March 2012 eNewsletter
AFN New Logo

In This Issue
Asset Building News and Information
Member Job Posting
Events Open to Funders Only
Events Open to All
Quick Links

Become a Member!
AFN Steering Committee
Merle Lawrence 
Annika Little

Steering Committee

Amanda Feinstein

Kilolo Kijakazi


Benita Melton

Laura Sparks 

Citi Foundation 

K. Sujata


Beadsie Woo

 The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Are you a grantmaker and want to become a member of AFN? 

Stay Connected to AFN!

AFN Grantmakers Meeting 2012


March 20th and 20st


Hotel Derek

Houston, TX


Paving the Road to Financial Security


Paving the Road 



Come join AFN in Houston, TX at the Hotel Derek on March 20th and 21st! This year's grantmaker meeting will serve as a forum for a series of in-depth conversations on the grantmaking strategies needed to help protect, rebuild, and grow the assets low-income families lost during the great recession.


This meeting is open to all grantmakers interested in learning about or supporting strategies that promote economic opportunities and economic security for low-income individuals and families.  AFN seeks to advance a range of asset-building strategies, from foreclosure prevention, community development, and homeownership to microenterprise, access to financial institutions and products and financial education, as a means of breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty. 


If you're new to the asset building field, longtime veteran of the field, or don't even consider yourself an asset-building grantmaker but want to learn more - join us!


Register Today!


Meeting Agenda  


Meeting Fees

$75 non-member 
$25 member discount 

Room Block  

Room Block is filled at this point. There may be a few more available rooms open in the near future. Please contact Siobhan Mulvey at for assistance locating another hotel if needed, or to check on status of room block.
Asset Building News and Information
National Service Agency Requests Applications for Social Innovation Fund Competition
Application Deadline: March 27th, 2012 

Press Release

Feb 10, 2012  

Washington, DC - The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) released a Notice of Federal Funding Availability (NOFA) today for the 2012 grant competition of the Social Innovation Fund. The deadline for applications will be 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.   Successful applicants will receive grants of between $1 and $5 million per year for up to 5 years.


As we enter the third year of the Social Innovation Fund, CNCS remains committed to supporting highly qualified, experienced funders to support and grow promising nonprofits making an impact in their communities,  said Robert Velasco II, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  These funds enable grantmakers to accelerate the impact of their programs and play a key role in a national effort to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the public and nonprofit sectors. 


The Social Innovation Fund represents a distinctive role for the federal government, that of a catalyst for change.  Through an innovative public-private partnership, the Social Innovation Fund and selected local and national grantmakers mobilize funds to grow and validate community-based solutions in three priority areas: youth development, economic opportunity and healthy futures. 


2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards  Nomination Deadline: March 30th, 2012 

Do you know a leader who is successfully addressing a critical issue for California's future? Please nominate him or her for a James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. The award includes $125,000 to support the leader's project, plus assistance connecting with policymakers and practitioners in the leader's field.  Nominations deadline: March 30, 2012. 


To nominate a leader for the 2013 awards or to learn more about the awards program, please click here.
Find out more about the James Irvine Foundation.
Department of Labor Seeks Collaboration With Asset Funders Network in Strengthening Retirement Security for Millions of Middle and Working Class Americans 

The Department of Labor is interested in working with the Asset Funders Network - in their position as thought leaders in the field of savings and asset-building and communicators with hundreds of nonprofit and community groups - to help get the word out on its consumer protection effort that will benefit millions of American households.  

The Assistant Secretary from the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Phyllis Borzi, is interested is talking with Asset building funders in person, via webinar, or at local convenings. In addition, the department may host a series of regional events in the next couple months on this and other retirement security issues, and would be interested in working with AFN and its members to help publicize the events, identify event space in the selected cities, identify panelists and speakers, and assistance with other planning activities.

Read full request.

Please send comments to Rick Williams, AFN Director, at

Credit Deserts: The absence of low-cost credit for low-income families

Mission Asset Fund  

Feb 28th, 2012 

Without a credit history, a person is invisible to the mainstream U.S. financial system. As "unattractive" borrowers, low-income consumers turn to alternative lenders, often settling for loans with high costs and predatory terms. This report presents MAF's Financial Facts label as a model for communicating loan terms in a clear, transparent, and recognizable format. The time is ripe to introduce a new tool for sifting through potential hidden fees, interest rates and other costs associated with financial products offered by lenders. 

Just the Financial Facts, Please! 
The hidden costs of payday lending in San Francisco's Mission District


Mission Asset FundMAF Financial Facts
Sept 2011

"On Mission Street alone, there are more financial services institutions than taquerias."

Executive Summary: Payday loans represent a $3 billion dollar industry in California. For low-income and working poor Californians living from paycheck to paycheck, these loans come with a high cost. With the average annual percentage rate at a whopping 459%, studies from the Center for Responsible Lending show payday loans drain $247 million in fees annually from Latino and African American families, further endangering their financial security.   In 2010, the Mission Asset Fund conducted an analysis of the 57 financial service providers  in the 94110 zip code, a historic immigrant gateway community in San Francisco. Researchers visited financial establishments as secret shoppers to survey the quality of small consumer loan products available to low-income and working poor residents.

The Mission Asset Fund unveiled two innovative tools with regulatory potential designed to improve financial decisions of consumers: the Financial Facts Label and the Responsible Lending and Borrowing Checklist.  Modeled after the FDA's Nutritional Facts label, the Financial Facts label helps consumers evaluate the quality and true cost of a loan. By providing potential payday borrowers with a consistent and consumer-friendly label disclosing loan facts, consumers can make better financial choices and avoid the treadmill of debt currently caused by payday loans. This report calls on California's newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to require Financial Facts labels for consumer loan products. Just as the Nutritional Facts label revolutionized consumer nutrition, the Financial Facts label could change the consumer-lending experience for millions of Americans.

Learn more about the Mission Asset Fund.
Housing Landscape 2012
An Annual Look at the Housing Affordability Challenges of America's Working Households
Center for Housing Policy Landscape Report

Feb 24th, 2012


This annual report explores severe housing cost burden among working households in the U.S. Drawing on the latest U.S. Census American Communities Survey data from 2008-2010, report author Laura Williams finds that nearly one in four working households in the U.S. spends more than half of its income on housing, and that this figure rose over the study period. Despite falling home values, housing affordability worsened significantly both for working owners and renters between 2008 and 2010.

Read full report.
Find out more about Center for Housing Policy

Falling Behind
he Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California's Women and Their Families

California Budget Project  
Feb 2012

The great recession hit California early and hit the state hard. What began as a "mancession" rippled out through the economy, taking significant toll on California's women and their families. In fact, this downturn was the first in recent history in which women experienced substantial job loss. Single women supporting families were particularly hard hit: The economic downturn reduced employment for single mothers far more than it did for married parents, and single mothers who remained unemployed saw the largest decline in their average workweek in the last two decades. 

Find out more about the California Budget Project.
Empowering Entrepreneurs at Tax Time
Understanding the Value of Microenterprise and Lifting Up Innovative Models for Serving Their Needs Through Tax Assistance
SETI Report
Self-Employment Tax Initiative

Feb 2012

Small businesses provide economic security and stability for millions of American families. Creating and owning a business has long been heralded as the path to financial success and self-fulfillment in the United States, and for some, creating one's own job - self-employment - is the best possible source of employment and income. In a nation clamoring for jobs, promoting and formalizing small startup businesses provides a
viable solution. Addressing the needs of these small startup businesses, particularly those whose owners are low- to moderate-income Americans, can generate profound economic and social benefits.

Because nearly every business startup must pay business-related taxes, this makes the tax preparation process a built-in, structured opportunity to reach out to startup businesses, provide free or affordable tax assistance and provide them with greater access to those same business development
and asset-building services. 

Find out more about SETI.  

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Mintz Urge Eligible Filers to Sign Up for SaveUSA Matched Tax Time Savings Program and Announce 2011 Results

10th Annual Tax Credit Campaign Includes Free or Low-Cost Filing Options

Press Release
NYC Mayor Bloomberg, Department of Consumer Affairs, Center for Economic Opportunity 

Jan 30, 2012

Filers across four cities, including NYC, opened more than 1,600 SaveUSA accounts, with total savings close to $1 million. At select free tax sites in NYC, eligible filers can open the SaveUSA account and earn a 50 percent match-up to $500-when they save part of their refund for one year. Eligible New Yorkers can also file their taxes online for free or get their taxes done at a participating H&R Block for $29.
More Than a Roof: Case Studies of Public Housing Agency Initiatives to Increase Residents' Economic Security

Center for Housing Policy   
Jan 19, 2012

A new brief from the Center for Housing Policy - the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference - describes efforts by public housing agencies to help residents make progress toward economic security.  Despite budget shortfalls, these agencies are continuing their efforts to use subsidized housing as a platform for economic security and opportunity by implementing programs that combine housing assistance with support for increased earnings and opportunities to build assets. 

After a brief overview, the report profiles agencies running four initiatives: the Family Self-Sufficiency program; the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership program; Earned Income Tax Credit Outreach; and Individual Development Accounts. It concludes by highlighting two innovative approaches that merit consideration by agencies seeking to expand economic security opportunities for their residents.
Find out more about the Center for Housing Policy.
Legisbrief: Asset Limits in Public Programs

National Conference of State Legislatures

Jan 2012

More than 46 million people receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (food stamps), and almost 4.5 million receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) assistance. Eligibility for these programs is based on income and sometimes the value of assets-a savings account, house or car. Assets are considered to help ensure the benefits aren't abused and are reaching the people who really need them. 

Some argue that limiting the amount of assets one can have in order to receive benefits discourages recipients from saving money, making it more difficult to get off public benefit programs. Yet, families with financial assets are less likely to experience the kind of economically stressful event that causes a need for public benefits, and are better able to invest in higher education, a home or other purchase that could lead to greater financial security.

The Great Recession and Land and Housing Loss in African American Communities: Case Studies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Charlotte Otabor- Center on Race and Wealth, Department of Economics, Howard University and Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Ph.D.- John Jay College, CUNY; and Center on Race and Wealth, HU


Jan 2012

This paper addresses asset stripping through recent land losses and home foreclosures specifically in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi; and its effects on wealth accumulation in African American communities. We also analyze a variety of current policies and policy options that help to mitigate these losses or reduce the effects of policies that have exacerbated land loss, home foreclosures and asset stripping.

Read full paper
Why Policymakers Should Care about Children's Savings
Creating a Financial Stake in College, Report I of IV
New America Foundation and Center for Social Development 
Jan 2012

"Creating a Financial Stake in College" is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children's savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children's savings account proposals. 
Report I presents a case for why policymakers should care about promoting savings, especially among children from lower income families. The report presents evidence on the relationship between children's savings and college success and provides the context for a broader discussion of designing children's savings policies and ensuring that they offer children a meaningful financial stake in college.

Read full report.
Find out more about the New America Foundation and the Center for Social Development.
The State of Philanthropy: The Importance of Congressional Relationships

Council on Foundations
Jan 2012 

Many observers view 2012 as a year when little will get done legislatively, as the candidates and political parties jockey for position in advance of the presidential election. Contrary to that opinion, this year is actually a huge opportunity for interested parties-like foundations-to build relationships with key policymakers and their staffs in advance of the many reforms expected to be pursued by the 113th Congress.

Read full blog post.

Find out more about Council on Foundations.

Member Job Posting

Program Officer, Family Economic Security
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Battle Creek, Michigan

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a leading philanthropic force helping communities create the conditions children need to thrive and the nation's fifth largest foundation, is seeking nominations and applications for Program Officer in the area of Family Economic Security.  In recent years the foundation has sharpened its focus on improving conditions for vulnerable children, concentrating on three key factors of success and their intersections: education and learning; food, health and well-being; and family economic security. Across these three areas, they have committed to seek opportunities to promote racial equity and healing, build a critical mass of engaged volunteers, and expand the reach and influence of the philanthropic community.

Upcoming Events - Funders Only  


Earned Income Tax Credit Funders Network   


EITC State Policy Update and Enabling Rapid Response in the States 



March 13th, 2012
12:30pm -1:45pm EST  


Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia now offer some form of a state-based EITC.  These state credits help tens-of-thousands of low-income families each year.  In recent years, tough budgets have forced some states to consider reducing or eliminating their state EITC.  While in other states, policy advocates and community-based organizations have worked together to maximize opportunities to expand the EITC.
Please join the EITC Funders Network and national and state experts in a webinar to:
    *    explore developments in state EITC policies and
    *    learn about the new EITC Rapid Response Fund that will be helping groups in four states develop communications-related responses to policy developments.   


Email to register.

Learn more about EITC Funders Network.  

Open Society Foundation, Ford Foundation, Bauman Foundation 
Briefing on Small Businesses and Social Change

Wed, March 21, 2012 
12:00-2:00pm EST
Open Society Foundations, 400 West 59th St, Manhattan  

The Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, and the Bauman Foundation are pleased to host a conversation with small business leaders and organizers from the Main Street Alliance (a program of the Alliance for a Just Society) about their work to create opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses, their workers, and the communities they serve. Formed in 2008 to build a new small business voice on health care, the Alliance has since expanded its focus, bringing small business voices and values to policy fights on issues including paid sick days, revenue and tax issues, immigration, money in politics, and more.


The conversation will cover: 
*   A brief overview of the business landscape, including the traditional business lobbies and the emerging field of new business voices seeking to reshape the public debate 
*   Key features of the Main Street Alliance's model for engaging small business owners 
*   Examples and stories from MSA's work on health care, paid sick days, revenue issues and money in politics 
For those not in New York on March 21st, we'll be happy to arrange a call-in number. 
Please RSVP by Tuesday, March 13 to Heddy Nam ( and specify whether you plan to attend in person or by phone.

Upcoming Events - Open to All 


Child and Youth Finance International Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony 

Reshaping the Future of Finance

April 3rd and 4th, 2012
RAI Convention Center
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Child & Youth Finance International Summit and Awards Ceremony is the first event to bring together children, youth and senior level representatives from across various sectors on the topic of financial inclusion and ChildFinance education for children and youth. During a special Children and Youth Meeting on April 2, 2012, children and youth will meet to voice their opinions for shaping the ChildFinance Movement. At the Summit they will bring their recommendation they will have the chance to engage directly with policy-makers on a level footing to share their views on ChildFinance.

At the Summit, thought leaders and international experts from across various sectors will come together to address the financial issues that most deeply affect the lives of children and young people. Meeting participants will share commitments, efforts and innovations in bringing ChildFinance to 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015. The Summit will also feature an awards ceremony to recognize achievements and efforts in financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, financial education and global promotion of the topic.
Learn more about Child and Youth Finance International.

National Community Reinvestment Coalition Conference

Not Just an Economy, A JUST Economy

April 18th-21st 
Washington Court Hotel
Washington, DC 
This multi-day gathering brings together hundreds of community leaders, development experts, bankers, legislators, regulators, academics and others. The conference is our premier training and networking event of the year, and an opportunity to bring together the brightest stars in government, academia and the financial services industry with real grassroots and community organizations, in order to craft and promote solutions that bring low- and moderate- income people into the financial mainstream.

Find out more about NCRC. 
Rick Williams