Although the essential Assets for Independence (AFI) program was defunded a year ago, we know that efforts to support clients in savings and building assets has not stopped.
Prosperity Now hosted a Matched Savings Summit in December 2017 to bring together practitioners from across the United States to explore opportunities in matched savings. Participants discussed how much we all learned through AFI, including that matched savings programs are more successful when integrated into other services and that human-centered design helps meet clients where they are. Participants also explored challenges consumers face (lack of emergency savings and income volatility), as well as opportunities (fintech solutions and sector-based delivery strategies) to make savings solutions more accessible.
We continued this conversation a few weeks ago during our Savings Network Webinar Series with Lauren Gates of RAISE Texas and Rodolfo Acosta-Pérez of the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico (CAASNM). Lauren and Rodolfo, along with many others who joined virtually, shared how they have been innovating savings services in the wake of AFI. Lauren explained how she is looking to leverage partnerships in Texas to continue an asset-specific matched savings program. RAISE Texas has been working with community leaders and other interested organizations to explore the potential to expand Earn to Learn’s post-secondary education matched savings model to Texas universities.
Meanwhile, over the past year Rodolfo has developed a matched savings program for medical students to pay for their degrees in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This program solves two issues their community faces at once: student loan debt and the lack of medical care available in Doña Ana County. Like many of you, Rodolfo has taken inventory of all of CAASNM’s funders to see where they can leverage existing partnerships in order to continue funding their necessary and successful savings program.
We know there is a lot of innovative work being done and so many stories to share. During the month of June, we will catch-up with some of you, share what others have been up to and explore opportunities to continue moving the savings field ahead. If you want to share your story, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, stay tuned for more ideas and be sure to sign-up for our webinar series!