sharing over layoffs to receive unemployment compensation.
- Create a new “Bridge to Work” employment retraining program based on a controversial Georgia state program.
- Establish a fund to support for successful approaches for subsidized employment, innovative training programs and jobs for low-income youth.
Finally, the American Jobs Act also supports job-creating infrastructure and facilities investments:
- Provides $15 billion in investments to rehabilitate and refurbish hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes. We will work with the HUD Secretary to ensure that replacing outdated mobile homes with ENERGY STAR manufactured homes could be an eligible use.
- Support salaries of up to 280,000 teachers as well as police and firefighters to prevent layoffs that would harm our children and diminish public safety.
- Modernize and renovate 35,000 public schools across the country, including community colleges. 40 percent of these funds will be directed toward the 100 largest high-need public school districts.
- Establish a National Infrastructure Bank to ensure that America's future infrastructure investment needs will be met and our nation can support the activities of a competitive, growing economy.
- Make immediate investments in U.S. roads, railways, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers back on the job.
- Support public-private partnerships to rehabilitate homes and communities.
Ask your Senators and Representative to support the American Jobs Act!
- Click the "Take Action" link to send an email to your legislators.
- Follow up with a call to their offices. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected.
- Say that you want them to support the American Jobs Act because it will support job creation and economic growth while strengthening supports for low-income working households, new entrepreneurs, and microenterprises and should be paid for by tax increases as proposed.
- Share this alert with your colleagues and friends.
New Study of Savings Habits
By Cäzilia Loibl, Guest Contributor on 09/13/2011 @ 11:00 AM
Can a savings program really foster savings habits? Yes!
Findings from a study on savings habit development in IDAs
Cäzilia Loibl is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Consumer Sciences at The Ohio State University. For more information about Cäzilia's other papers on the IDA program and savings behavior in general, please visit her publications page.
Savings habits are a topic covered in every financial education workshop, and play a particularly important role in Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDA participants have both the time and the structure to foster good savings behavior during financial education classes and meetings with case managers. I was interested in finding out whether we could, in fact, quantify the impact of the IDA program on savings habit development. We captured our findings in the study, Accounting for the Role of Habit in Regular Savings.
Background: For the purpose of this study, savings habits were defined as frequently practiced behaviors, done without a particular sense of awareness, with the goal of freeing up funds for saving or debt reduction. Automatically packing lunch for work, browsing supermarket shelves for discounted products and calling friends after 9 p.m. are thrifty money-saving behaviors that should be habitual for many people. Our “treatment” group consisted of current participants in the IDA program of the Assets Ohio network, a statewide IDA program managed by the Ohio CDC Association. The “treatment” group received a paper survey distributed to them by their case managers. The “comparison” group comprised low-income individuals of the general population who lived in counties served by the IDA network, but who were not savings program participants. We collected and analyzed survey data to:
- Validate the role of habit in regular saving
- Test whether participation in a savings program (i.e., an Individual Development Account program) facilitates habit formation
- Examine the role of habit in individual’s perception of financial strain
The results showed that habit mattered for regular saving. Habit strength increased over time during program participation and savings habits reduced the stress of financially difficult situations.
Result #1: Habit influences savings
Habit emerged as a significant predictor of savings deposits, confirming its role as an independent factor in explaining saving.
Result #2: Savings program participation supports habit formation
Compared to non-participants, the savings habit of IDA program participants increased over time, peaked at 19-24 months, and then flattened. There was no difference in savings habit between non-participants and new enrollees, thus supporting successful habit formation during savings program participation.
Result #3: Habit eases financially stressful experiences
Results support the independent role of habit for reducing the perception of financial strain above the influence of household income and savings. This analysis parallels earlier findings on the influence of mental habits on self-esteem (Hilton and Devall 1997).
Admittedly, the idea that long-term savings may be achieved by habitualizing behavior is controversial in the world of behavioral economics. Behavioral economics favors commitment devices that reduce the behavioral component to a minimum – in other words, the less action required, the more successful the saver will be. Examples include auto-enrollment in retirement plans (Madrian and Shea 2001), the use of life-cycle investment funds, and employer-sponsored matched savings (Choi et al. 2006).
However, our analysis focuses on the financial behaviors in everyday life, the ideal scenario for building savings habits. Many of these decisions tend to occur frequently (packing a sack lunch, brewing your own coffee, parking in a cheaper parking lot), tend to affect small amounts of money in the “peanuts” range (Prelec and Loewenstein 1991; Markowitz 1952), and are targeted toward the greater goal of freeing up money for saving or debt reduction. These savings habits may funnel funding toward an institutionalized commitment mechanism (e.g. a checking account balance that is invested automatically) or develop independently, but both help achieve the greater goal of asset building for the purposes of short-term and long-term savings.
Loibl, Cäzilia, David S. Kraybill, and Sara Wackler DeMay. 2011. Accounting for the role of habit in regular saving. Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 32, Issue 4, August 2011, Pages 581-592. Accessible here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2011.04.004
Innovation Update: Access to Healthcare Network
By Anne Li on 09/12/2011 @ 11:00 AM
Sherri Rice's work with Access to Healthcare Network continues to grow. AHN has already provided affordable health care with dignity to 10,000 Nevada residents who have limited incomes but who are not covered by Medicaid or other programs. They pay affordable monthly premiums and in return they receive the care they need at highly discounted rates offered by hospitals, doctors and other health care providers under a "shared responsibility model" where government, providers, employers and employees ("the working poor") share responsibility.
AHN is now beginning to expand from northern Nevada into the Las Vegas metropolitan area and continues to offer a limited number of Health Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) in which the member's savings toward health expenses are matched by philanthropic dollars. In another demonstration of innovation, Sherri is working with a local community college to develop a new degree program targeting lower-income Hispanic and other young people that will lead directly to real jobs with local employers as Patient Navigators or Care Coordinators. The new credential will qualify graduates for living-wage jobs with bilingual requirements. Financial education and asset building will be incorporated into the curriculum.
Listen to Sherri on her weekly radio program by searching podcasts at KTHX 100.1 FM, Reno, NV.
Lowering the U.S. Unemployment Rate
By Bill Schweke on 09/09/2011 @ 03:15 PM
The latest projections by the US Congressional Budget Office brought more bad news about the economy: low rates of employment creation and high rates of joblessness through 2014. Then, and only then, will we see a bit of a visible turn-around.
The future could be even bleaker if the Eurozone is dragged down by its weakest members. Or, a double-dip recession could occur, if deficit cutters at the federal level slash too much, too soon.
Throw into the mix the philosophical and policy divisions between the Republicans and Democrats and it all seems pretty hopeless – not necessarily an apocalypse, but a continuation of slow growth and stagnant living standards for those already struggling financially.
Given this picture, what can we do? In the long run, it’s pretty clear – put in place a concerted, agreed-upon plan to cut the budget deficit over the next decade-plus. Follow Keynes’s advice and make the status of economists akin to dentists – dull, professional, practical and non-dogmatic.
Not a likely scenario for now. Although, let’s guess that 70% of the economics profession would agree on their respective policy diagnoses and prescription. Many still would not agree. Moreover, economics has become more pluralist, as varied schools of thought have emerged since the sixties – some leaning toward conservative and some lefty.
Then there is the fact that many debates start out with a clear focus on a topic, such as free trade, and then turn into a veiled controversy about underlying value premises or a heated clash about related factual issues.
Furthermore, efforts underway to increase economics literacy among the populace are largely funded by the business community, giving its work a definite right-wing tilt.
But, this doesn’t mean nothing can be done. If we want a more deliberative democracy, we can encourage the following:
• More civility in debate
• A stronger focus on identifying and discussing common interests, rather than the varied (and often hardened) positions
• Creating a “better” and more solvable problem by reframing the issues and problem statement
• Searching for more inclusive solutions
• Keeping an open mind
Treasury Announces 2011 Native American CDFI Assistance Program Awards
By Kim Pate on 09/09/2011 @ 11:30 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog is a repost of a press release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's CDFI Fund.
Honolulu, HI – Director Donna J. Gambrell of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) traveled to Honolulu to join U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa to announce awards totaling $11,847,579 for 35 Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs) and organizations serving economically distressed Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities (Native communities) across the nation. The organizations awarded are headquartered in 17 states and serve mostly rural communities.
The awards are being made through the fiscal year 2011 round of the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance component, the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program). The awards will assist financial institutions with a primary mission of serving Native communities to increase their lending services and financial products, as well as to build their own internal capacity to serve their target markets.
Director Gambrell made the announcement at the 10th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention, a yearly gathering of community members, organizations, policy makers, legislative representatives, and federal agencies interested in Native Hawaiian community development. Seven Hawaiian organizations received awards this year, the most of any state in the 2011 round.
"The awards announced today clearly demonstrate the successful growth of the Native CDFI movement across the country," said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. "We're here in Hawaii to celebrate this success and the seven awardees dedicated to economically empowering underserved Native Hawaiian communities."
Senator Inouye praised the awards granted to organizations in Hawaii, saying that he was “very pleased that these financial institutions are receiving the much needed support. The Native Hawaiian community was hit especially hard by the recession and these funds will help small business secure credit and create new jobs. The money will also help families find a home. I am very grateful that the President continues to help the Native people of his home state who are working hard to find stable financial footing.”
Congresswoman Hanabusa agreed on the local impact of the awards, saying that “our country’s economic situation has been difficult for many of Hawaii’s families, especially those in our Native Hawaiian communities. I am pleased to join Donna J. Gambrell, director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund in announcing more than $1.5 million in awards to help community-based financial institutions provide affordable loans and financial services to Native Hawaiian families, while promoting the growth of our local economy.”
The Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awardees were selected after a competitive review of 88 applications received by the CDFI Fund from organizations across the nation that requested, in total, nearly $35 million in funding under the FY 2011 round of the NACA Program.
2011 NACA Program Awards
• 2011 NACA Program Awards Book
• 2011 NACA Program Awards List
• 2011 NACA Program Awards Highlights
• 2011 NACA Program Awardee Profiles
About the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program)
Through the NACA Program, the CDFI Fund invests in and builds the capacity of existing and developing private, for-profit and non-profit community-based lending organizations known as Native Community Development Financial Institutions. These organizations serve low-income Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian people and communities across the nation that lack adequate access to affordable financial products and services. The CDFI Fund receives applications on an annual basis and awards funds through a competitive process. The NACA Program is one component of the CDFI Fund’s greater Native Initiatives program, which has been actively assisting Native financial institutions through financial and technical assistance and training for nearly a decade.
For more information on the NACA Program, please visit www.cdfifund.gov.
Wanted: Creative Thinking
By Donna V.S. Ortega, Guest Contributor on 09/09/2011 @ 10:22 AM
Letter of Intent Deadline October 3: AARP Foundation Seeks Innovative Ideas on Income
A recent AARP Public Policy Institute fact sheet highlights the murky employment situation for older Americans. The unemployment rate for persons aged 55 and older dipped to 6.9 percent from 7.0 percent between June and July 2011; while the average duration of unemployment for jobseekers aged 55 and older remained above one year. As of July, nearly 54 percent of older jobseekers had been out of work for 27 or more weeks. Faced with job loss and long-term unemployment, 50+ working families are drawing down savings and increasing debt, and with fewer years between them and retirement (whatever that may look like), they have less time to rebuild these lost assets.
To hasten older Americans’ recovery from the Great Recession, and to reverse the downward spiral facing these vulnerable families, AARP Foundation’s Income Impact Area will be investing over $1 million in nonprofit organizations through its Recession Recovery grants. The purpose of this grant opportunity is to identify and fund innovative and strategic business models that begin to build a national network of employment and income support services that address the specific needs of unemployed workers age 50 and older as they recover from the recession and the effects of long-term unemployment.
AARP Foundation seeks to work in partnership with selected grantees to create a new paradigm for delivering meaningful services to older adult workers and to reduce the length and negative impact of long-term unemployment. While helping people obtain jobs offering good wages and benefits is the most critical element of recovery, given the circumstances noted above, obtaining a job is not enough. While dealing with long-term unemployment and with the potential reduction of unemployment benefits, older workers also need access to income supports and social services necessary to meet their basic needs and protect their families’ financial security. The full RFP is now available on our website at http://www.aarp.org/incomegrants. This is a two-step RFP process: Letters of Intent under this grant program are due on October 3, full proposal submissions are by invitation only and will be due on October 17.
This open call for Recession Recovery proposals (as well as our Sustainable Solutions to Hunger Innovation Grants, also open now) represents a new channel and intervention under AARP Foundation’s new mission: The Foundation is dedicated to serving vulnerable people 50+ by creating solutions that help them secure the essentials and achieve their best life. Through thought leadership, direct services, legal advocacy, grantmaking and raising awareness about the particular needs faced by the low-income 50+, we are working to serve the nearly 20 million older Americans who are at risk of not meeting one or more of their basic needs.
Please review and respond to the RFP, share it with your colleagues and help AARP Foundation find those innovative solutions at the national, regional, state and local levels that can help older Americans regain their economic stability. For more information about our grantmaking work, please visit www.aarp.org/foundationgrants.
CFED Selects Assets & Opportunity Network Partners
By Jennifer Brooks on 09/08/2011 @ 11:00 AM
CFED is excited to announce that we have selected our first set of lead organizations to help begin building the Assets & Opportunity Network.
The Network builds on, leverages and respects the strong relationships that already exist in the assets field. We have selected organizations in 27 states and 26 local areas that will serve as inaugural Lead State and Lead Local Organizations for the Network. There is tremendous excitement in the field about participating in this national Network, which we only expect will grow.
As we build out Network resources, we hope to engage lead organizations in additional states and localities. The Request for Letters of Interest in Serving as a Lead State or Local Organization will reopen in January 2012.
Mississippi College Savings Account Program Launch
By Johanna Barrero on 09/08/2011 @ 11:00 AM
CFED is pleased to announce the launch of the Mississippi College Savings Account Program in Jackson, MS, on September 8, 2011 at 10 a.m. at Jones Early Childhood Development Center. Three leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting economic development in Mississippi, the Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) at Delta State University, the Mississippi Community Financial Access Coalition (MCFAC) and Hope Credit Union, have partnered with the City of Jackson, Department of Human and Cultural Services to bring incentivized college savings accounts to children enrolled at Virden, Jones and Westside Early Childhood Development Centers in Jackson, MS.
With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the program will establish an account for each participating child at Hope Credit Union with a seed deposit of $50 and will offer match deposits and other incentives as funds are available throughout the life of the program. Accounts will be built with program contributions as well as participant and family savings over time to be used for higher education related expenses. Participating children will also receive at least 5 hours of in-classroom financial education while their parents will be offered up to the 10 hours of training.
The MS College Savings Account program seeks to address the gap in higher educational attainment affecting low income students in Mississippi, where less than 15% of 9th graders end up transitioning to and completing college. The program will help children create a financial nest egg, increase economic opportunity, and transform their aspirations for their own futures, including plans for college.
Letter-to-the-Editor Published in Chicago Tribune
By Carl Rist on 09/07/2011 @ 12:15 PM
This morning, the Chicago Tribune published my letter-to-the-editor, which responded to this story on children’s savings. I’ve copied my response below, and I hope you’ll leave your thoughts by using the comments section at the bottom of this page.
"New Lessons Behind Kids' Allowances" (News, Aug. 28) is interesting fodder for parents considering how best to use allowances to teach their children about budgeting and saving.
But for the most part, this is about parents who have the luxury to consider different options.
For low-income families, such options are rarely feasible. Most don't have the money to spare for their kids' allowances and few consider the importance of saving when they are struggling to pay the rent or put enough food on the table.
Yet, in our increasingly complex financial services marketplace, teaching all children, including those from low-income households, the importance of saving is critical to helping them create a more secure financial future.
One way to teach these critical financial lessons to low-income children is to provide them with real incentives to save while they are learning about thrift. Creating Children's Saving Accounts is one proven approach.
CSAs are seeded with an initial deposit as early as birth and built by contributions from family, friends and the children themselves. The accounts are augmented by savings matches and/or other incentives, and include age-appropriate financial education. At age 18, the savings in CSAs can be used for financing higher education, starting a small business, buying a home or funding retirement.
Savings give kids the fuel they need to aim higher in life.
Among students who initially share the same aspirations for college, those with college savings accounts in their name — regardless of how much money they save — are seven times more likely to attend and stay in college than their peers without savings, according to research conducted by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis.
You’re Invited – Strategies for Change
Posted on 09/07/2011 @ 10:50 AM
The Virginia Microenterprise Network cordially invites you to Strategies for Change: Innovations in Microenterprise and Community Economic Development. This two-day conference, September 15-16 at Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, will feature innovations and emerging issues within the microenterprise industry.
The conference specifically aims to bring together organizations that assist entrepreneurs seeking business training and capital to exchange ideas and new strategies for improving access to credit for qualified businesses. Partners for the event include the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the Maryland Microenterprise Network, the North Carolina Rural Center, the Latino Economic Development Center, the Center for Economic Options and the Charleston (SC) Local Development Corporation.
To register for this exciting opportunity, visit vamirco.org/2011conference. If you have questions or would like more information, call Amanda Gibson at 804.697.8107.
Recording from Net Impact Call
By Andrea Levere on 09/06/2011 @ 03:00 PM
Last month, I had the privilege of speaking on a Net Impact Call entitled “Closing the Wealth Gap.” The conversation was joined by about 35 highly engaged participants and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with such an energized group.
I wanted to share the recording of the Net Impact Call on our blog and to thank Net Impact for providing the recording to our readers. To access the recording, click here. You’ll need a codec to view the file. To download the codec, click here.
I look forward to hearing your feedback on this lively discussion. To let us know what you think of “Closing the Wealth Gap,” use the comments feature below.
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