State Asset Building Initiatives

Excluded from the Financial Mainstream: How the Economic Recovery is Bypassing Millions of Americans

Jennifer Brooks, Kasey Wiedrich, Lebaron Sims, Jr. and Solana Rice
Findings from the 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

One in five households regularly rely on fringe financial services to meet their needs. Nationally, 55.6 percent of consumers have subprime credit scores, meaning they cannot qualify for credit or financing at prime rates. In its 2015 Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) describes these and other difficulties faced by many Americans and breaks down disparities by race and state. The report also outlines how a combination of state policies such as protections against predatory lending and the establishment of housing trust funds can help families achieve economic security.

Treading Water in the Deep End

Brooks, Jennifer, Wiedrich, Kasey, Sims, Lebaron Jr. and Medina, Jennifer

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) employs its annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard to assess states’ commitment to reducing financial insecurity. This year’s scorecard measures the pervasiveness and effectiveness of polices that help people learn financial skills, build human capital, increase earnings, create affordable financial products, generate wealth, and protect consumers. CFED ranks states’ outcomes in five issue areas—Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.

Asset Building Policy Network

The Asset Building Policy Network is a coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations that seeks to advance federal asset building policy and bolster long-term financial security for low- and moderate-income communities of color. The Network is active in a wide range of activities, from petitioning Congress to remove financial barriers to citizenship and integrate immigrant households into the mainstream financial marketplace to offering technical assistance to small businesses. Read more about Asset Building Policy Network...

The Rise of Community Wealth Building Institutions

More people are turning to economic alternatives in which new wealth is built collectively and from the bottom up

Crossposted from Policy Network, and later published on the London School of Economics website, this blog is part of a debate event hosted by Policy Network in London, UK, that was reviewed in OurKingdom by grassroots activist James Doran:    

Five years after the financial crisis economic inequality in the United States is spiraling to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. While most Americans are experiencing a recovery-less recovery, the top one per cent of earners last year claimed 19.3 per cent of household income, their largest share since 1928. Moreover, income distribution looks positively egalitarian when compared to wealth ownership.

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Done Right, Eliminating Food Deserts Result in Community Oases

Building community wealth every step of the way
Pogue’s Run Grocer Mural, an initiative of the Indy Food Co-op. © Indy Food Co-op
Building healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities requires more than “bottom up” solutions. The importance of community ownership to ensure that projects that start at the bottom result in lasting community wealth for the people involved is often missing from the discussion. The local foods movement provides examples that illustrate the importance of this ownership principle in practice.

Rhode Island Housing

As a privately funded public purpose corporation created by the General Assembly of 1973, Rhode Island Housing provide low-interest loans, grants, education, and assistance to ensure that all people can afford a quality home that meets their needs.  To achieve their goal they offer lending programs, housing related education programs, and disperse grants and subsidies for those with the greatest needs.  In the past 20 years, the coalition has awarded more than $75 million in federal HOME funds to both for- and non-profit developers, which led to the creation of 3,857 affordable homes in 509 developments across the state.

Heather McCulloch

Heather McCulloch is an asset policy consultant based in San Francisco, California. She is the author of a number of reports on community wealth building, including Promoting Economic Security for Working Families: State Asset-Building Initiatives, which reviews state coalition policy efforts in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Read more about Heather McCulloch...

The Finance Project

Founded in 1994, The Finance Project provides research, consulting, technical assistance and training to assist in the development of polices, programs, and financing strategies for community development efforts. Read more about The Finance Project...

The Community Giving Resource

Funded by the Aspen Institute and the Neighborhood Funders Group, The Community Giving Resource is a free resource for donors and small family foundations committed to helping low-income communities and individuals. The group aims to summarize research on community wealth building, including state asset policy initiatives, to help smaller foundations more effectively support struggling neighborhoods and communities. Read more about The Community Giving Resource...

Center for Financial Services Innovation

Founded in 2004 as an affiliate of ShoreBank, a community development bank, and with funding from the Ford Foundation, CFSI aims to assist the financial services industry to identify, develop, and implement innovative ways of delivering community wealth building opportunities to un-banked Americans in ways that both meet the needs of low-income Americans while generating a viable market for commercial banks. Read more about Center for Financial Services Innovation...

New America Foundation: State Asset Policy Initiatives

New America defines asset building as “public policy and private sector efforts to enable persons with limited financial resources to accumulate and preserve long-term, productive assets—savings, investments, a home, post-secondary education and training, a small business, and a nest-egg for retirement.” As part of its overall asset building program, the New America Foundation tracks a wide range of state asset policy initiatives. The group also provides support for the development of asset policy. Read more about New America Foundation: State Asset Policy Initiatives...

National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

NALCAB is the national voice for a diverse group of Latino-led community development corporations and other community-based organizations that focus on asset building. The group aims to build financial and human assets as well as real estate and technology resources in Latino families, communities, and organizations. Read more about National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders...

Institute on Asset and Social Policy (Brandeis University)

Formerly known as the Asset Development Institute, the Institute on Assets & Social Policy aims to promote and advance individual asset-building policy choices that promise to reduce hunger and poverty in the nation by addressing their root causes. Its mission is to broaden and redefine the asset development concept and familiarize the public, media, and policy leaders with the asset development approach. Read more about Institute on Asset and Social Policy (Brandeis University)...

CFED (formerly Corporation for Enterprise Development)

CFED works both on a policy level and with community organizations to achieve greater social equity, alleviate poverty and develop a more sustainable economy by helping low and moderate income Americans save and access capital. CFED supports community wealth building through savings incentives, entrepreneurship, local community development, and other efforts that enable people with limited incomes to save and invest. Read more about CFED (formerly Corporation for Enterprise Development)...