Asset Funders Network Newsletter
In This Issue
Asset Building News and Information
Upcoming Events: Open to All
Upcoming Events: Funders Only
Events Recap
Quick Links
AFN Steering Committee

Amanda Feinstein

Walter and Elise Haas Fund


Annika Little

Bank of America


Steering Committee

    Dana Pancrazi   

F.B. Heron Foundation

Kilolo Kijakazi

Ford Foundation


Merle Lawrence
Levi Strauss Foundation


Benita Melton

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation


Laura Sparks 

Citi Foundation

K. Sujata

Chicago Foundation for Women 

Angelo Williams

W.K. Kellogg Foundation 

Join Our Mailing List

AFN Congratulates Irene Skricki on New Role with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


AFN is sad to say goodbye to long-time friend and founding AFN steering committee member, Irene Skricki formerly of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. But, we are delighted to announce her new role with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We wish Irene the best in her new position. Congrats, Irene! 


Learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Asset Building News and Information
United Nations to Launch International Year of Cooperatives 2012

United Nations


United Nations will launch the International Year of Cooperatives at the UN General Assembly Hall on Monday, October 31st, 2011.  


The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, in particular recognizing their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.


Goals of the International Year of Cooperatives             

  • Increase public awareness about cooperatives and their contributions to socio-economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. 
  • Promote the formation and growth of cooperatives
  • Encourage Governments to establish policies, laws and regulations conducive to the formation, growth and stability of cooperatives

Learn more about the United Nations and the International Year of Cooperatives.  

Dodd-Frank A Year Later
: Has Financial Reform Made Us Safer Yet?

The Brookings Institution
Douglas J. Elliott, Fellow, Economic Studies, Initiative on Business and Public Policy

July 19th, 2011


Last July, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, the most far-reaching reform of financial regulation in this country since the Great Depression. A year later, I am often asked if we are any safer now. The short answer is: not much at this point, but we will be. Some helpful reforms have already been implemented, however it will take longer for the most important changes to be put into place through binding rules.


Read entire blog post here.
Learn more about the Brookings Institution.
Taking Asset Building and Earnings Incentives to Scale in HUD-Assisted Rental Housing  


New America Foundation 

Reid Cramer, New America Foundation

Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy  


July 2011


In the United States, housing assistance is not an entitlement. Despite annual federal expenditures in excess of $30 billion for housing subsidies distributed to roughly 4.8 million households, millions of eligible families with low incomes and high housing costs do not receive any support. Some families have applied for assistance from their local housing authorities but must wait for their names to come to the top of the list; others have not applied but may pay large shares of their income for rent, reducing available funds for basic necessities, such as food and health care. To ensure that our limited federal housing resources are available to assist as many families as possible, we should be actively searching for innovative ways to encourage existing subsidy recipients to build assets and make progress toward economic security. By helping families take advantage of the stability that federally-subsidized housing provides as a foundation for income and asset growth, we can free up existing housing subsidies for other families in need.


Read full report. 

Learn more about the New America Foundation and Center for Housing Policy.   


National Public Radio Segment: Study Shows Racial Wealth Gap Widening  


National Public Radio and Pew Research Center 

July 26th, 2011


There's long been a big gap between the wealth of white families and the wealth of African-Americans and Hispanics. But the Great Recession has made it much worse - the divide is almost twice what it used to be.

That's according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, which says that the decline in the housing market is the main cause.


Listen to NPR Morning Edition full segment.    


Automatic IRAs and Retirement Security     


Urban Institute

Barbara Butrica, senior research associate at the Income and Benefits Policy Center   


July 28th, 2011 


Barbara Butrica explains the reasons why many older Americans aren't financially prepared for retirement, how establishing automatic IRAs can help, and other measures policymakers can take to improve retirement security for their constituents.  


Watch video clip.  

Learn more about the Urban Institute and its Income and Benefits Policy Center.  


Exploring the Relationship Between Asset Holding and Family Economic Strain


New America Foundation

David W. Rothwell and Anna Goren, McGill University 


July 2011 


A recent Gallup Poll captured the social zeitgeist of an America attempting to emerge from the 2008 Great Recession. The nationally representative survey showed that feelings of psychological distress such as worry, anger, and depression increased with the duration of joblessness. Less than 40 percent of those who had been searching for a job for at least 11 weeks rated their lives as 'thriving', while most unemployed Americans expected that they would have to settle for a job that they did not want. These feelings are pervasive in the country with the unemployment rate having reached 9.6 percent in 2010, the highest annual rate since 9.7 percent in 1982. Well beyond its onset, it is clear that the Great Recession has taken a severe and extensive toll on American families. This toll is likely to be especially hard felt for families who already scrape-by on limited earnings and are more likely to work in temporary, part-time, and unstable jobs.  


Read full report. 

Learn more about New America Foundation and McGill University.   


KIPP, UNCF and CFED Launch Partnership for College Completion  

Citi and Citi Foundation provide $7.5 million anchor investment for innovative program  


CFED Press Release

June 22, 2011


WASHINGTON - Three leading education and asset-building nonprofits-KIPP, UNCF and CFED-have teamed up to launch the Partnership for College Completion (PCC). PCC is the first college completion initiative to combine several key elements into one comprehensive program: incentivized savings accounts, financial and college-readiness education, and scholarship assistance.


Anchored by an initial $7.5 million investment from Citi and the Citi Foundation, PCC aims to address a growing and urgent problem in American education. In the U.S. today, only eight percent of students from low-income communities have completed college by their mid-20s. While America is first in the world in the percentage of adults age 55 to 65 with a two- or four-year degree, our ranking drops to eighth among 25- to 34-year-olds.


Read full press release.  

Learn more about the Partnership for College Completion.   


EARN Launches A Public Forum for Student Loan Borrowers to Join the National Conversation on the Growing Education Debt Crisis  


EARN Press Release 

June 29th, 2011  


SAN FRANCISCO - EARN, the nation's leading provider of microsavings, is launching to provide a nonpartisan public forum for student loan borrowers to join the national conversation on the growing education debt crisis.


Access to higher education is now in jeopardy. Education debt has now surpassed the nation's credit card debt, and it's expected to top one trillion dollars this year. Many people fear that college debt will be the next economic crisis in the US. As college costs continue to rise, students are taking out even more loans and then struggling for years or decades to pay them back.


"EARN cares deeply about preserving the promise of education for everyone, so we believe student debt should lead to opportunities for future economic success - not stand in the way of success," says EARN President and CEO Ben Mangan. "EARN created My Debt Story because the national debate on education debt is missing the most important voices of all: student borrowers themselves."


Read full press release.

Learn more about


Marin County's Growing Education Debt Problem 


EARN Research Institute  

Sheryl Lane, MS

William Lapp, PhD

Ben Magan, MPP

Javier Oliver 


March 2011  


The promise of higher education as the equalizer of socio-economic status is being compromised by the debilitating debt that increasingly accompanies higher education. This EARN Research Institute report offers compelling new data on the landscape of education debt as it relates to economic mobility and offers tangible policy recommendations to leaders at the local, state, and federal level.  


Download full report.  

Learn more about  EARN.   


Disparities in Assets and Ownership: Limitations to the American Dream in Communities of Color


Illinois Asset Building Group

March 2011


Millions of Illinois families pursue the American Dream each year, reaching for a more successful and prosperous future. However, this dream fails to become a reality for many Illinois families, particularly households of color. The data is clear - there are staggering disparities in wealth between communities of color and whites in Illinois. Limitations in access to reasonable credit, secure financial savings accounts and educational opportunities leave many communities of color deprived of assets necessary to build wealth and financial security.


Download full report.

Learn more about the Illinois Asset Building Group. 

Upcoming Events - Open to All 


The California Bipartisan Legislative Select Committee on Financial Empowerment - Informational Hearing and Community Financial Fair


Strategies to Help Working Families Thrive During Tough Economic Times


August 18th, 2011 

3:00-5:30pm - Informational Hearing  

5:30- 7:00pm - Community Financial Fair    

City Hall
7100 S. Garfield Avenue

Bell Gardens, CA


Americans are facing major financial challenges at a time when elected public officials are dealing with record budget gaps and cutting back on public services. For vulnerable families, financial hardship is magnified by job insecurity and volatile family incomes. In fact, an estimated thirty percent of Californians lack enough savings to get by for three months in the event of a job loss. Millions more lack basic financial products and services making it difficult to save, expensive to cash paychecks and pay bills, and challenging to keep money safe.  


Join the California Legislative Select Committee on Financial Empowerment and the New America Foundation for this timely discussion. The informational hearing will be followed by a community financial fair.


Check out the informational hearing agenda


To RSVP or for questions, contact Luis Sanchez at or (916) 319-2050.


Social Capital Markets Conference


SOCAP 2011


September 6-9th, 2011  

Fort Mason Center 

San Francisco, CA 


What does Money + Meaning = ? Join us in San Francisco for 3 full days to explore the answers through pitch sessions, interactive workshops, art stands, open space sessions and more!   


View preliminary schedule.

Learn more about SOCAP and register.    


2011 Pathways to Prosperity Conference 


Regional Financial Education and Asset-Building Conference 


October 17th-18th, 2011 

Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center 
4700 Emperor Blvd.
Durham, NC 27703


Join us for the 2011 Pathways to Prosperity Conference on Asset-Building and Financial Education. The conference goals are to:

  • share innovations and vision in research and policy, showcasing best practices in the asset-building field.
  • better understand what the Great Recession has meant for poverty alleviation and wealth creation, the challenges that this presents for low-income people, and the gap in wealth between low- and high-income households.
  • better understand and address the impact of changes in consumer financial reform, including the criteria to qualify for debt and the impact that has on economic security.
  • connect diverse community leaders, and to provide skills and tools for practitioners in the asset-building field.  

Join with colleagues from the region and experts from across the country to learn how to develop a new  picture of prosperity for your organization and your community.    


During the event you will have over 20 breakout sessions to choose from, and the opportunity to hear keynote addresses from these outstanding leaders in our field:
  • Jennifer Tescher, President and CEO, Center for Financial Services Innovation
  • Jose Cisneros, Treasurer, City and County of San Francisco

Find out more about the conference and register.  

Learn more about The Collaborative. 


2011 Southern Regional Asset-Building Coalition Conference  


Closing the Wealth Gap: Building Family and Community Economic Success  


October 20th-21st, 2011

Grand Marriott Hotel and Spa Resort
One Grand Boulevard
Point Clear, AL 36564      


The purpose of the SRABC conference is to bring together organizations whose work is dedicated to building the assets of low-income families and communities. The conference design is to educate, inform, showcase, and illuminate issues, barriers, and successes of asset development strategies in the southeast region and across the country.  


Learn more about the conference and register. 

Learn more about the SRABC.  

Upcoming Events - Funders Only

Alliance for Justice Webinar 


Essentials Webinar Series #3:  

Foundation Funding of Advocacy


September 21st, 2011

11:00am PST/2:00pm EST


Note: This webinar is specifically targeted to funders but is open to the public.

This one-hour online session begins at 2:00 p.m. (E/T) and discusses advocacy from a funder's perspective.  It begins with a discussion of foundation support of advocacy, the practical and political concerns of foundations, and the importance of supporting advocacy.  In addition, this session discusses the legal rules governing private and community foundation support for lobbying and election-related advocacy, general support grants and project grants, and describes grant language that foundations can adopt to comply with these rules.


Registration fee: $35.00

Register here. 

Learn more about Alliance for Justice. 


Open Society Foundation Webinar for Funders


Saving Homes, Building Better Futures in Communities of Color: A Strategic Conversation for Philanthropy 

September 22nd, 2011
9:30am -11:30am PST/ 12:30 -2:30pm EST

Mark your calendar!
This meeting is for funders only, thank you.

Please join the Open Society Foundations for an important and timely discussion on the impact of recent cuts in housing counseling funding on communities of color and emerging strategies to ensure that these cuts  do not widen the country's growing racial wealth gap. 

The webinar will address the unique role that housing counseling services play in the financial health of communities of color and provide an opportunity for you to share your strategic thinking on the future of housing counseling in light of our nation's current economic outlook.

The funder webinar is being organized in partnership with three of the nation's leading intermediaries that support grassroots efforts to improve housing choice and wealth-building opportunities in low-income communities of color:  the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Urban League.  These three organizations came together in 2009 with support from the Bank of America to create the Alliance for Stabilizing Our Communities (ASOC), a multiracial coalition focused on supporting culturally and linguistically appropriate foreclosure mitigation efforts.  ASOC draws its strength from the 108 housing counseling organizations that are part of its member organization's networks and who collectively serve over 115,000 families a year. 


With your help, we can turn this setback into an opportunity to forge partnerships and shared investment in communities of color by the nonprofit, private, and philanthropic sector.

Please review webinar draft agenda.


To register for the webinar or for more information, please contact Lorraine Ramirez at  


Bay Area Asset Funders Network  

Quarterly Member Meeting 


September 30th, 2011 

Networking Lunch: 11:30 am - 12:00 pm PST

Meeting: 12:00 -2:00 pm PST  



Oakland, CA 


Please mark your calendar!   

This meeting is for funders only, thank you  


Please check out the Bay Area AFN webpages for meeting details with registration information to be posted shortly. 


Contact Heather McCulloch, Bay Area AFN Manager, as if you have any questions.   


Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce Meeting


Moving Forward in the States: Proactive Organizing and Communications Strategies 


Dinner Program: October 3rd, 6:00-8:30pm  

Meeting: October 4th, 9:00-5:00pm and October 5th, 9:00-12:00pm  


Public Welfare Foundation
True Reformer Building
Lankford Auditorium
1200 U Street, NW


This meeting is free of charge and open to foundation representatives and philanthropic advisors only.


Please join us to network with colleagues and: 

  • Compare several potential strategies to alleviating poverty, including in rural states;
  • Determine how best to apply the lessons from recent successes on paid sick leave and minimum wage; and
  • Explore framing of messages to defend the role of government in helping lower income families.
A dinner program with Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will be offered on Monday, October 3 from 6:00-8:30pm. 


Register for conference here.

Find out more about GIST.  


Asset Funders Network  

Thought Leader Panel and Member Meeting 


Meeting invite to follow. 

Meeting will be held in mid-November.

This meeting is for funders only, thank you!  


Find out more about the Asset Funders Network.   

Events Recap

New America Foundation   


Rebuilding the Road to Financial Stability  

Understanding and Addressing the Savings and Credit Needs of Lower-Income Americans  


June 29th, 2011

Washington, DC  


Please click here for event overview and video clips.  


Bay Area AFN Member Meeting


Federal and State Support for Asset Building - Emerging Challenges and Opportunities


July 20th, 2011

San Francisco, CA


This meeting focused on ways in which federal and state support for asset-building programs are changing and how it might be relevant to the work of Bay Area grantmakers. Participants were joined by Jennifer Brooks of CFED who talked about opportunities and challenges related to the federal budget and Olivia Calderon of the New America Foundation who focused on changes underway in California. 


Please visit the Bay Area AFN/Northern California Grantmaker webpages for meeting materials and follow-up resources. 


Rick Williams
Asset Funders Network Director