May 2014  

      From the desk of AFN Director, Joe Antolín



     Financial Coaching: Growing Strategy 

    to Increase Financial Security




Over the course of the past year, several funders have asked me, "How does asset building fit into my scope?  Where is the connection?"  These questions made me pause and consider whether asset building is indeed too exclusive or instead offers the framework for substantial growth in financial stability while improving impact across many fields.  After a year with AFN, I know it's the latter.  I have witnessed a mounting body of evidence and experience demonstrating that when sector-based investments are connected through asset building the impacts are stronger and more sustainable, enabling grantmakers to increase the scale and scope of their work.


Financial Coaching borrows from evidence-based practices to emerge as a promising asset-building strategy that more funders should consider incorporating into their grantmaking.  Designed to develop a client's capability to manage their own finances and sustain economic security in accordance with their self-defined goals, Financial Coaching is a field of practice with the return on investment grantmakers are seeking. Funders have begun investing in a range of implementations with fidelity to the models that are uniquely customized to help meet the needs of their community.  Results are positive as the field is steadily scaling up from initially serving hundreds of individuals to now serving many thousands each year.


We are at the tipping point where it is important to bring some standardization to the practice of Financial Coaching.  Funders have an enormously important role to play in growing the application - promoting agreement on practice standards, outcome metrics, building the evidence base and nurturing the development of scalable models. 


I encourage all funders to check out AFN's newest funder's brief and upcoming webinar, Financial Coaching, An Asset Building Strategyas it offers insights on the differences between coaching, counseling and education, and offers grantmakers a wide range of models and best practice approaches for incorporating into funding strategies.


I appreciate how adopting asset building strategies can initially be uncomfortable for funders and their grantees.  It will require some changes in their grant-making process and grantee responses in order to appropriately integrate these outcomes into other services. Grantmakers may also need to accept that these outcomes may require a longer time frame. For that reason, AFN will continue to elevate the best practices with reference to leading providers from a funder's point of view to help you with your approach.


Join AFN and, as an active member, partner with your peers to learn and help define future best practices that achieve greater impact!


 Funding Strategies for Grantmakers


 AFN's Latest Report Shares a Promising  Strategy for Helping People Build Financial  Capability and Assets   
Financial Coaching is a promising new strategy to help people improve their financial well-being by learning to set financial goals, adhere to their goals and gain confidence to problem solve.


AFN's latest funders brief, Financial Coaching as an Asset Building Strategy, offers insights on the differences between coaching and counseling and offers grantmakers a wide range of models and best practice approaches for incorporating financial coaching into their funding strategies.


In connection with the brief, AFN is hosting a webinar for funders, June 4 at 1pm EDT. Financial Coaching author,
J. Michael Collins, will share highlights from the new report and provide recommendations for funders interested in future investments.  S
pots are filling fast.  Click here to register!   




 Building Assets Through the Tax Code: 

 Proposals for Reform


Did you know 70% of benefits 

of the two largest tax 

incentives - home mortgage interest and employer-based retirement plans - go to the top income quintile? Almost nothing goes to the bottom two quintiles.  In the context of current national debates over the federal budget and deficit reduction, deliberations on ways to reform the tax code - including discussions about the cost and benefits of various tax expenditures - are underway in Congress. 


These discussions provide a unique window of opportunity for advocates to call for a more inclusive, progressive, and equitable tax code - one that provides fair benefits to all U.S. households. 


In this webinar recorded on May 21, AFN's Tax Policy Project, together with philanthropic stakeholders, share their findings and ideas on ways to expand the financial security of low- and moderate-income families through reform of the U.S. Tax Code. To learn more and listen, click here 

 AFN Funder Convenings
AFN local chapters present grantmakers with unique opportunities to focus onrelevant topics in a neutral arena, hear from guest experts in the field, and engage in discussion with peers and colleagues on strategies that leverage the asset building framework to advance the impact of their work.  Join us! 
Bay Area Funders Forum: 
Beyond Homeownership: Housing Strategies 
 to Build Financial Assets


Thursday, June 5
11:30am-1pm PDT 
Energy Foundation, 301 Battery Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111
Join us to learn about two new initiatives in the housing market that help both renters and owners leverage their investments in housing to build savings and improve credit.
  • Homeowners:  The Matched Energy Savings Account (MESA) is a first of its kind product that marries the asset-building sector with the energy-efficiency sector by rewarding household energy savings with financial savings.  Because energy costs consume a disproportionate amount of a low-income household's budget, the impact from energy savings could have a meaningful effect on a family's financial bottom line
  • Renters: The Power of Rent Reporting is a new credit-building pilot designed to catalyze the power of rent reporting as a viable option for low-income affordable housing residents to build positive credit histories and financial capability.

 Metro Chicago Funders Forum:

 Exploring the Potential of Financial Coaching 


Thursday, June 19

8:30am - 10:00am

Chicago Foundation for Women, 1 E. Wacker Drive, 20th Floor Conference Room

Join the Metropolitan Chicago Asset Funders Network for a Funder Briefing sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The funder briefing will educate and inspire funders about financial coaching as an approach that holds promise for improving the financial capability and economic security of Chicago area families.  Speakers will include Michael Collins, Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin at Madison and Irene Skricki, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  A light breakfast will be served.  





 North Texas Funders Forum:

 Summer Funders Exchange

Wednesday July 9

11:30 am - 1:00 pm.
Dallas Women's Foundation Campbell Centre II, 8150 North Central Expressway, Suite #110, Dallas, Texas 75206


Join your colleagues for lunch and strategic conversation at the summer Funders Exchange - a grantmaker only forum to connect with colleagues and share ideas about supporting low-income families.  Hosted by the Dallas Women's Foundation 


Click here to register for the North Texas Funders Forum.  


 AFN Tax Policy Project - 
 Tax Policy Analytical Papers


In coordination with The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, AFN Tax Policy Project offers the latest research and resources to funders interested in learning more about strategies that can expand asset-building opportunities through reform of the federal tax code.  To access a paper, click on the title below.



     ►   Tax Subsidies for Asset Development: An Overview and Distributional Analysis 

Benjamin H. Harris, C. Eugene Steuerle, Signe-Mary McKernan, Caleb Quakenbush, Caroline Ratcliffe (Uban Institute, February 2014)

        New Perspectives on Homeownership Tax Incentives

Benjamin H. Harris, C. Eugene Steuerle,and Amanda Eng (Tax Notes, December 23, 2013)

     ►   Student Loans Rising, An Overview of Causes, Consequences, and Policy Options

William Gale, Benjamin Harris,  Bryant Renaud and Katherine Rodihan (The Brookings Institution, May 2014)

Events in the Field


"Improving Consumers' Health"

 EMERGE: The Forum on Consumer Financial Services Innovation

 June 4-6, Los Angeles, CA


This year's CFSI's EMERGE forum advances the industry's efforts to meet consumer need by centering its focus on financial health.  This gathering of leading players from every sector in the financial services industry brings consumer data and stories to life, providing a foundation for building profitable solutions to consumer pain points.  Sessions and speakers will explore consumer behaviors with tracks structured around the ways consumers spend, borrow, save and invest.

Read more & register.




"Investing in Black Male Achievement" 

 IMBA Pre-Conference at Social Impact Exchang

 June 17, New York City


Come learn what works in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys.  This free FUNDERS ONLY convening will share insights on how funders can best leverage their resources to invest in improving the life outcomes for black men and boys.  Hear from philanthropy, nonprofit and government who are driving this work across the country.

Read more & register. 




"Conference on Scaling Impact"

 Social Impact Exchange

 June 18-19, New York City


Funders, advisors and leaders gather to share knowledge, learn about co-funding opportunities and develop a community to help scale top initiatives and build the field.  Topics include: Leveraging networks to drive large scale change | The role of philanthropy in building and sustaining a just society | Scale and financial sustainability | Capacity building for financial sustainability | Private sector partnerships

Read more & register.




"Platforms for Prosperity"  CFED Assets Learning Conference

 Sept 17-19, Washington, DC


The 2014 Assets Learning Conference will explore "Platforms for Prosperity" that move individuals and families from poverty to economic success and financial security. These platforms include proven and emerging asset-building strategies that are integrated into the places where people already spend their time, conduct business and get information and assistance.

Read more & register.


In the News


 Gateways to Two Generations: 

 Supporting Children and Parents Together


Washington Post's social issues reporter, Brigid Schulte, takes a look at a new twist on the strategy to fight the War on Poverty.  A growing body of research showing programs focused singularly on helping children get off to a good start or helping parents get a better education and job training are simply not enough.  

Advocates are embracing anti-poverty programs that focus on parents and children at the same time.  This "Two Generation" approach is featured in a
recent report by Ascend, an arm of the Aspen Institute.  


Read the complete article here.

Download Ascend's report.





 Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Seeking

 Community and Economic Development Professionals


The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta seeks qualified candidates for a set of newly-created Community and Economic Development (CED) Advisor positions. The Atlanta Fed's CED program conducts research, organizes forums, and engages stakeholders to inform community development efforts in low/moderate income communities and monetary policy. Qualified candidates will have at least five years of relevant experience, a bachelors (master's degree preferred) in a related field (e.g. public policy, sociology, finance, planning, economics), and strong communications and analytical skills.

For more information about these positions visit the FedCareers website.

Financial Security for All
The Asset Funders Network (AFN) is a membership organization of national, regional and community-based foundations and grantmakers strategic about using philanthropy to promote economic opportunity and financial security for all Americans.  AFN works to increase the capacity of its members to effectively promote economic opportunity and financial security by supporting efforts that help low and moderate income individuals build and protect assets.


Newsletter Submissions

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