Scaling Innovations for Low-Income Families
By Kori Hattemer on 05/15/2013 @ 01:00 PM
At CFED, we are always interested in innovative approaches to creating pathways to financial security for low- and moderate-income families, so I enjoyed attending a conference that Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and United Way hosted last month to share their experiences scaling integrated service delivery.
The conference, “From Promise to Practice: Scaling Innovations for Low-Income Families,” brought together philanthropists, intermediaries, researchers and government agencies involved with this work to share the lessons learned over the past 10 years as organizations have developed the integrated service delivery model. FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg delivered the keynote and Jonathan Greenblatt, Director of the White House Office on Social Innovation and Civic Participation, spoke, along with senior leadership from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the United Way, the Citi Foundation and the Aspen Institute.
At the event, LISC shared the method they developed for integrating services at their Financial Opportunity Centers, where staff members encourage clients to bundle three types of services—financial, income support and employment. Other leaders that are helping expand this model include United Way’s SparkPoint Centers and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Centers for Working Families, which was the impetus behind LISC’s work in this area. Since the beginning, these organizations have shared their experiences with one another and used their collective lessons learned to make adjustments and build a new evidence-based model for delivering services that improve family financial stability.
This model of integrated service delivery has produced promising outcomes, which led LISC and its partners to develop a national framework for scaling it. Using this framework, LISC has launched more than 65 centers in 25 cities across the country by standardizing policies and processes (to the extent feasible with diverse implementation partners on the ground) and building the infrastructure needed to support the initiative as it grows.
Recognizing that many organizations struggle to bring promising new practices to scale, LISC has published a report on their own experiences that is a must-read for organizations interested in scaling integration models. Report author Chris Walker said that among the factors that enabled their centers to grow were private philanthropy from foundations such as Annie E. Casey and Citi, federal funding from the Social Innovation Fund, and an intermediary approach in which LISC operated at the national and local level to provide technical assistance and training, maintain high levels of accountability, mobilize resources and develop policy.
CFED is currently involved in numerous projects to explore how asset-building projects—including financial education, tax preparation assistance, getting people banked and helping them to save and build their credit score—can be integrated into existing social services to build financial security and improve program outcomes. Our work in this area (which you can read about here) builds upon the work of these innovative philanthropists and practitioners who have integrated social services to increase financial capability and willingly shared their lessons and models as they evolved, as well as the many organizations who are currently involved in bundling services and integrating asset building. I look forward to continuing to learn from and alongside these innovative partners to improve our policies and programs that empower low- and moderate-income families to achieve financial stability.
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- Five Lessons for Piloting Integrated Service Delivery [Kori Hattemer]
CFSI Gathers Market Leaders to Discuss Successful Underbanked Strategies
By Sarah Gordon, Guest Contributor on 05/01/2013 @ 12:30 PM
Yesterday, the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) brought together policymakers, regulators, consumer advocates and others to mark the end of Financial Capability Month. The gathering, called Improving Americans’ Financial Capability: Early Lessons and Emerging Innovations for Changing Consumer Behavior, explored the power of combining personalized, timely financial information and advice with high-quality financial products and services.
Given the important role public policy can and should play in fostering an environment where this kind of innovation can flourish, we were pleased to take our conversation to the Hill. Our discussion opened with remarks by Melissa Koide, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Consumer Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and she offered her unique perspective on the state of financial capability in America. The convening was hosted by congressional leaders Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Rep. Steve Steivers (R-OH), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Financial & Economic Literacy Caucus.
Jeanne Hogarth, Vice President of Policy, CFSI, welcomed a group of distinguished panelists and guests to the event to share insights on a wide variety of interventions impacting financial service providers, regulators, policymakers and funders. Throughout the month, we’ve had the chance to shine a spotlight on innovators who are at the center of the movement to build financial capability around the country.
Jayson Halladay, one of CFSI’s 2010 Financial Capability Innovation Fund grantees, talked about the success of his company, Piggymojo, in using visualization, social commitments, and mobile and online technology to help consumers quantify and enjoy the act of not buying. His comments, along with insights and guidance from the rest of the panelists, offered a fresh view of the financial services market as fertile ground for future innovation.
In fact, promising products and services like Piggymojo are popping up across the country. Representing the best of these efforts, a cohort of nonprofit innovators who were recently awarded a total of $2.5 million through the Financial Capability Innovation Fund II (FCIF II), CFSI’s competitive grant program, discussed their cutting-edge strategies for enabling families to build savings, improve their credit and better manage their finances.
Supporting the evolution of financial capability introduces CFSI to a wide group of innovators. We dig deeper into the current trends of innovation in our recently released report, “Stretch Time: Continuing to Reach for Financial Capability, Trends from the Financial Capability Innovation Fund II.” In the report, we analyze the FCIF II’s high-quality applicant pool, consisting of 127 applications from 38 states and Washington, DC. Highlighting the common features seen in the applications, the results demonstrate widespread adoption of new strategies for building financial capability. We are also excited to see a greater focus on changing consumer behavior and an increased emphasis on sustainability and scalability.
By lifting up successful strategies like those presented on the Hill today and those included in our new report, CFSI seeks to guide and empower others to join us in taking action. Thanks to a remarkable kind of cross-sector collaboration, we are developing a more thorough understanding of consumer needs and ultimately offer a brighter future to all consumers.
RSVP Today For A Foot in the Door to the American Dream: A Forum on College Savings Accounts
By Veronica Weis on 04/09/2013 @ 04:00 PM
A Lunchtime Policy Forum Sponsored by CFED & Opportunity Nation
Thursday, May 9, 2013 | Noon - 1:30 pm
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50, Washington, DC
Lunch available at 11:45 am
- Andrea Levere, President, CFED
- Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Screening of “A Foot in the Door” with introductory remarks by Jose Cisneros, Treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco. “A Foot in the Door” is a short movie that tells the story of Kindergarten to College, the first universal children’s savings account program in the United States. Launched by the City and County of San Francisco, the program automatically provides a college savings account to children when they start kindergarten.
- Mark Edwards, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation
- Leigh Tivol, Director, Savings & Financial Security, CFED
- Amer Sajed, CEO, Barclaycard US
- Cindy Wallace, Vice Chancellor for Student Development, Appalachian State University
A college degree for their child is the aspiration of almost every parent in America. Unfortunately, soaring tuition and the burden of out-of-control student debt threaten to make this important pathway to economic security increasingly out of reach for too many families. One solution, Children’s Savings Accounts, has proven to be an effective method of helping children (especially low- and moderate-income children) go to and complete college. With so many of the available jobs in our 21st century economy requiring a degree or credential beyond high school, we must build strong ladders of opportunity for any student or family willing to climb them.
At this lunch event, some of the nation’s top experts on children’s savings, asset development and higher education success from various sectors will offer their ideas on how to help families save (as early as kindergarten) to make an investment in their children’s future. This event is free, but space is limited, so RSVP today by clicking 'Reply' or by sending an email to email@example.com. The deadline to register is May 3.
Join the conversation on Twitter by following @CFEDNews and #CFEDforum!
Cradle to College: Exploring How Children's Savings Accounts Pay Off
By Sean Luechtefeld on 03/20/2013 @ 11:15 AM
EDITOR’S NOTE: CFED’s own Leigh Tivol will be speaking as part of this PolicyLink webinar next Tuesday. If you’re available, we’d love it if you could join Leigh!
Join PolicyLink and a panel of experts discussing promising new developments in children’s savings accounts. This webinar will explore the ways that accounts not only contribute to saving for college, but also improve educational outcomes, and the odds that low-income students and students of color enroll in college.
Hear from Jose Cisneros, Treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco, about the nation’s first universal children’s savings account program for kindergarteners. He will be joined by Dr. William Elliott, Assistant Professor and Director of Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas, Leigh Tivol, Director of Savings and Financial Security at CFED, and Reid Cramer, Director of the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation. They will describe the latest research, models we’re seeing across the country and opportunities to support national policy advocacy.
To register for the webinar, click here.
Can America Save Itself? Tax Reform, Savings and Financial Security
By Emanuel Nieves on 03/01/2013 @ 12:46 PM
As Congress begins to move towards the first major rewrite of the tax code since 1986, they are presented with an opportunity to solve one of the biggest threats to Americans’ financial security: the lack of household savings. Our research shows that as many as 44 percent of American households – about 132.1 million people – don’t have a basic personal safety net to prepare for unplanned emergencies or the resources to live three months at the federal poverty line, which for a family of four is just $5,763.
This week, CFED sponsored a bipartisan policy forum titled: Can America Save Itself? Tax Reform, Savings and Financial Security that brought together two panels of experts to discuss potential opportunities in tax reform as well as other ideas that can help families save and ultimately become financially secure.
The keynote panel moderated by CFED’s president, Andrea Levere, consisted of Representative Richard Neal (D-MA), Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Jonathan Mintz, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.
Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) spoke about the behavior and thinking around personal and retirement savings, noting that many Americans (mainly younger) are not actively planning for retirement. He emphasized the need for additional savings by pointing out that income from social security alone is not enough for retirement. The Congressman highlighted the Automatic IRA Act of 2012, a bipartisan legislative proposal he last introduced during the previous Congress that would provide tax incentives to employers to set up Automatic IRA accounts to promote retirement savings at the workplace. Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA) echoed Representative Neal’s comments but also added that as the House tax writing Committee works on tax reform he hopes to see a good, comprehensive piece of legislation that achieves three things: simplifies the tax code, is more equitable and encourages investment in the domestic economy.
Jonathan Mintz, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, spoke about need to provide an on-ramp for families to stabilize their finances in the short-term as well as build long term savings by making it as easy as possible for them to save. Commissioner Mintz discussed New York City’s SaveUSA initiative that is incentivizing families to save by strategically targeting them during a time when many receive a large sum of money at one time – tax season. The SaveUSA initiative partners with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout New York City to offer the opportunity to open a SaveUSA account at the time of filing with participants required to save a portion of their refund for a year and every dollar saved earns them a .50 match for up to $500.
The second panel of key experts, moderated by CFED Founder Bob Friedman, were asked to present one policy idea that they believed could help to support savings.
Pamela Everhart of Fidelity Investments spoke about the importance of defaults in program design and the role of employer-sponsored saving. She proposed changing the federal government’s guidance to employers on Safe Harbor 401(k) accounts from the current 3% savings default rate to 6%. She highlighted the level of inactivity seen on the part of the participant as another barrier for families to save enough for retirement with about 59% of workers within Fidelity’s portfolio staying at the 3% default rate. By changing the Safe Harbor guidance to require employers to set a 6% automatic savings default it would greatly help families save early, save more, and save enough for a range of retirement needs.
David John of The Heritage Foundation talked about the United Kingdom’s innovation with "corporate platform" accounts as an encouraging, flexible, and portable tool that can allow participants to simultaneously save for retirement while saving for other non-retirement related purposes. The accounts could greatly help with retirement account leakage as the non-retirement savings can be structured to meet needs such as mortgages, debt reduction, educational expenses, and a variety of other purposes. In addition, these accounts can also provide many lower income participants a bridge to other previously unknown savings opportunities and because of their portability they can include targeted financial literacy trainings as milestones are reached.
Reid Cramer of the New America Foundation discussed the need to elevate the conversation that savings are not just a long-term issue but also an intermediate and short-term issue. He highlighted the Financial Security Credit, which would replace the existing saver’s credit to help encourage, incentivize, and reward families who save.
Lisa Mensah of the Aspen Institute spoke about seizing the tax reform debate to address savings and financial security. She highlighted the Freedom Savings Credit, which would also expand the existing saver’s credit – currently missing about 69 million eligible Americans – by providing a match incentive to promote and reward saving.
The current tax code, as noted in our report, is upside down as it rewards millionaires an average of $96,000 a year in federal subsidies and tax breaks for their efforts to save, while those earning $19,000 a year or less receive less than $5 apiece. If we can turn this aspect of the tax code right side-up, provide the right tools and incentives and target families during key moments, many will save and ultimately achieve financial security.
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- Hill Forum on Tax Reform Elevates Financial Security & Savings Policies [New America's The Ladder blog]
- The Difference Between Living in Your House and Sleeping in Your Car [New America's The Ladder blog]
Call for Presenters: National Community Tax Coalition 2013 Conference
By Veronica Weis on 02/26/2013 @ 03:00 PM
The National Community Tax Coalition is holding its 9th national conference this September in New Orleans. This year’s conference centers on advancing, sustaining and growing the community tax preparation and asset building field. It is clear that there has been a significant shift in the landscape, with tax reform, affordable health care, and improving the nation’s fiscal health all being national priorities. It is essential that the VITA field seize the moment and realize the opportunity to design and launch innovations in sustaining the viable services that are provided to the most vulnerable and most difficult-to-serve populations by elevating promising practices, practical policies and applied research that will move the field forward.
In preparation, they'd love for engaged, knowledgeable partners such as you to consider not only joining them, but presenting on matters of interest to their members and conference attendees - hundreds of folks who are interested in helping low- to moderate-income, working people through good policies and practices involving taxes, community-based tax preparation, asset building and financial education services, among other things.
Please take a look at the invitation to present here and note that the March 8 deadline for submission of proposals about workshops and research papers is fast approaching!
Six Steps that City Leaders Can Take to Increase Family Economic Security
By Kristin Lawton on 02/25/2013 @ 02:30 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: We're happy to help promote National League of Cities' webinar this Thursday, which features CFED's Chief Program Officer, Ida Rademacher.
You're invited to a free, hour-long webinar, which will be held this Thursday, February 28, at 2:30 pm EST. The webinar will feature strategies described in a new report published by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and the YEF Institute. The report, Taking the First Step: Six Ways to Start Building Financial Security and Opportunity at the Local Level, highlights innovative, low- or no-cost ideas for how city officials can get started in helping families achieve financial stability. These strategies include raising awareness about available services and consumer protections; increasing access to financial education and safe, affordable financial products; preventing foreclosures and predatory lending; and developing model human resource policies.
Webinar speakers will include:
- Sybongile Cook, Program Manager - Economic Development, Banking Bureau, Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, District of Columbia
- The Honorable Ann M. Horton, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Bryan, Texas
- Ida Rademacher, Chief Program Officer, CFED
Speakers will discuss how the six strategies featured in the report have laid the foundation for robust, citywide financial empowerment agendas.
Nevada Assets and Opportunity Summit February 28th
By Veronica Weis on 02/14/2013 @ 10:30 AM
The Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada will host an event beginning with a day of speakers and workshops that will focus on how to improve the financial stability of Nevadans. Topics covered include the increased use of savings, financial education for youth, innovative financial products, credit repair, consumer protection and financial counseling. The event will kick off with a keynote address from the Nevada State Treasurer, Kate Marshall. During the event, CFED will release the new Assets and Opportunity Scorecard for Nevada and offer recommendations for policy changes to improve financial stability. The summit will conclude at the State Capitol on March 1 with presentations on public policy options that will support increased financial stability for Nevadans. It expected that over two hundred nonprofit practitioners, experts, policy makers, and industry leaders from across the state will attend.
About the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada (FSPNN): The FSPNN has been raising public awareness and supporting the work of community groups who are providing financial education and asset building. The FSPNN is a community collaborative that has, since 2008, steadily gained structure, funding and capacity to provide access to financial education to individuals in northern Nevada. The FSPNN consists of several distinct elements: Free Tax Preparation and VITA sites (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), Youth Financial Education, Adult Financial Education and Bank on Nevada. This program helps maximize income, asset building and preservation, savings, establishing credit, debt reduction, public awareness, workforce development, home ownership, access to public and private benefits and entrepreneurship. The FSPNN is administrated by the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra.
Join us Tomorrow as we Live Blog the 2013 #SOTU
By Sean Luechtefeld on 02/11/2013 @ 03:00 PM
Tomorrow night, join CFED’s staff of experts as we live blog President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address. With the economy remaining a central focus in the American mind, there are sure to be a number of important implications from tomorrow’s address for the work we all do to create pathways to financial security for low- and moderate-income American families. The address is scheduled for 9 pm EST/6 pm PST, so be sure to grab your laptop or tablet and jump in on the conversation.
To join us, simply visit The Inclusive Economy. Before the event begins, you’ll see a post telling you to standby as we wait for President Obama to begin his address. If you click on the title of that post, you’ll be taken to the permalink, which you can refresh often to see the latest additions to the conversation. From there, you can use the comments function to add your thoughts or pose questions to our staff of experts. You can also join the conversation using Twitter; just make sure you’re following @cfednews. If we like your Tweet, we’ll include it in the conversation!
We hope you’ll be able to join us, and that you’ll tell your colleagues to do the same. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email. See you tomorrow!
Research Symposium — Restoring Household Financial Stability After the Great Recession: Why Household Balance Sheets Matter
By Kim Pate on 12/18/2012 @ 01:00 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This event listing originally appeared on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' website here.
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 - Welcome Reception and Dinner
8 a.m. - 8 p.m. | Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 - Symposium
8 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 - Symposium
America’s economic engine—its household sector—is sputtering. The common underlying vulnerability is widespread household financial instability: the inability of millions of Americans to meet their financial obligations, qualify for new credit, or play their traditional roles as consumers and homebuyers driving economic growth. This household financial instability was affirmed by the recently released Survey of Consumer Finances of the Federal Reserve, which showed that, overall, the median net worth of American households declined nearly 40 percent between 2007 and 2010. Particularly hard hit were younger, non-white and non-college-educated households.
Through commissioned papers, keynote speeches and a competitive call for papers, this symposium will highlight the critical role of household balance sheets in restoring household financial stability and national economic growth. Keynote speakers will include Michael Barr, former assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Treasury Department and current professor at the University of Michigan Law School; Christopher Carroll, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University; and Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein.
Sessions will explore:
- current data and research on household balance sheets as well as a framework for understanding the determinants and implications of household financial stability;
- the links between household balance sheets and attainment of homeownership, economic mobility and educational goals among households; and
- the connections between household balance sheets and macroeconomic outcomes, including economic growth and the transmission of monetary policy to the economy.
This event is free; however, registration is required by Tuesday, Jan. 29, as space is limited.
Sponsored by the Household Financial Stability initiative and Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, along with the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis.
To check out a draft of the agenda, click here.
Rebuilding America's Balance Sheet, One Household at a Time
By Anne Kim on 11/29/2012 @ 09:15 AM
While Congress debates how to balance the nation’s books, American households are still struggling to rebuild their personal balance sheets, devastated by the recession. Americans lost more than 40% of their wealth from 2007 to 2010, according to the Federal Reserve, while CFED’s analysis finds that 43% of American households lack the cash to live three months at the federal poverty line if they suffer a loss of income.
More than ever, the nation needs a new agenda to rebuild Americans’ financial security. At an event sponsored by CFED and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, speakers including Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), CFED President Andrea Levere, Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell, Opportunity Agenda’s James Carr and Ray Boshara of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis offered up a host of ideas that could form the backbone of a new opportunity agenda. Among the proposals:
- Cracking down on predatory payday lenders and financial service providers
- Focused federal attention on the continuing problem of “underwater borrowers” and the drag of negative equity on economic growth
- Tweaks to existing savings vehicles to make their more accessible to lower- and moderate-income families
Last Call: The Forgotten 40 Percent
By Sean Luechtefeld on 11/26/2012 @ 08:00 AM
Today is your last chance to register for tomorrow’s event, The Forgotten 40 Percent, a panel discussion co-hosted by CFED and the editors of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. To join the event in-person at our Washington, DC headquarters (1200 G Street NW), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the event via live webcast, click here.
Tomorrow’s event, which kicks off with breakfast at 8:45 am (EST), will feature opening remarks from Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The panel discussion will begin at 9 am (EST) and will include CFED President Andrea Levere, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Senior Advisor Ray Boshara, Insight Center for Community Economic Development Fellow James Carr and Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell. The event will be moderated by Jim Tankersley, Economics Correspondent for The National Journal.
Based on the centerpiece symposium in the Fall 2012 issue of Democracy, our panelists will argue that Washington’s top post-election priority should be to restore American opportunity. They’ll also offer up their best ideas on how to do it, ranging from tax reform to encouraging savings and beefing up consumer protections.
We hope to see you tomorrow!
Owners of Manufactured Homes are Homeowners, Too
By Sean Luechtefeld on 11/19/2012 @ 03:00 PM
Though seemingly an effort at snark and sarcasm, the title of this blog post makes an important claim, which is that owners of manufactured homes are very much homeowners. Yet, in many cases, they aren’t seen that way, and more troubling still is that they don’t often reap the benefits of homeownership that owners of site-built homes do. For a family living in a home in Unadilla, New York, their homeownership didn’t translate into any ability to beautify their community, despite ownership, because they didn’t own the land on which their house was situated. This became an immense problem given the dangerous conditions created by an abandoned home that sat just next door no more than a few yards away.
Their solution: cooperative resident ownership of the community, and the land, on which their home sat.
Resident ownership of manufactured home communities is becoming more and more popular, with resident ownership being the prevailing model in hundreds of communities across the country. As Paul Bradley and George McCarthy argue in the latest edition of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, resident ownership is a critical asset-building strategy for owners of manufactured homes because it gives control to the homeowners over things like beautification projects. Just in the same way that paying HOA fees gives owners of condos the ability to request certain services, so too does cooperative ownership guarantee owners of manufactured homes certain rights than can, in many instances, bolster the value of their homes.
This and other asset-building topics will be the focus of conversation at the forum we’re hosting next week with Democracy. Please join us on Tuesday, November 27 from 9 – 10:30 am at our National Headquarters. Speakers will include Andrea Levere (President, CFED), Ray Boshara (Senior Advisor and Community Development Policy Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), James Carr (Fellow, Insight Center for Community Economic Development) and Sarah Rosen Wartell (President, Urban Institute). The event will be moderated by Jim Tankersley (Economics Correspondent, National Journal).
Asset Building Panels at APPAM Research Conference
By Ethan Geiling on 11/06/2012 @ 01:00 PM
This week is the The Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) 2012 Fall Research Conference. APPAM will again include a number of panels and papers that highlight new asset-based research that directly inform policy and practice. For the past three years, the Building Wealth over a Lifetime steering committee has worked to promote more asset-related research and to build a network of inter-disciplinary researchers interested in asset building questions.
The following panels and papers will be presented at the 2012 APPAM Fall Research Conference, November 8-10, 2012, in Baltimore, MD. We hope you can join!
ASSET BUILDING PANELS
Thursday, November 8, 2012: 1:15 PM-2:45 PM Pratt B (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel) Building Policy Solutions to Address Wealth Gaps
Thursday, November 8, 2012: 1:15 PM-2:45 PM International E (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel) Public Policy Implications of Consumer and Other Debt On Individual Health and Well-Being
Thursday, November 8, 2012: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM Salon D (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel) Exploring Public Policy Options for Debt Relief: Foreclosure Moratoria, Bankruptcy, and Principal Forgiveness
Friday, November 9, 2012: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel) Tax Time’s Golden Opportunity: How Policy Can Leverage Tax Time to Bolster Savings
Saturday, November 10, 2012: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel) Financial Capability and Public Policy
Saturday, November 10, 2012: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM Salon B (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel) Preserving Individual and Community Assets In Times of Financial Hardship
Saturday, November 10, 2012: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM Preston (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel) Child Development Accounts As a Response to Economic Inequality: An Effective and Sustainable Policy Strategy?
Saturday, November 10, 2012: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM International C (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel) Wealth Loss and Recovery During the Great Recession
Click here to download the full list of panels.
The Poor Can Save, Too
Conventional wisdom suggests that lower-income people are financially irresponsible and lack the skills needed to build savings and make more stable economic futures for themselves and their families. That assumption, however, misses the mark and fails to consider the immense number of demonstrations that have proven that, when given the tools needed, low-income people can and do save.
This is the argument that frames “The Poor Can Save, Too,” an essay in Democracy by Bob Friedman, Ying Shi and Sarah Rosen Wartell in the latest edition’s symposium, The Forgotten 40 Percent. In their essay, Friedman, Shi and Wartell survey research showing that with even a small hand up in the form of matched savings, families who make as little as $18,000 annually can accumulate roughly $600 per year. This amount, though modest, is enough for families to weather a financial emergency, pay for supplies for their children’s education, or, in the longer term, put a downpayment on a house.
Thus, asset-based strategies, especially those focused on saving, are essential for creating opportunity. Yet, how best to implement these strategies is the topic of much debate, and much work remains in how best to make the case to lawmakers for these strategies.
These issues and more will be the focus of an upcoming conversation with experts that we’re hosting and facilitating in collaboration with the editors of Democracy. Join us on Tuesday, November 27 from 9 – 10:30 am at CFED’s National Office. At this free event, some of the best minds in economic mobility and wealth creation will come together and argue Washington’s top post-election priorities should be to restore American opportunity. Speakers will include Andrea Levere (President, CFED), Ray Boshara (Senior Advisor and Community Development Policy Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), James Carr (Fellow, Insight Center for Community Economic Development) and Sarah Rosen Wartell (President, Urban Institute). The event will be moderated by Jim Tankersley (Economics Correspondent, National Journal).
Participation at this event is free and includes breakfast, but advanced RSVP is required. Click here to RSVP.
Reflections on CFED’s 2012 I’M HOME Retreat
By Susan Bond on 10/15/2012 @ 03:30 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Next Step Blog. Special thanks to Susan Bond and her team for joining us in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for the 2012 I'M HOME Retreat!
Next Step is back from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and CFED’s I’M HOME Retreat, held on October 3-5, 2012. The event was full of presentations, panel discussions and break-out groups that spoke to the success and opportunity, as well as the challenges, for nonprofits and other organizations using factory-built housing as part of an asset-building strategy.
We began the retreat with a full morning of training on Wednesday with current and prospective Next Step Network Members.
Then during lunch, Network Members joined ROC USA’s CTAPs for a joint training session and a celebration of the first Next Step Home in a ROC community in Red Lodge, Montana. ROC USA and Next Step leverage their networks to work together in addressing development and manufactured housing community preservation using factory-built housing. ROC USA helps residents of manufactured home communities convert their communities to cooperative ownership, which gives residents control over rent costs and helps foster leadership and community.
In the afternoon, everyone visited two manufactured home communities of the 100 that have been converted to cooperative ownership thanks to the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The New Hampshire Loan company has been transforming communities to cooperative ownership since its launch in 1983. We met with several community volunteers and cooperative members that presented their work in bridging local government policies and resources to meet the needs of community members. One example was a faulty water infrastructure that caused the residents $30,000 extra in water bills each year. The government helped to provide grant money to help fix the pipes. Another great example was the president of one cooperative who used his community connections to convince a large number of residents to participate in a retrofit program to increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
At the conference we all shared victories throughout the last year. Each organization accomplished major goals, whether through policy, building new homes or granting cooperative ownership. By sharing a common goal, each of our groups become one part of the puzzle that helps paint the bigger picture for communities we serve. Later that evening during dinner at Portsmouth Gas Light Co., CFED presented Lois Parris the Annual Leadership Award as an individual that has worked tirelessly to advance this common goal. Lois is the President of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA), which promotes, represents, preserves, and enhances the rights and interests of manufactured homeowners throughout the United States.
Next Step ended the retreat with our partners and Network Members at the Portsmouth Brewery Thursday evening. It was immensely gratifying to connect (over a delicious meal) with so many outstanding individuals from organizations that make the work we’re doing possible. By working together on a national scale and sharing this work at the I’M HOME Retreat, our partnerships were solidified in a way that reinforced our passion and interconnectedness, giving us an opportunity to brainstorm and pave a new path toward future aims for the next year.
Live Blog: Vice Presidential Debate
By Sean Luechtefeld on 10/11/2012 @ 09:00 PM
Sean Luechtefeld (10:34 pm): Martha Raddatz sums it up best: no matter what, go vote. We'll see y'all back here next week on Tuesday night for the second presidential debate.
Kristin Lawton (10:30 pm): All the forgotten 40 percent (47 percent?) wants is a fair shake. Both candidates genuinely care. But we've got to identify the right way forward to ensure financial security for everyone. As President Bartlet would say, "What's next?"
Sean Luechtefeld (10:27 pm): Two million children could get kicked off early education programs? Sounds like a reason to support children's savings programs.
Sean Luechtefeld (10:22 pm): We're so quick to lament negativity during election cycles, but many would argue that negativity is actually good because it requires the attacker to marshal higher-quality evidence. That's the real takeaway here, folks: we need to make sure that the ways we justify policies - regardless of ideological bend - are thoughtful and thorough.
Sean Luechtefeld (10:18 pm): This question about the role of religion is an interesting one. Though often a target of criticism, faith-based organizations do some of the most innovative work to end poverty and bring all Americans into the financial mainstream. Take, for example, our colleagues at Catholic Charities USA. They're sounding the call for comprehensive anti-poverty programs. Did you join us for the Poverty Summit?
Jeremie Greer (10:11 pm): When the troops come home, they'll need support to build wealth and achieve financial secirity. Guest Contributor June Olsen's April blog post highlights the importance of supporting higher education oppotunities to veterans.
Sean Luechtefeld (10:06 pm): Look, I'm not saying Afghanistan isn't important, but assets matter, too. Here's why.
Lebaron Sims (10:03 pm via Twitter): The discussion on #jobs and #smallbiz was too brief. Where is the jobs plan, especially for the poor and long-term unemployed? #vpdebate
Lebaron Sims (10:00 pm via Twitter): We need to make healthcare #affordable. Let's hear how we're actually going to make that happen. #vpdebate
Jeremie Greer (9:56 pm): Details don't matter? The details matter when we are talking about tax credits and deductions. Let's not touch credits that affect low- and moderate-income familes like the Saver's Credit, Erned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit
Anne Kim (9:53 pm): A few tidbits from the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard as context:
- Median net wealth in Ohio, Rep. Ryan's home state: $60,963
- Median net wealth in Delaware, VP Biden's home state: $163,148
- Median net worth, US: $70,600
Jeremie Greer (9:51 pm): As one example of a way to support self-employed small business owners and low-income entrepreneurs, we can improve their access to money-saving tax credits like EITC and CTC. Read more in our VITA Value Proposition.
Sean Luechtefeld (9:48 pm): It only took 49 minutes for someone to talk about small business. Fact is, self-employment comprises the majority of small businesses, and small businesses are now responsible for all net jobs that are created in the US. Ways we can help these businesses prosper can be read in our Self-Employment Tax Initiative report.
Jeremie Greer (9:47 pm): Both candidates are quick to talk about what the middle class can look forward to in retirement. What scares me, though, is that so few people have the money (or the assets) they need to retire.
Kristin Lawton (9:45 pm): One place where Raddatz falls short is in asking the candidates for a simple answer. As Andrea Levere always says - and as all of us at CFED can attest - complicated problems require complicated solutions.
Jeremie Greer (9:42 pm): Speaking of weathering the storm, I hope another debate does not go by without a serious discussion about how we address the forclosure crisis. See one solution from CFED in our report, Weathering the Storm.
Kristin Lawton (9:40 pm): Finally, a nod to emergency savings. Folks across this country aren't able to weather a financial emergency because there's no nest egg or safety net in place. Let's focus on how to reverse that trend.
Sean Luechtefeld (9:38 pm): Food for thought: is health care an asset? What do you think? Discuss below.
Anne Kim (9:35 pm): Since "facts" are being called into question tonight, check out the truth about the real state of American households in CFED's Assets & Opportunity Scorecard.
Kristin Lawton (9:30 pm): According to recent research from Pew, voters' prioritiess are the economy first, jobs second and health care third. I'm relieved that we're starting to focus there. Learn more here.
Anne Kim (9:29 pm): The moment we've been waiting for - a debate on the "47 percent." Buckle up, everyone.
Kristin Lawton (9:25 pm): Biden hits the nail on the head when he argues that our tax policies make it easy for the rich and impossible for lower-income families. As Bob Friedman always says, our current tax policies reward the rich, miss the middle and penalize the poor. Read more in Upside Down.
Sean Luechtefeld (9:21 pm): To Andy's comment below, I would say that there are certainly problems in our political system. But, it's also dangerous to believe that we can't affect change in a broken system. Instead, we simply need to be more diligent. And, there are ways.
Sean Luechtefeld (9:18 pm): I'm ready to confirm my earlier suspicion: Raddatz is doing a great job moderating. Stark contrast to the last debate, indeed.
Sean Luechtefeld (9:11 pm): Vice President Biden says that when there are crises, the US comes together as a unified body. We believe this shouldn't just apply to international emergencies, though. Millions of Americans are living in or on the brink of crisis; when will we come together to stand together domestically?
Kristin Lawton (9:06 pm): Not to leave Ryan out, it looks like his biggest fan is giving him some motivation tonight. From Twitter: "Great pep talk from one of my most trusted advisors. pic.twitter.com/liskM5a5"
Sean Luechtefeld (9:03 pm): Fun fact: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky is the alma mater of CFED Receptionist Zach Ford!
Sean Luechtefeld (9:02 pm): I'm pretty sure Martha Raddatz will do a great job moderating tonight's debate.
Sean Luechtefeld (8:58 pm): Gearing up! The debate will start in two minutes. Make sure you use the Comments below to throw in your feedback, and let us know how you think Biden and Ryan are doing when it comes to promoting a comprehensive assets agenda.
Kristin Lawton (8:56 pm): Even Vice President Biden is Tweeting: "Barack and I are in this because we'll never stop fighting for you. You’ll see that tonight. -Joe"
Katherine Lucas McKay (8:38 pm via Twitter): I'm sad to be missing tonight's VP debate. Biden led the Middle Class Task Force which focused on savings and economic mobility for years
Promising Pathways to Wealth-Building Financial Services
By Sean Luechtefeld on 10/08/2012 @ 10:30 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: CFED's Chief Program Officer, Ida Rademacher, will be speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' event, October 25-26. Details of the event are provided below.
Thursday & Friday, October 25 & 26, 2012 | St. Louis, MO
The growing and dizzying array of financial-services providers, products and distribution channels often leave underbanked consumers and their advocates perplexed: Should they use traditional banks and credit unions? "Bank On" campaigns? Prepaid cards? Retailers (e.g., Walmart and Target)? Direct deposit? The internet? Cell phones and other mobile devices? Some combination thereof? How should they handle government benefits payments, which are increasingly electronic? And what about during tax time, when receiving a refund?
This financial access forum is designed to help communities and practitioners make informed choices about promising pathways for underbanked households to connect to wealth-building financial services. The ultimate goal is to help underbanked consumers build a healthy balance sheet.
Key questions to be explored:
- What do we know about underbanked consumers?
- What financial products exist to meet their needs?
- Through what channels are these products distributed?
Participants will hear from some of the nation’s leading experts, industry representatives and on-the-ground providers of financial services focused on unbanked, underbanked and unhappily banked consumers. To facilitate discussion and share practical advice, a series of roundtables with local and national experts will also be offered on key forum topics. Finally, while not a policy forum, policy barriers and opportunities will also be captured and discussed.
A nominal cost of $100 per participant is required for attendance. Early registration is encouraged, and advance registration is required by Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.
Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and Center for Financial Services Innovation.
Join Us Tonight as We Blog the First Presidential Debate
By Sean Luechtefeld on 10/03/2012 @ 11:00 AM
Planning to watch the first presidential debate this evening between President Obama and Governor Romney? Us too! Join my colleagues and me as we live blog the event and provide commentary on what each candidate’s stance on the economy means for the assets field.
Tonight at 9 pm EDT, visit our blog homepage as experts from across CFED initiatives weigh in on what the debates – and the election generally – mean for our field in the coming years. In addition to our observations, we hope you’ll participate, too. You can click on the Comments link below to leave your observations or ask us questions.
We hope you’ll join us and add your voice to the conversation this evening from 9 – 10:30 pm EDT. For more information, check your local listings.
New Webinar: Boosting Participant Retention in a Sluggish Economy
By Jimmy Crowell on 09/06/2012 @ 11:30 AM
Tuesday, September 11, 3:30-4:30 pm EDT / 12:30-1:30 pm PDT
The recession has impacted AFI programs across the country in many ways, including fundraising, participant recruitment, participant retention, and asset purchase completion. This webinar will focus on AFI participant retention. We will explore ways to bolster program success in: finding AFI participants with earned income; ensuring that AFI participants have credit scores and sufficient income to facilitate successful asset purchase completion; retaining AFI participants who have lost a job, had a medical emergency, or are struggling with maintaining secure housing; helping prevent emergency withdrawals from the AFI program.
There are strategies that successful AFI grantees use to retain AFI participants. We will explore these and illustrate their usefulness in running and completing a successful AFI program.
The hour-long webinar will cover:
- Useful strategies and tactics for increasing participant retention.
- Best practices from two AFI grantees with above average retention rates.
- Major causes of attrition and how to minimize them.
- Understanding and mitigating attrition’s negative impacts on successful grant completion and potential future grant funding.
- Kate Griffin, AFI Resource Center (moderator)
- Amy Shir, AFI Resource Center
- Martha Wunderli, State Director, Utah IDA Network; AAA Fair Credit Foundation
- Vickie Johnson, Economic Justice Coordinator, Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.
Click here to register now! The webinar is free to all interested participants. In advance of the webinar, please send any questions you would like our panelists to address during the session to Kate Griffin, or call 202.207.0117.
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