CFED Newsletter: June 2012
CFED is excited to announce that Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker will deliver a keynote address at the 2012 Assets Learning Conference, which takes place September 19-21, 2012. Mayor Booker’s invitation to speak at the ALC signifies CFED’s recognition of the many contributions that he and the City of Newark have made to municipal asset building, and we could not be more thrilled to welcome him to Washington in September.
Among the innovations that lifted the City of Newark up as a model for how cities can integrate asset building into municipal programs is a Financial Helpline. This initiative brings volunteers with backgrounds in finance into the City’s 3-1-1 call center to answer callers’ questions about financial planning and personal finance at no cost.
As another example, Mayor Booker has spearheaded several efforts to improve financial access for the City’s residents. Currently, Newark operates a number of financial empowerment centers which provide free tax preparation services, financial education and eligibility assistance for a variety of public services. In addition, the Mayor’s Office houses Bank On Newark, an initiative designed to connect low-income families with first-time or second-chance transaction accounts, and Newark is also one of four cities participating in the scaling of New York City’s innovative $aveNYC account program.
In short, Mayor Booker’s work proves that cities can be fertile ground for cultivating programs that create pathways to financial security and opportunity, and we are incredibly excited for him to share that work with the field at this year’s Assets Learning Conference. To find out more about the Conference or to register, please visit www.assetsconference.org.
Thanks in part to the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Sam's Club Giving Program, CFED’s Self-Employment Tax Initiative (SETI) Team released a report this week justifying the expansion of free tax assistance programs to include low-income entrepreneurs. The report, available for download here, argues that tax time is a crucial opportunity for low-income entrepreneurs to formalize their businesses, thereby minimizing risk and gaining access to money-saving tax credits.
Whereas Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites have done an incredible job helping individual filers save money by providing low- or no-cost tax preparation services, VITA sites have historically only been empowered to file Form 1040 and its many variations. SETI has sought to change that by working with partners to execute the Schedule C VITA Pilot. Data from the Pilot suggest that VITA sites are well-equipped to help self-employed people file Schedule C or C-EZ forms, and that the value of doing so is immense because it not only helps entrepreneurs avoid costly commercial tax preparers, but it can also help them formalize their businesses which circumvents future profit loss because they don’t run the risk of having to back pay their taxes.
Especially given the national conversation about the critical nature of finding unique and innovative ways of creating jobs, the self-employment tax strategy fills an important gap that exists regarding how we connect low-income individuals with the tools they need to build assets and accumulate wealth. Given how important microbusinesses have been in leading people out of asset poverty, the case must be made for entrepreneurship support. This report aims to do exactly that, so please take a moment to download and read it today.
As CFED President Andrea Levere reported to the Board of Directors in April, 2012 has brought some of the most brisk winds of change the organization has experienced in its history. One of the core elements of these changes has involved a re-thinking of CFED’s organizational structure, which was successfully implemented at the beginning of last month. As many of our readers know, Carl Rist’s appointment as Executive Director of CFED’s newest social enterprise, The 1:1 Fund, created a gap in our Leadership Team that offered an opportunity to reflect on the most effective ways to structure our operations.
As Andrea and the Leadership Team assessed the options it became clear that, whatever structure was adopted, it needed to reinforce the efficiency and nimbleness required to navigate a quickly changing external landscape, yet heighten the internal collaboration and integration central to our ability to fulfill our ambitious new strategic plan. Ultimately, a structure was chosen that we believe accomplishes both. Our Programs Team and our Policy & Research Team have been combined into one unit. On May 1, our Vice President for Policy & Research, Ida Rademacher, was appointed Chief Program Officer to provide leadership and vision to this new team.
As the breadth and complexity of our work expands from asset building to a wider spectrum of financial inclusion and asset-building innovations, the Leadership Team has necessarily assumed increased levels of strategic and managerial accountability. We have moved to an “all-Chiefs” suite which reflects that greater responsibility – and has the added benefit of simplicity. These changes were also effective May 1. Our new Leadership Team includes Andrea Levere, President; Adnan Bokhari, Chief Financial Officer; Liz Coit, Chief Development Officer; Joanne Irby, Chief Operating Officer; Kim Pate, Chief External Relations Officer; Ida Rademacher, Chief Program Officer; and Carl Rist, Executive Director of The 1:1 Fund.
To be sure, these changes have far deeper meaning than just what our titles are. We’re excited about the ways our new structure will enhance our ability to innovate, integrate and scale proven strategies that build financial security and economic opportunity in the communities we care so deeply about.
CFED wishes to extend its deep gratitude to the organizations below for their generous support of the 2012 Assets Learning Conference. Thanks to their support, a number of scholarships have been made available so that more voices can convene this September in Washington. If you are interested in more information about scholarships, please send an email to Kim Pate, Conference Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | 2:30 – 4:00 pm EST