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

nda 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 

Beadsie Woo

 Annie E. Casey Foundation

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AFN Welcomes Beadsie Woo of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to Steering Committee 


AFN is pleased to welcome Beadsie Woo, Senior Associate in the Center for Family Economic Success at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as our newest AFN steering committee. We are excited to bring her talents and expertise to AFN. Welcome, Beadsie!  


Beadsie's work to increase financial stability for families and children includes strategies focused on asset development and protection, including those related to foreclosure, as well as those focused on work supports, including access to public benefits, tax credits, and work-family policies. She is a co-author of Upside Down: The $400 Billion Federal Asset-Building Budget, that examines the size and distribution of federal support for individual asset building. Beadsie holds an AB in Economics from Davidson College, a MPP from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and earned her PhD in the Department of Economics from the University of North Carolina.


Learn more about the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Asset Building News and Information
Tarnish on the Golden State: How Medical Debt Threatens Family Financial Stability

Leif Wellington Haase, New America Foundation
and Mark Rukavina and Jaquelyn Kercheval

September 27th, 2011

Tarnish on the Golden State, a new report issued by the New America Foundation, exposes how medical debt can lead to ill health and financial insecurity for individuals and families. Tens of millions of American families struggle to pay health insurance premiums and medical bills. In 2010, 44 million working aged American adults had medical debt or medical bills they were paying off over time. In California, over two million people had medical debt prior to the recession and the problem has likely become worse since then. Those with medical debt find it difficult to access needed health care or to pay other bills, leading to additional financial and mental stress.     


Read full report.
Learn more about the New America Foundation.

NAACP, Wells Fargo and Partner Groups Expand Financial Freedom Center Support Across 21 Cities

Press Release
September 23, 2011

(Washington, DC) - The NAACP, in conjunction with Wells Fargo and several partner organizations, announces the launch of the Financial Freedom Center Satellite program.  The program expands financial education, financial services, and banking resources to historically disadvantaged communities.   


"This is an important step toward educating underserved communities about money management, financial services, and home ownership," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.  "The NAACP is proud to stand with Wells Fargo and our partner organizations as we take on these important issues."

Other partners of the NAACP Economic Program include the National Foundation on Credit Counseling; Financial Planning Association®; National Council on Aging; Bank of America; NeighborWorks America; Center for Responsible Lending; Operation Hope; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Capital Area Asset Builders; Common Security Club; Federal Trade Commission; National Community Reinvestment Coalition; U.S. Labor Department; United for a Fair Economy; Center for American Progress; Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights; National Urban League; and National Council of La Raza.

Read Full Press Release. 
Learn more about the NAACP and Wells Fargo.

Kindergarten to College (K2C)
A First-in-the-Nation Initiative to Set All Kindergartners on the Path to College

Leigh Phillips, San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment   

Anne Anne Stuhldreher, New America Foundation 


September 2011  


In the Spring of 2011, the City of San Francisco automatically opened college savings accounts for over 1,000 San Francisco Kindergartners. The City also "seeded" every account with an initial deposit of $50. The account openings marked the official launch of San Francisco's Kindergarten to College initiative, or "K2C." This initiative, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to improve the odds for San Francisco Kindergartners and set all San Francisco public school children on a path to college, from the very first day of school. This case study provides an overview of Kindergarten to College (K2C), why city leaders started it, and how it works.


Download full case study.

Learn more about K2C and New America Foundation



Living Longer on Less Series: The Crisis of Economic Insecurity for African-American and Latino Seniors

Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University and Demos
Tatjana Meschede

Laura Sullivan

Thomas Shapiro


September 2011


Today the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and Demos released their latest report in the Living Longer on Less series. The Crisis of Economic Insecurity for African-American and Latino Seniors reveals that only 4% of Latino seniors and 8% of African Americans have sufficient resources to be economically secure over the remainder of their life course. Retirement resources available to most seniors of color are woefully inadequate to meet even basic expenses. This report finds that:

· 62% spend almost one-third or more of their monthly income for housing expenses
· 40% are renters or have no home equity
· 83% (African-American seniors) and 90% (Latino seniors) have  insufficient retirement assets to meet their projected life-time basic needs

The economic insecurity of today's seniors of color is the cumulative result of a lifetime of barriers to asset building, such as residential segregation, redlining and labor market discrimination. Public policies such as strengthening Social Security for vulnerable seniors and creating job and asset-building opportunities for all working adults would lead towards more economic security among all seniors.   

Find out more about the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and Demos. 
The Annie E. Casey Foundation National Dialogue to Address the Disparate Impact of Foreclosure on Communities of Color


Advocacy Agenda
September 2011
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has facilitated a national dialogue to address the disparate impact of foreclosure on communities of color (hereafter "national dialogue") over the past year.  Participants include more than 140 advocates, intermediaries, funders and other stakeholders,  representing more than 90 organizations from across the country.  These participants have worked together to reach agreement about common solutions to the foreclosure crisis in the areas of advocacy, communications, and research and practical solutions. 


This document summarizes key advocacy priorities emerging from the national dialogue.  It is the product of a year-long process of research, discussion and consensus-building among a subset of the national dialogue participants, known as the advocacy work group, reviewed and refined by the full group of national dialogue participants.


The strategies, described below, have been divided into five categories:
- Safer routes to homeownership;
- Foreclosure prevention and mitigation;
- Recovery by renters and homeowners;
- Stabilization of communities affected by foreclosure; and
- Cross-cutting priorities.


File Taxes, Build Wealth: A Retrospective Summary of the MoneyUP Evaluation 

The Financial Clinic
August 2011


In late 2009, the Clinic teamed up with Dr. Michael Collins, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Faculty Director of the Center for Financial Security, to develop a third-party evaluation of MoneyUP's impact and efficacy. Dr. Collins, who studies consumer decision-making and the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings and investment choices for lower income people, was a natural partner in this endeavor.


The final report, MoneyUP: A Field Study, provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of an integrated tax preparation services model, which pairs free tax assistance with year-round financial coaching.  The assessment is based on a survey that was mailed to 1,501 current and former MoneyUP customers.  A total of 436 customers responded to the survey, making the overall response rate a robust 29 percent.   


Download Retrospective Summary.

Learn more about The Financial Clinic.  

FIELD Funder Guide Series Issue 17:
Is the Price Right? The Role of Pricing in Microenterprise Lending 
June 2011

Explores the pricing of nonprofit microlenders, providing insight into the challenges and the dynamics influencing pricing schemes. This guide presents a current glimpse of pricing and sustainability levels of U.S. practitioners, and also provides recommendations for funders as they consider pricing as part of an investment.

Applying Behavioral Research to Asset-Building Initiatives: Lessons From A Year Of Experimentation

Mindy Hernandez, CFED Innovator-in-Residence

April 2011

2009-2010 CFED Innovator-in-Residence Mindy Hernandez spent her innovation year partnering with three different asset building practitioners - two tax preparation sites and one "Bank On" program - to design and test program tweaks informed by the field of behavioral economics. With each organization, she walked through the programs' goals and processes to target critical leverage points, propose behaviorally-informed design changes and evaluate each intervention as rigorously as possible.

This paper describes these projects and their findings in detail. Taken as a whole, these projects shed new light on multiple, behaviorally-informed strategies to increase:

  1. Enrollment in and take-up of asset-building products and services.
  2. Participation and follow through in use of asset-building programs and activities.

More generally, the lessons learned during the Innovation Year provide a useful blueprint for practitioners and researchers interested in applying behavioral science to a vast array of programs and challenges.


Funding Opportunity for Recession Recovery
Grants Program: Employment and Economic Support Services for Low Income 50+ Working Families

AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation seeks 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.  

Download the RFP and submit your LOI at

Letters of Inquiry Due: 11:59 EST on October 3rd, 2011 
  • Submit Proposals by October 17, 2011 11:59PM (EST)
  • Grant Awards Announced in December 2011
    For more information about this funding opportunity, please visit:  
    Find out more about the AARP Foundation. 

    Upcoming Events - Open to All 



    Microenterprise Funders Group and Asset Funders Network Co-Sponsored Webinar


    Exploring Pricing Among U.S. Microlenders 



    October 13th, 2011

    11am-12pm PST/2pm-3pm EST


    Over the last few years, the interest rate issue in microfinance has been a hot topic among those engaged in international programs. Concerns about over-indebtedness coupled with questions about the pressures some microlenders have placed on borrowers have fueled debate and a movement for greater transparency in pricing. Now these issues seem to be emerging in the US market as some for-profit lenders have arisen offering consumer and business loans at what appear to be considerably higher rates. What's right? What's fair? Where's the US nonprofit field in this, and what are the implications for funders? 


    This upcoming webinar, sponsored by the Microenterprise Funders Group and the Asset Funders Network, will explore these thorny questions, drawing on an analysis summarized in FIELD's recently released Funder Guide, Is the Price Right? The Role of Pricing in Microenterprise Lending.  

    Speakers from microlender ACCION Chicago and the Center for Responsible lending will discuss both the dynamics and challenges impacting pricing schemes set by nonprofit microlenders, and the current trends around pricing transparency for consumers. FIELD will provide recommendations around pricing considerations for both funders and practitioners alike.



    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.  


    Find out more about the SRABC conference and register. 

    Learn more about the SRABC.   



    PolicyLink Equity Summit


    Healthy Communities, Strong Regions, A Prosperous America 


    November 8-11, 2011
    Detroit, Michigan

    Equity Summit 2011 is the fourth national PolicyLink Summit, bringing together the nation's equity movement-your fellow advocates, activists, policymakers, foundation officials, and equity leaders-to advance a truly inclusive policy agenda.  Join us in Detroit to share in a vision for more sustainable and equitable development with access to jobs, transportation, education, health, and housing for all.


    Learn more about PolicyLink.  

    Upcoming Events - Funders Only

    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


    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 GIST Meeting. 

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


    Find out more about GIST.  



    Neighborhood Funders Group 2011 Annual Conference/ Pre-Conference Session


    Tackling the Racial Wealth Gap: Rebuilding Home Equity in Communities of Color


    October 25th, 2011

    8:30am -11:30am

    Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa  

    Albuquerque, New Mexico


    * Funders unable to attend the NFG Annual Conference are welcome to join this pre-conference session free of charge. 


    This pre-conference session will focus on promising strategies - both practical and advocacy-related - to address the ongoing loss of home equity among households and communities of color.  Presenters will discuss innovative strategies, underway in communities across the country, that are stemming the tide of foreclosures among households/communities of color; and they will explore local, state and national efforts to ensure access to safe and affordable credit for generations to come.  Discussions will delve into the roles that funders can play - and are playing - to support a full range of approaches.


    Register for NFG Pre-Conference Session.

    This session is for funders only- thank you!


    For more information, please contact meeting facilitator, Heather McCulloch principal of Asset Building Strategies, at



    Bay Area Asset Funders Network Member Meeting 


    Applying Behavioral Economics to Asset Building: Lessons from the Bay Area 


    Wed, November 30th, 2011 

    Networking Lunch (optional):11:30 am - 12:00 pm PST

    Meeting: 12:00 -2:00 pm PST  



    Oakland, CA 


    Why do consumers make the financial choices they make? How can choices be influenced to engender positive outcomes? These are some of the questions asset-building practitioners have been asking themselves and, in recent years, many have turned to the field of behavioral economics for answers. Behavioral economics is the study of the emotional, social and cognitive factors that influence how people make economic decisions.

    Join us for the next Bay Area Asset Funders Network meeting to learn about how Bay Area leaders are applying behavioral economics theory to improve asset-building program outcomes, particularly in the areas of financial education/coaching and financial products.  


    The meeting will include an in-depth discussion of the steering committee recommendations emerging from the recent Bay Area AFN survey findings. Please join us for this important meeting!


    Register for Bay Area AFN Member Meeting. 

    This meeting is for funders only- thank you.   


    Please check out the Bay Area AFN webpages for more information on the Bay Area AFN.    

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


    AFN Network Meeting 2012


    Please watch for meeting "save the date" in late October 2011. 

    Meeting will be held in March 2012 

    This meeting is for funders only- thank you!  


    Find out more about the Asset Funders Network.   

    AFN Webinar Recap


    AFN Webinar Series 2011


    Kindergarten to College: Local Innovation, National Impact


    Sept 20th, 2011 


    In 2011, the City and County of San Francisco launched the nation's first publicly funded universal children's savings account project - Kindergarten to College. This year, 3600 public school children will have K2C accounts and the opportunity to start saving for the future. 


    Leigh Phillips, Manager of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, and Jenny Flores, Citi Director or Community Development, discussed the design and implementation of K2C, with a focus on how San Francisco developed an account structure that allows every child to automatically receive a college savings account in his or her name. 


    Download Leigh Phillips' webinar slides here or check out AFN webpages. 


    Check out K2C case study and NPR segment featuring K2C. 


    Learn more about K2C. 

    Rick Williams
    Asset Funders Network Director