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Sep 14, 2016

Major D.C. Conference Will Highlight Nationwide Efforts to Close the Wealth Gap and Create an Opportunity Economy

Event to Include Release of Federal Policy Blueprint Calling on the New President and Congress to Address Wealth Inequality


WHAT: 2016 Assets Learning Conference,sponsored by CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development)

WHEN: Wednesday, September 28 - Friday, September 30, 2016

WHERE: Marriott Marquis Hotel | 901 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Washington, D.C. - More than 1,200 advocates, policymakers, academics and others will gather in Washington, D.C., September 28-30 to discuss national, state and local efforts to address growing wealth inequality and help all families achieve economic opportunity. The 2016 Assets Learning Conference will include the release of a federal policy blueprint detailing specific actions the next President and Congress can take to help close the wealth gap.

The biennial conference, the largest gathering of its kind, includes 90 sessions on subjects ranging from addressing the racial wealth divide to helping children and families save for college. Featured speakers include Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service; the Reverend Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, and actor and activist Anna Deavere Smith.

Reporters, editors and producers may find the following list of session highlights a useful guide. (For the complete conference agenda, click here.):

  • The State of the Field 2016: Reclaiming Hope, Wednesday, September 28, 9-10:30 a.m. CFED President Andrea Levere will discuss trends in the asset-building field and the release of the federal policy blueprint on addressing wealth inequality. Koskinen also will speak at this session.
  • From Grassroots to Government: Changemaking for Economic Opportunity, Thursday, September 29, 8:30-10 a.m. This session will include insights from the Reverend Wilson about how change has unfolded in the St. Louis area since the death of Michael Brown, including what can be learned from local efforts to increase economic opportunity, rebuild and heal the community.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Racial Wealth Divide: Challenges and Opportunities for Black-Owned Business in the South, Thursday, September 29, 10:15-11:45 a.m. Cash flow is a particular challenge for low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs, particularly African-American entrepreneurs in the South. This session highlights new research based on in-depth interviews with African-American entrepreneurs and practitioners in southern states, and will explore programs and policies that could help entrepreneurs achieve financial security through business ownership.This is one of several sessions that will look at efforts to address the racial wealth gap.
  • Our Voices, Our Democracy, Thursday, September 29, noon-1:30 p.m. Cordray will speak about the impact of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's work to promote financial well-being for consumers and the direction of that work in the coming years.
  • What's Next for the CFPB? Regulatory and Research Priorities for the Bureau's Next Two Years, Friday, September 30, 10:15-11:30 a.m. This session will take a deeper dive into CFPB's upcoming efforts to protect consumers from predatory and abusive lending practices and discuss the challenges and regulatory priorities ahead. Speakers include Michael Barr, former assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Department of Treasury, and Daniel Dodd-Ramirez, assistant director of financial empowerment in CFPB's Consumer Education and Engagement Division.
  • The Price of Hope, Friday, September 30, 2016, 1-2:30 p.m. This plenary will feature a performance and remarks by actor Anna Deavere Smith, whose recent efforts to document the "poverty to prison" pipeline underscore the urgent need to create pathways to prosperity for all children and families.

The conference also will include discussions about new and upcoming research in areas such as the effectiveness of financial capability programs for young workers and children, and innovative approaches to improving financial behavior.

To register, please contact Sean Luechtefeld at There is no cost for media to attend the conference.


CFED's work makes it possible for millions of people to achieve financial security and contribute to an opportunity economy. We scale innovative practical solutions that empower low- and moderate-income people to build wealth. We drive responsive policy change at all levels of government. We support the efforts of community leaders across the country to advance economic opportunity for all. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, D.C.; Durham, North Carolina, and San Francisco, California.

Copyright © 2017 CFED Corporation for Enterprise Development 1200 G Street, NW Suite 400 Washington, DC 20005 202.408.9788

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