November 2014 

       From the desk of AFN Director, Joe Antolín


     Integrating Across Sectors:  

     Asset Building and Collective Impact 



Every two years, AFN hosts a funders-only conference that enables grantmakers to gather and explore new and emerging practices, insights and analytics for strategically leveraging 

philanthropy for advancing and sustaining greater economic security, opportunities for growth and upward mobility for many of the nation's families.  We do this both to fulfill our mission to grow the number of funders and investments in asset building for low and middle income individuals and families and to assist foundations in strengthening their institution's approach to achieving their mission.


On April 7-9, 2015, we will convene in Dallas under the theme, Integrating Across Sectors: Asset Building and Collective Impact.  We are seeing firsthand how when sector-based investments are connected through a framework of asset building, the impacts are stronger and more sustainable.  This conference promises to illuminate why assets matter and how funders across sectors are investing in asset building to advance the impact of their work.


Why Dallas?


We selected Dallas because of the strong and growing number of regional and statewide funders who have gathered and created the North Texas Asset Funders Network, the Dallas-Ft. Worth regional chapter of AFN.  In just two years, these funders have identified many of the challenges of the wealth gap, increased both funder and nonprofit understanding about approaches that will make a difference, and implemented and aligned funding to increase non-profit capacity to more effectively improve the financial bottom-line for families. The funder members are diverse and include community foundations, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Women's Foundation, financial institutions, United Ways, as well as corporate, family and private foundations.  


The issues facing North Texas are similar in communities across this country - both the process and the strategies being used can be replicated.  Our pre-conference event on Tuesday, April 7 provides attendees a hands-on learning experience that will provide an understanding of how funders collaborated and invested in the capacity of the sector.  We expect this unique event and the sessions provided over the next two days will not only inform but inspire funders to take action in their region!


With grantmakers in mind, AFN partnered directly with Funders in the field to develop and deliver an agenda filled with fresh strategies and results-oriented sessions that every grantmaker can use.  This convening promises to:

  • Explore the integration of asset building into other services and sectors including housing, health, workforce and education;
  • Strengthen empirical and practical knowledge base about proven and promising strategies to advance scale and replication;
  • Examine the latest research and expert insights that foster a higher lever of discussion and understanding about opportunities for action;
  • Engage colleagues in a series of large and small-group discussions to learn, connect and shape the discourse about what is possible.

By providing the latest research, insights, evaluation and guidance, AFN's 2015 Grantmaker Meeting brings unparalleled perspective as well as opportunities for funders to learn from each other, foster new partnerships, and reshape the discourse about what is possible.


Registration starts this week.  As always, AFN members receive a discounted registration.  


Register today.  Take the step of adding your voice to the discussion in our philanthropic community! We need and value your questions, perspective and wisdom! 

AFN Funder Convenings




2015 AFN Grantmaker Conference


Asset Funders Network (AFN) invites grantmaker to the the 2015 Grantmakers Meeting, to be held in Dallas, TX, April 7-9, 2015.


This unique funders-only conference brings together a diverse group of national, regional and community-based funders concerned about a common goal - providing individuals, families and communities with greater economic security and opportunities for growth. 


Click here to learn more and register!





What do we know, 
what do we need to learn?

In today's economy, business ownership is emerging as an increasingly important way for lower-income individuals to develop wealth.  Join AFN and FIELD on Wednesday, November 19 at 1:00pm EDT to discuss the state of research regarding the asset-building effects of microenterprise programs. 

This webinar will provide an overview of the research about the outcomes of microenterprise development in the United States.  

Join your colleagues for an interactive conversation about what we know about the extent to which microenterprise development programs help individuals to build wealth through business ownership - and what else we still need to learn. 


To register for the webinar, please click here, or press the Register button below.


Download Building Assets Through Microenterprise, AFN and FIELD's guide for funders looking for ways to leverage microenterprise as a asset building strategy.






Assets Matter: 

Building an Inclusive Economy for All Californians

Thursday, November 20 

10:00am - 6:00pm

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 

101 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94607 


Bay Area Asset Funders Network (BAAFN) is proud to join the California Asset Building Coalition and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in inviting you to our annual fall convening on November 20, 2014 at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.


The Symposium brings together nonprofits, financial institutions, public agencies, funders, advocates, and elected officials from across the state committed to helping low-wealth families tap into their potential and achieve economic success. The event provides a dynamic networking and peer-to-peer learning experience including a variety of plenary sessions, workshops, and an awards reception. 


Speakers include:


Jacob Kornbluth director of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL will discuss how the media can change the popular narrative on poverty and build support for change


Martin Eakes, co-founder of Self-Help, a community development lender and credit union which serves over 100,000 mostly low-income families nationwide, will share his ideas about how our country's most burgeoning issues are affecting low-wealth households.


Register and learn more about all of the conference sessions and workshops here.



Strategies for Investing in Financial Coaching: 

A Grantmaker Briefing & Roundtable 


Monday, December 1, 2014, 

3:00 - 6:30pm 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Board Room, Baltimore, MD


This Funder Briefing, sponsored by The Annie. E. Casey Foundation, will precede the GIST policy briefing, beginning the following morning in Baltimore.


(note, this event is currently at capacity.  Please contact Annika Little with any questions.)


Philanthropy has played an instrumental role in nurturing the development of the field and practice of financial coaching. As financial coaching has gained traction as a promising strategy for helping people improve their financial lives, the field has yet to coalesce around standards of practice - a critical element for effective scale and replication.


This funders only meeting will bring together national, regional and community-based grantmakers for an exclusive briefing on the state of the field of financial coaching and a candid discussion about implications for philanthropy and opportunities collective action. 


Participants will receive a preview of findings from a new scan of financial coaching programs across the country, learn about the latest findings from a scan of training providers for financial coaches and hear an update on common outcome measures.  Facilitated discussion will elevate promising approaches resulting from existing philanthropic strategies as well as opportunities for strategic and aligned investments that can help promote a standardized field.  Whether you currently support financial coaching or are thinking about investing in the approach, join us for dinner and discussion to share, learn and inform your funding strategies. 

Member Spotlight




Bay Area Funders Unite, Make an Impact


The success of the Bay Area Asset Funders Network (BAAFN) would not be possible without the generous support of its members.  Through their contributions, BAAFN provides San Francisco grantmakers with learning and networking opportunities that promote asset-building strategies for families across the region. 


Friedman Family Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

The San Francisco Foundation

Thomson Family Foundation

United Way of the Bay Area

United Way of Silicon Valley

Y & H Soda Foundation


Join us.  Be the voice of change. Contact Stephanie Upp at


The Latest on 
Children's Savings Accounts


Nevada Provides 35,000 Kindergartners   

with College Savings Fund


For the second year in a row, the Nevada State Treasurer's office opened new college savings accounts for all 35,000 Nevada kindergarteners.  Nevada Kick Start Program, a $50 college-savings fund, automatically enrolls all Kindergarteners with an opt-out option at parents' request.  Costing about $1.8 million annually, it is funded by fees the treasurer collects from financial institutions that manage college-savings plans in Nevada.


Estimated to be $220 by the time these students graduate high school and not much considering the cost of a four-year college, it's more about planting a seed, said State Treasurer Kate Marshall, referencing research that shows children with college-savings accounts are seven times more likely to attend college. 


"You're telling that child in a real tangible way, 'You're going to college.'"


Click here to read State Treasurer's letter to Nevada School Administrators; click here to learn more about Nevada's Kick Start Program





Nebraska's College Savings Account 

Offers $100 Bonus

As an incentive to encourage families to start saving for college when their children are young, Nebraska's tax-advantaged 529 college plan (NEST) and First National Bank of Omaha announced last month a bonus program for new accounts opened for children 8 and younger. 

Two hundred new accounts will receive a $100 bonus each when an account is opened for a young beneficiary - the child being saved for. Click here to read the Official Rules.


Women and Finance



Working Women's Financial Capability:

An Analysis Across Family Status and Career Stages


Women are contributing more to the US economy than ever before and currently make up 47 percent of the workforce according to the U.S. Department of Labor (2012). As working women's earning power increases, so does their responsibility to make critical financial decisions for themselves and their household. These decisions are influenced by the unique financial challenges that women face; for example, women typically live longer than men, implying that they are more likely to live alone following the death of their spouse, and women often leave their career at the peak of their earning potential to take care of children or parents. 

TIAA-CREF's study increases our understanding of the unique financial needs of working women by examining key factors associated with their personal finances and identifying issues that are critical to their financial future. The study provides an overview of working women's financial capability and documents how personal financial needs and financial behaviors vary by family status and career stage. The study concludes with a list of actions that would help to better serve working women's financial needs.  


Click here to review the research.



Retired Women at Risk for 

Downward Income Mobility


Social mobility is often thought of as a challenge facing children and working-age adults, but sharp drops in income are a real threat for millions of elderly Americans. The recent Brookings Institute memo by Benjamin Harris and Aurite Werman states how widowhood and divorce are often the culprits behind this downward intragenerational mobility-especially for women.  In 2012 the elderly poverty rate for widowed and divorced women was nearly three times that for married women and the elderly poverty rate for divorced women stood at nearly twice that for divorced men.  


According to the authors, two facts explain this risk: men earn more, but women live longer.  To help, the authors recommend starting with public policy. Policies that encourage a stronger annuity market could help to offset the pain of reductions in the prevalence of defined-benefit plans. Otherwise too many American women will continue to be at risk of falling down the income ladder in the final years of their life.





7 Actions that can Help Shrink

the Gender Wage Gap


The Census Bureau reported last month that the gender wage gap between full-time working men and women in 2013 remained virtually unchanged with women earning 78 percent of what men earn.  Bottom-line, there has been no real movement in the gender wage gap since 2007.   


Some factors, such as differences in hours worked, occupations and education help explain the gender gap, but according to researchers, there is much about the gap that cannot be explained and will require multifaceted solutions to help ensure the work women perform is valued fairly and women are not penalized for their caregiving responsibilities.  Center for American Progress developed a recommendation of seven steps that can help make a difference.


Click here to review the 7 Steps That Can Make A Difference.

Tax Policy Reform


Finding Consensus to Improve 

Our Tax Code


A new report from the Center for American Progress

identifies common principles of good tax policy that leaders on the right and left support, as well as more than 20 specific bipartisan tax reform proposals worth more than $1 trillion over a decade. Using this report as a starting point, last month the Center for American Progress convened tax and economic policy experts from diverse perspectives to discuss how to improve our tax code in a bipartisan manner.


Click here to read the Report 

Click here to listen to the recorded convening.





From Upside Down to Right-Side Up

CFED Report


Last month, CFED released its latest analysis of the "upside down" nature of the tax code, "From Upside Down to Right-Side Up: Redeploying $540 Billion in Federal Spending to Help Families Save, Invest, and Build Wealth."

Click here to read the report. 




Responding to Rising Inequality: 

Policy Interventions to Ensure 

Opportunity for All


Published by the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley, this report provides a concise overview of the causes and effects of inequality and proposes a set of policy solutions, including tax reform.


Click here to read the brief. 

In the News



U.S. Financial Diaries


The U.S. Financial Diaries (USFD) is a research study collecting detailed financial data from more than 200 low- and moderate-income households over the course of a year. USFD employs a research approach that combines the methods of quantitative and qualitative research. By observing household finances over long periods of time and at frequent intervals, detailed financial data has been collected from participating families, covering such territory as assets and debts, cash flows in and out of the households, financial instruments, employment, financial goals, and attitudes about money.


The study offers a combination of data and household stories that explore the ways in which households' financial positions shift over time, and how peoples' financial choices influence - and are influenced by - other aspects of their lives.


Click here to check out the diaries.




New Savings Legislation Offers Rewards

for Positive Savings Behavior


Aspiring savers got a nice surprise last month, when the American Savings Promotion Act (H.R. 3774) unanimously passed from the U.S. House ofRepresentatives. H.R. 3774 would promote savings by allowing financial institutions to offer more prize-linked savings (PLS) products, offerings that seek to reward positive savings behavior through the promise and excitement of winning. More than half a dozen states have changed applicable state laws to allow credit unions within their borders to offer PLS products, but select federal regulations unintentionally limit the expansion of this savings-enhancing tool to other financial institutions. The American Savings Promotion Act seeks to remove those regulations and marks a significant opportunity to expand the reach of PLS products by clearing the way for all interested financial institutions to offer PLS products.


Click here to read the bill summary or full bill.




"How Asset Building Tax Subsidies 

Miss Their Targets"

Forbes, 10/7/14 

This recent Forbes article reiterates how the current tax policy offers little to no tax breaks to assist low- and middle-income household build wealth and points to newly release research which concludes the tax policy is ready for reform.


Click here to read the article.


Asset Funders Network
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 low- and moderate-income 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. 
Engage Now - Join AFN

AFN is a must for funders wanting to see families and communities move from surviving to thriving, from vulnerability to opportunity, and from insecurity to long-term well-being.  Through membership, innovative and promising approaches are shared, promoting both scale and effectiveness while also increasing financial security for individuals and working families.  


Connect, educate and empower.  Join the conversation. 


To join or find out more about AFN, contact Director Joseph Antolin at

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