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Using Individual Savings Accounts to Achieve Financial Goals
Kiersten Beigel: Good morning and good afternoon, everyone. This is Kiersten Beigel and I am here to welcome you to our webinar. Hopefully some of you have joined us in the past but for our first time guests, welcome. We're glad you could be here with us. This is our Building Foundations for Economic Mobility webinar series. And as you all know, family well-being is one of those family outcomes in the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework and is really critical to children's learning and development. And that's what we're going to explore today. A family's economic wellness is really a very important part of overall well-being so, again, I welcome you. The -- the path to economic wellness really does depend on family's education and earnings in addition to their knowledge skills and access to resources that help them to see and achieve financial goals and build wealth. And on our last webinar we did focus on strategies but we're really about helping families make the most out of tax time opportunities.
If you remember and you're joining us, we had talked about accessing free tax prep services and applying for the earned income tax credit. We do have some of these resources and previous webinars on the ECLKC. But we also talked about how tax time is an important money moment for families and an opportunity to encourage financial goal setting and savings habits. So thinking about those family partnership goals and ways to weave in financial goals. \Also, one of the strategies we highlighted was the use of individual savings accounts which families can use to save all or a portion of their tax returns. And we're going to zoom in on that strategy today.
And I'm delighted that we have a federal colleague joining us to do just that. It's Cassie Russell. I think it's going to be a really dynamic and engaging webinar. She's very -- she's definitely a friend of Head Start and knows Head Start well from her work. So, again, just thank you all for joining. I hope that you get a lot out of today's webinar. I also want to just thank our National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement for continuing to pull together this important content for this series and working up some different resources for you in the coming year to support your work in Building Foundations for Economic Mobility. So I'm going to hand it over now to Anna, our MC, Anna Lovejoy.
Anna Lovejoy: Thanks, Kiersten. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another webinar. We're so glad you could be here. And before I introduce our topic for today and our speakers, I just wanted to point out some of the staff who are going to be on-hand in the general chat and posting links and things so you can keep a lookout for their names. It's Raquan Wedderburn, Julio Gomez, and Nina Zumpalova. So keep an eye out for their names and thank you to the three of you for being with us today and for supporting us. And there's my picture. Okay. So today -- before we get into the topic I have some exciting news we're really excited to share. For those of you who find yourself, like me, at the end of each of these webinars thinking, "Gee, I wish I could keep learning more about this topic or continue chatting with the colleagues that I just met virtually from around the country."
We are thrilled to announce that we now have an Economic Mobility Networking Community set up on the MyPeers Platform. If you don't know already MyPeers is a social network and a community of practice forum for early childhood programs, staff, and partners who are affiliated with Head Start. MyPeers is a virtual space for exchanging ideas, resources, and lending support to our fellow early childhood colleagues around the nation. It can be accessed via computer connected to the internet, a tablet with wifi, or a smartphone app. So if you haven't registered yet to get onto MyPeers we certainly encourage you to do so, and it's very easy. I'll just walk you through a couple of steps. So first, if you go to this link to register for an account this link takes you to a Google form, a contact form that you fill out and submit. Once you do that, you will receive an email from Mango Apps which is the company that runs MyPeers.
Sometimes it takes a couple of days for it to show up, but once it does, it will have a link and that will invite you to log in and create a user profile when you get to MyPeers. So once you're able to do that, you can look around for the Economic Mobility Networking Community and click "Join" on the landing page. And so it's pretty user friendly. Hopefully it won't be too much, too difficult to navigate your way around.
But in case you're having any problems, I also want to point your attention to the fact that the - 2 -
MyPeers administrators are holding a series of webinars, orientation webinars, to get information and more familiarity with how to do things like update your profile, where to begin when you log on, things like that. So they're offering these webinars. They're about 45 minutes long and they'll be offered at various times on Tuesdays between March 21 and June 6. So the next one is on Tuesday, March 28, from 4:00-4:45 Eastern. And that's the link you can use to register. And there will be more dates to follow through June 6. So we'll keep an eye on those for the next BFEM newsletter that comes out. So if you have newsletter we will make sure to include more information about any future orientation webinars as well. So check it out and we hope to see you on MyPeers. So today's conversation we're talking about Incentivized Saving Programs.
One example of which is an individual development account. And we want to, as always, highlight the role that Head Start and Early Head Start programs can play to support the families in their programs. We know that cash savings are important for everyone because they help us weather a job loss, a health crisis, or other emergency. They're critically important in terms of taking steps toward financial security for all families. And I think our responses to the lobby activity today reflect a lot of different savings goals that we all have. Some of them were things like a dream vacation. Others it was saving for a vehicle or college tuition or rainy day savings. So lots of goals that people save for, but it's not easy for everyone. And today more than 43 percent of US households experience what is called liquid asset poverty which means they do not have enough savings to live at the federal poverty level for three months in the absence of income. So providing savings is one way to encourage low-income families to establish savings by providing them incentives.
So here to tell us more about these programs and about opportunities that might be available Head Start and Early Head Start programs that might be interested in looking to integrate them somehow into their offerings, we have Cassie Russell. She's a policy analyst for the Assets for Independence Program, or AFI. She's in the community, I'm sorry, the Office of Community Services and the HHS Administration for Children and Families. And prior to this role, Cassie managed the delivery of financial capability services in a variety of non-profit settings. So she's supported survivors of domestic violence, interested in financial and career goals, worked with first generation college students, and provided training and technical assistance to a network of 60 agencies implementing individual development account projects. So if anyone is the expert on this topic today, she is and we are just so thrilled that she's taking the time to be with us and I'd just like you to join me in welcoming Cassie to our webinar. Cassie, would you like to kick us off?
Cassie Russell: Sure, thanks Anna and everybody for being here. I really appreciated it. As Anna mentioned, I have gotten to work with Head Start in the past. I've worked with a couple of programs in Oregon so it's near and dear to my heart. But I want to get to know you a little bit, so if you want to take time, I've seen many of you say where you're from already, but maybe to reflect on what financial capability means to you and we'll circle back to that in a couple minutes. So while you guys chat, we're just going to chat through our definition of financial capability.
So in the past when people thought about helping families with financial resources, it was very focused around financial education, a traditional model where an instructor or an expert would share information, and we thought that was enough. But now we know that it takes more than just that knowledge. Skills are also a key component which we often need to practice. Right? We didn't get on a bike and know how to ride it the first time. You fall down a bunch and then you get good at riding a bike. And it's similar with managing money. I know personally, I've made a few mistakes in my time. And then the last thing that we know contributes to financial capability is access. So even if you have all of the information that you need, and you have really great skills, if you don't have access to affordable banking products or a depository institution, those sorts of things can make it really hard to have financial capability. Knowledge, skills, and access we define as the capacity to manage financial resources effectively. And I just want to say here that what it looks like to manage financial resources effectively looks different to different people, right? For some people managing resources effectively might be that they're able to pay their heating bill every other month so that that heat's not getting turned off. For other folks it might be having emergency savings account, the ability to pay your bills on time. I'm seeing lots of great things in the chat. - 3 -
And so it's important as we support families that we're thinking about their goals and how often we need sort of stepping stone goals to get to those bigger things. So maybe before it's developing an emergency savings account it's meeting bills on time and then having $5.00 a month in savings, and then $10 and then $15, really building up. So just some things to think about as we support the different families that we work with. So to start off, when we talk about financial capability, one of the ways we help folks do that is by offering financial capability Services. So the Office of Community Services that houses the AFI program which we'll talk about in a little bit, created a document called About financial capability Services. And we'll just briefly talk about each service. And that's available online. So service one is Financial education. And that's one that people are often familiar with. It's typically one or more class that can cover a variety of topics, budgeting our cash flow, credit and debt, those sorts of things.
Financial coaching is multiple one-on-one interactions that are really driven by the client. So coaching recognizes that clients have all sorts of expertise in their own lives and really supports them in utilizing current resources to reach their goals. Service three is Financial Counseling. And Financial Counseling is also one-on-one sessions but they're really driven by the counselor. So with financial counseling, if I go to a financial counselor, I might say my goal is to reduce debt. And then the counselor would really direct how I'm going to get there and take the lead in that planning. Number four, similarly is Credit Counseling. And so that would really be focused around debt. And number five is Credit Building. So Credit Building is a little bit different than Credit Counseling. Credit Building utilizes tools and resources to help people build or improve credit history. And we know that credit history ties to a credit score which impacts a client's ability to get a loan at an affordable rate and those sorts of things. Number six is Access to Safe and Affordable Financial Products. So this could be opening a checking account that's low or no fee instead of relying on check cashing services which are often expensive. As we talked about earlier how financial capability looks different to everybody, we recognize that there might be times when a check casher is really convenient, especially in rural areas. Maybe the bank is in the next town over. I used to live in a place where I had to drive an hour and a half to get to a bank. There was a check casher in town. So it's not saying that those services are necessarily bad, but making sure that it's a choice and that people have access to welcoming and affordable financial institutions. Number seven is Free Tax Prep Assistance which it sounds like you guys talked about last month. But services like the volunteer income tax assistance preparation can help families access the earned income tax credit and other credits and deductions that we know are so helpful to families. And tax refunds can be deposited into individual development accounts and we'll talk more about that later. Number eight is Access to Federal and State Benefits like SNAP, TNS, Medicaid. Number nine is what we'll be talking about for the rest of the day. So Incentivized Savings Programs are when a participant deposits money and then they receive a match. And then number ten, the last one, is Asset Ownership Programs. So Asset Ownership Programs help families build and maintain assets. So often Incentivized Savings Programs are focused around particular assets which we'll chat about later. But they could also be things like down payment assistance or mortgage credit certificates, things that might help make homeownership or college or other assets more attainable.
Anna: Great. Thank you, Cassie. That was a really helpful overview. I think obviously there are many options for how we can help families build financial capabilities as you just ran through. Some of our participants today may recall previous webinars where we focused on, for example, last month we focused on number 7, the Free Tax Preparation Assistance. Not last month, but January. Or in the past we've also focused on number 4, Credit Counseling. Right? So before we zoom in today on Incentivized Savings Programs, I actually wanted to take a pause for a quick poll.
So if everybody -- oh, looks like you're already there, could just take a moment to check all that apply, but what financial capabilities services do you already offer or refer to in your program? So it looks like we have some pretty good responses coming in. I'll give folks one more moment. So the responses include Financial Education, Financial Coaching, Financial Counseling, Credit Counseling, Credit Building, Access to Safe and Affordable Financial Products, Free Tax Preparation Assistance, Access to Federal and State Benefits, Incentivized Savings Programs and Asset Ownership Programs.
So I think -- it looks like we've gotten -- well, we're still getting a few responses rolling in so I'll give folks another minute. And I'm going to go ahead and broadcast the results. Thank you for participating. - 4 -
So it's looking like we have about -- more than 80 percent of you are offering financial education, and it looks like the next most popular is Free Tax Preparation Assistance. There's also support for access to Federal and State Benefits And then pretty much all over the place with all of the other ones which is great. I mean, I think that's sort of the point of this is that different programs and families have different needs and programs have different opportunities and capacities and partnerships available to them. So I hope that this webinar series is helping you to think about how you can continue doing what you're doing and continue to think about how you can keep meeting the needs of families in different ways.
So, Cassie, do you, before we move on, do you have any reactions to the poll results based on your experience working in communities?
Cassie: Yeah, well just to echo what you said, Anna, I think it's great and there's responses for every category. It really shows that people are being responsive to the needs of their community. And with offering financial capability services, we know there's no one size fits all model so it's really encouraging to see that people are implementing the strategies that work for their community.
Anna: Yeah, great. So, Cassie, I'm wondering if we could start with an example of what an Incentivized Savings Program might look like. And so I know today we're focusing on Individual Development Accounts. So can you tell us a little more about them?
Cassie: Sure, so an Individual Development Account, or an IDA, is one example of an Incentivized Savings Program. And the way IDAs work is for every dollar a participant saves they receive match money. And this can be funded through community foundations. Some states fund them through tax credits or legislatively. And then there are federally funded IDAs which we'll spend most of the day talking about since I work in the federal program.
Anna: So that's what they look like. And how do we know that they work? Has there been any evaluation of their effectiveness?
Cassie: Yes, there has been evaluation. So in the 90s there was something called the American Dream Demonstration that evaluated early IDA programs. And then our program, the AFI Program, has a preliminary evaluation out right now that provides results for year one of a long-term evaluation. And then many programs have evaluations specific to their program that are easily searchable.
Anna: So, Cassie, can you tell us more about the AFI Program? Where you work and some of the Federal assistance that might be available to Head Start programs and community organizations that might be interested in offering ideas.
Cassie: So AFI is a discretionary grant program in the Office of Community Services, and we are within the Administration for Children and Families so Kiersten and all the great Head Start folks are just down the hall from us. And AFI funds projects that provide IDAs and related services in their communities. So as we go on today, I'll be speaking only from the perspective of Federally Funded IDAs. Just keep that in mind. So AFI IDAs can be used to purchase three different assets: a home, to capitalize a business, or to fund post-secondary education or training. Sometimes people will bring up that they've seen IDA Programs for cars or for apartment rentals, and individuals with match savings accounts can certainly be used for other goals. But at the federal level, these are the three assets that people can use their funds for. One thing I'd like to highlight here is that to fund post-secondary education or training, that can mean a variety of things.
It can be going to a four year school or a community college, but it can also, yep, so Judy Anne, I see your question. Would GD or Vocational Tech be considered post-secondary? So it depends. So the education has to take place at an accredited education institution or an institution that appears in the Perkins Act. And so if the program is post-secondary and at one of those schools that that works. So many people, you know, GED at a Community College. That's often still considered post-secondary. We've had a lot of people do things like become an esthetician or do truck driving school. We know that there are a variety of training options that can be helpful to folks. It's a great question there. So how does the program work from a participant perspective? Here we'll tell a little story of Kim. So Kim is a Head Start parent. And she's in a community and she finds an AFI grantee in her area. And she - 5 -
goes and does some eligibility paperwork and the grantee determines that she's able to participate in the projects.
She saves, the project has determined that for every dollar she saved, she'll receive two in match. For three years, she saved $55 a month of her earned income. AFI deposits do need to be from earned income. So keep that in mind. People can enroll in programs and then earn money later on to deposit but all the deposits do need to be from earned income. And she works towards her goal saving $2,000 in her IDA. We used $2,000 in this example over a 3-year period because it's easier math. But it's important to keep in mind that there is no statutory requirement for monthly deposits, money people choose to set up their program that way, but that's up to the project. And you could have a much lower goal. Like Kim's goal could be $10 a month. Of course the more that somebody contributes, the more match that they'll receive. So, Jennifer, I see your question about if there's no AFI program in your area, and I'll definitely get to that. But chat later if I forget. Kim got tax assistance and financial education. And this is really exciting because people can deposit their tax refunds into their AFI IDA.
So let's say Kim's goal is to $55 and she deposits $1,000 at tax time. Then she could reduce her monthly deposit amount which can help people as they think about cash flow. So Kim saves $2,000 and at the end of the three year period She receives $4,000, $2,000 in federal money and $2,000 that came from the AFI grantee. Annie: Thanks, Cassie. So it really looks like when these programs are working they really do benefit a great deal. And so how would a Head Start program, you know, find or learn more about the AFI Grant program and how they might be able to apply or perhaps partner with other organizations in their communities to apply?
Cassie: Yeah, absolutely. So let's talk about application first. And then we're going to move on to partnering. So award amounts are between $10,000 and $1,000,000. It's a 5 year grant period.
There is a non-federal match requirement. So what that means is if your organization decided to apply for a $10,000 grant, they would need to have $10,000 of non-federal match to contribute. Some people get this match from local community foundations, from community colleges, from realtors associations, in time donations, it's a variety of places that grantees partner with to receive this non-federal match. Full funding is available upon award. And it's a competitive award so applications are scored and there's an external panel that does that. And organizations can have more than one grant at a time. And I just like to highlight this because oftentimes people get really excited about the program and it's important to realize that you can certainly apply for a smaller award. And if things are going really well, you can apply for another award. So some things that might come up here, some of you may know that the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution that expires in April.
So what I can share about future awards is that pending funding availability, the Office of Community Service anticipates an application deadline in late spring of this year. So that is for if you want to apply to become a grant. And if you are interested in partnering we have a project locator on our website, and that's at the bottom of this slide. So if you know that you want to refer parents to an IDA Program, You can use the project locator to find projects near you. It's important to keep in mind that projects might have a waiting list so I would always recommend reaching out to projects before referring parents directly. And then some projects have additional selection criteria so they might serve people enrolled in a certain community college or in a certain job training program. And so it's just important to ask your local projects about any additional requirement.
Anna: Thanks, Cassie.
Cassie: Oh, yeah. Sorry, one more thing about the project locator is that if an organization is a larger organization, let's say like a United Way, it's really important to keep in mind that they might serve an entire state or an entire region. And so if you don't see a project in your town, it may be worth reaching out to somebody nearby to see if they offer services not just where they're located.
Anna: That's good advice. Thanks. I just want to, before we go on since we've been posting several links at this point and different resources, if you look to the left of your screen on the bottom, there is a pod that says, "Click on March 2017 BFEM resources." That's a PDF that when you click on it you can download it and it contains the names and the links to all of the resources and websites that we - 6 -
are sharing on today's webinar. So don't worry about time to scramble to copy and paste or anything. You can just click on that resource to download it. Make sure when you do, you click on it and then you have to click the download file button at the bottom that way it will actually download for you so thanks so much for that. So let's move on, or let's keep going, Cassie.
Yep, oh, sorry. That was my fault. So, yeah, tell us what other kinds of resources and tools are available to help Head Start grantees that are interested in pursuing financial capability services generally, whether it be IDAs or one of the other strategies we talked about. What do we have available to help?
Cassie: Yeah, absolutely. So we talked about all of the services because while our program focuses on individual development accounts, we know that they're just one piece of the puzzle in supporting family's financial capability. And we saw an increasing need here and for the people creating stand-alone programs, to think about points of integration where they could have simple financial conversations with families that they were already serving, maybe in a job training program or at parent meetings that you all have. And so we created something called the Guide. The full name is Building financial capability Planning Guide for Integrated Services.
So the guide contains 13 interactive tools that help organizations develop an integration plan. And it's free. It's available to use online. And it walks you through all of the steps from start to finish. One of the key decision points that we know is whether to refer, partner with an organization, or offer services yourself.
So if you're considering becoming an AFI grantee, you would need to make this decision about whether you were interested in applying to run your own project or whether you wanted to refer a partner to an existing project. Once organizations have decided whether they would like to refer partner or do it theirself, we also know that building a team is a key component. And this can include building a team, and this can include the people at the organization that you might be referring or partnering with. Oftentimes referrals need to be tracked for grant reporting and metrics and those sorts of things. So it's important to have these conversations, both internally and externally. So some things to think a bout is in your organization, what are some rules that each team member might have? So oftentimes program directors and administrators need to secure funding for programming or develop those higher level relationships. They might need to pitch support to the Board of Directors or other leaders in the community.
Family service managers and workers obviously are really important on the day to day. And actually delivering the services or getting folks connected to the services and creating that buy in. And I think one thing that I've seen happen before just in my own experience in working in financial capability services is that it can be a really exciting time for staff, too. I know that before I transitioned to this field as a social worker I wasn't making a lot of money and I didn't have a lot of financial knowledge. And so it was a really exciting time for me personally when I got to sort of walk alongside the families I was working with and develop these skills. Community partners, whether that's a vocational school or a community college, a small business development center, home ownership center, or a volunteer income tax assistant site that we can now really help folks.
And then teachers. I think that as we're having these financial conversations with parents, there's lots of opportunity to integrate numeracy and skills with money into teaching plans. So at the end, if you go through the guide from start to finish, you'll end with a logic model. It's not required and we know that going through the whole tool isn't for everybody. So if you're looking for something specific on the bottom right hand side it's hard to see, but there's a link that says, "One Stop Tool Shop." And that's an option to see all the tools and kind of pick and choose what's right for your organization in your setting and where you're at. So some questions that came up that I promised I would get to before we get to the last thing, so somebody mentioned that many checking accounts now have costs, and that's true. Often costs for a checking account are waived if somebody has the ability to do direct deposit, which I realize takes a certain kind of regular income coming in from a certain kind of source.
But there is a coalition called Bank On that can help people find more affordable bank accounts. And then somebody mentioned that many Federal benefits have an asset limit, and those asset limits can vary from state to state but often it's around $2,000. And an important thing to know is that families - 7 -
saving in a federally funded individually development account that there's an element in our statute called the No Reduction in Benefits clause. So that's not an issue. If somebody saves in an IDA, they won't lose their Food Stamps or those sorts of things because it's really meant to help folks work towards those goals. So I think that those were the, oh, and then I see one more question about whether it's available to US Territories or possessions or just the 50 states. And it is available to territories, but the full list of grant requirements is in a funding notification. Okay. So if you're interested in applying or you have further questions we have a help desk through our resource center and that phone number is there or you can always email us, as well.
Anna: Thank you, Cassie. That was really helpful and I hope you can tell how interested everyone is through what's being posted in the chat. I think everyone's really finding all of this information just incredibly valuable so, again, we just thank you for being here today and sharing this. I want to take a moment before we kind of go into our usual question and answer portion of the program, I want to invite everyone who's with us today to brainstorm together, to talk about different ways that your program either is or might encourage financial capabilities conversations among staff and families and maybe even children. So I thought maybe we could think about this in a couple of ways. One is what about the role of program level directors or administrators? What do they do to recognize the need for educating and informing staff and families on the benefits of saving? You know, how to make a plan for how to do this over the course of the year, so that involves planning.
So, you know, I encourage you to use the chat box to offer examples or ideas of, you know, what your program might be doing. If you are a program director or if, you know, you're the director of the program in which you work has done some interesting things in terms of needs assessments of staff and families or reaching out to others in the community for some training and technical assistance, that kind of thing. So I just encourage you to, I know we can't open the lines to everybody because we have over 200 people on the line, but you can at least throw in your thoughts and ideas in the chat line. While you're doing that, the next kind of obvious go-to point for me was thinking about the role of family service managers and workers.
And I immediately think of using the family goal-setting process as an entry point to talk about savings. And, you know, as we discussed on our last webinar, tax time is another opportunity, you know, our speakers referred to it as a money moment for families because they're thinking about their finances. They may be expecting a financial return from their taxes. So it's a good opportunity to think about, you know, encouraging them to save a portion of their refund if possible. So are there other ideas for if you're in the family service worker or service manager role that, you know, you're either doing or I'm seeing, let's see, community assessments are coming up. And, let's see, what else is coming through? Judy Anne, you said yes, we have a needs assessment that the family completes at enrollment. So that's great you're using that to help them set goals. Oh, and, Cassie, thank you for pointing out that the guide has, the guide that you shared, the community guide, has tools that you can use to survey staff and clients.
working on connecting the Head Start families with the HUD certified housing counselors for the technical interactions in financial education. What else? Cassie, are you reading any that have popped up to you that are worth, I am trying to read and talk at the same time.
Cassie: Yeah, you guys all have such great ideas. Sherry mentioned partnering with financial institutions to offer training and the guide has tools to help people develop, you know, third party agreements and think through those sorts of things.
Anna: Let's see, oh, Linda Dortzweiler says that they're already partnering with the local IDA provider, and they present the staff and parents about IDAs and they've also brought in Credit Union speakers about services and planning. Sherry Anderson chimes in that bankers are required to train in the community and are always willing to come and talk with parent groups. So reaching out to local financial institutions in your community might be a good way to go. Sherry Broadnax mentions there's a banker on our board who offers training to parents as the need arises.
So, yeah. Look around. And, let's see, so the next, I guess, topic or role that I want to talk about is the role that teachers play. We don't often talk about them on these webinars but I think we should - 8 -
because I think they can actually be a great partner for getting children excited about money and learning about money. And sometimes that excitement can, you know, trickle over into conversations with families. So, you know, for example, a teacher might use a two-generation money saving, you know, money curriculum that includes activities and handouts that children can take home and do with their families at home or things like that.
So I don't know but I would love to hear if any of the folks with us today have other things that they're doing along that line. And while you're talking, while you're doing that I'm going to move onto the second because it's kind of related, and that is thinking about our community partners. So, for example, my local library I've seen in the past hosted a financial literacy book club for kids, and I actually have found some great resources that I'll share in a minute with everybody. If you're interested in either, you know, partnering with your local library or hosting a book club for kids or for parents in your programs we have some resources on that. Last month, or in January, we talked about volunteer tax preparation assistance sites as another local partner that you could look into. We've already mentioned the financial institutions in your community, credit bureaus, that sort of thing. Are there other partners that come to mind or that you are already partnering with that you think, you know, would be worth sharing with others on the line today? Go ahead and give us your ideas. Type them in. Thank you. I'm going to take a moment to scan through what folks have posted already so keep typing and we'll keep talking for a few minutes more and then we'll move on to our Q&A session.
Cassie: And I think one really important community partner to not forget is employers. Because obviously savings is a little bit easier when you have money coming in and to really highlight how working with parents and families who are maybe engaged in other programs can help them be a really great employee.
Anna: Yeah, that's a great, that's a really great point. Okay. Well, we're going to keep moving on. Oh, someone's mentioned there's a program sponsored by PNC Bank. It's called For Me, For Now, For Later. That teaches children how to save, share, and plan financially. There's a family component as well. So, yeah, I'm sure there are probably lots of similar types of programs out there offered by either commercial banks or others. So someone else mentioned Stand By Me uses a Sesame Street workshop called, oh, same thing I think, For You, For Me, For Later.
Okay. Great. So those are some interesting examples, too. Oh, someone just mentioned the book, Money Smart, no, I'm sorry, Smart Money Smart Kids, by Rachel Cruze. That's awesome. Great. Well, on that note I'm going to, keep the ideas coming. We're going to go onto the next slide because I really want to share some of the resources that I found in doing my research for this webinar. And one is from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Money As You Grow initiative. And so it offers featured activities and downloadable materials that are age appropriate to children under six if you make your way to the section that's specifically for early childhood and it also offers handouts for parents with tips on how they can talk about money with your children. So you might want to check that out as a resource.
They also have this Money As You Grow Book Club that recommends books that are appropriate for different ages of kids and some are for children as young as age three. So they recommend the books and they offer a discussion guide that you can download and implementation guide if you actually want to set up a formal book club in your own program or in partnership with your local library. So it takes all the guesswork out of how you might make the most the best use out of the book club materials. So I encourage you to check it out. There's the link on your screen and, again, if you download the resources PDF to the bottom left of your screen, make sure you click that download file button at the bottom. You'll be able to get the links and the information about these resources as well. So we have about 12 minutes left before we wrap things up. So now I really just want to open the floor to questions that folks have had. I think we've had a really engaging conversation already today and now is a good time to post your questions to Cassie, to me, to Kiersten Beigel if she's still on the line, I think.
I'm sure she'd be happy to answer questions that come up. So we will just encourage you to type in - 9 -
your questions in the general chat and we'll try to answer them as best we can. I'd like to go back, Cassie, I'd like to go back to a question that Jennifer Leigh asked, you know, what if there is no AFI program or partner in your area? Ideas for, you know, how else they might, you know, find other similar types of programs or, you know, suggestions for how to get started in thinking about applying for an AFI grant or funding partners. I don't know. What are your thoughts on that?
Cassie: Yeah, absolutely. So the first thing to do would be to look at their project locator, and as I mentioned earlier, to not assume if somebody's located in a certain city then you know that they have a regional presence. They might not, they may offer IDAs throughout. If there is no AFI funded project, you can search where you're at in the terms IDA or match savings to see if there's a privately funded project reaching out to home ownership, organizations, or small business development centers, community colleges, programs like TRIO and other support programs may have other options that have similar results for families. And if people are interested in starting to think about applying for grants themselves, the AFI resource website has a series of tools and there's a section called How To Apply where you can walk through developing a project and watch some pre-recorded webinars.
Anna: Great, thanks. That's really helpful. Another question that...
Cassie: Emily... Oh, sorry. Emily, I saw your question about how to find that application and so if you go to the resource center and click on the right there's a heading called How To Apply for an AFI grant. And I will put that in the chat right now.
Anna: Rebecca Thompson also asks, she says, most of my family has low credit scores and cannot qualify for loans Are there any simplified programs that you would recommend?
Cassie: Sure. So some AFI projects do offer credit building services, but you can find more information on credit building through places like the Credit Builders Alliance and there's lots of ways that people can improve or build credit through things like secured credit cards or credit building loans. So look in your community. Search where you're at in some of those key terms and see if there's someone near you.
Anna: Thanks. And I would also add we had a speaker in, I think it was December, who from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who talked to us about the challenges and opportunities of helping families to understand and build and repair credit. So I believe the recording is up on our BFEM website. And Raquan is going to put the link Into the chat box in a second but there may be some additional information and resources that could help answer that question as well. So let me go back and take a look.
Cassie: All right. I know there was a followup question about the No Reduction Benefits clause and that does apply only to Federal IDA programs but it's important to keep in mind that people who operate in the financial capability space are really creative and that many programs encourage saving up to a certain amount and then people spend it by paying for that month. Tuition or buying XYZ equipment for their building and then they save again. Sometimes this is called Save and Spend and so there are ways that people can be creative and still build some assets.
Anna: Great. Thanks. So as I'm scanning through here I'm also noticing Linda Dortzweiler recommended folks checking out another tool kit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau called Your Money Your Goals which is absolutely full of resources. We actually had, I can't remember now what month it was, but several months ago I think we had some folks from CFPD come and share a little bit of information about those resources. So again, you can go back and find those on our website. We'll also post some reminders and links in our networking community on MyPeers so, you know, this is a plug to go sign up for that if you're interested, too. Yeah. Any thoughts on the Your Money Your Goals tool kit, Cassie? - 10 -
Cassie: Yeah. Your Money Your Goals is an awesome resource. It was developed to help frontline staff have financial conversations with families, and we actually developed the guide because people had received training on Your Money Your Goals but weren't sure how to integrate that into the services they already offered. And we're proud to be a roll out partner with them. So it's great. It's free and it's online. And some organizations, lead organizations offer training sometimes. So you can see they often have press releases. The 2017/2018 cohort of trainees was just announced. You can see if one of them is near you. Someone else asked for clarification about the Rural Development Program and just to ensure that it's available in all states or is open to all states.
Cassie: I am not an expert in RDI so I would refer you to their website. They're not within our office. Okay. I'm not an expert in every federal program.
Anna: You have to draw the line somewhere, right?
Cassie: And then somebody asked some more details about who can apply for an AFI grant and that information related to eligible, oops, Yeah. Related to eligible entities is found on the web so I just put the link in there. That's the funding opportunity announcement. And if you click "Download the PDF" on the right, you will be able to see all of the details of an AFI grant and what it takes and what eligibility is for organizations that are interested in applying to be a project.
Anna: Great, great. Good. Well this has been just so informational and so useful certainly to my knowledge and understanding, and I think we're getting some feedback in the general chat that this has been really helpful. Before we wrap up, I actually am hoping that we still, I think we still have time to do a quick kind of before you go pool because we want to, we're thinking about the webinars that we have coming up over the course of the next year and would love to know if any of your programs are doing anything related to the topics So, Nina, when you have a chance to switch to the poll, that would be great. Thank you. So the question is, "Is your program actively doing anything related to the following topics?" And so the first is Communicating, Collaborating, and Coordinating with Community Action Agencies. The second is Supporting Parents to Go Back to School. So pursuing their GED or community, going back to community college, or accessing employment and training services, things like that. The third topic is Supporting Fathers and Non-Custodial Parents. So for example, partnering with Child Support, having Targeted Supports and Activities for Fathers, that sort of thing. Another topic is Entrepreneurship and Micro-business development.
So what role can you play in providing families who are inclined to try and start their own businesses or go into business by themself, to access information and resources that might help them do that? Another is Supporting Refugee and Migrant Seasonal Families to achieve their financial goals and educational goals. And if you said yes to any of the topics, I would love for you to in the chat box or even just stick around after the program is over for our continued chat and just let us know if you're doing them, what your name is, your email address, so that we can be in touch because we're always looking for interesting examples to highlight and share our best practices and things like that. So we'd love to know what you're doing and we hope that we will be able to identify some great examples that are going on out there in the field because after all you guys are all the experts. So I'm going to go ahead and broadcast the results so you can see. We have a lot of folks supporting parents to go back to school.
That's great. Some of you working with Community Action Agencies. We've got some traction around the Fathers and Non-Custodial parents. So that's great. So thank you. This is all really helpful. Okay. So stay tuned. Our May webinar, we're still working to finalize the date, but it will be in May, and the topic is as you just saw Partnering with Community Action Agencies. - 11 -
So we hope you will come back for that. You can subscribe to our newsletter so you can be sure to get the announcement and the registration link on that. And in the meantime, we'll also be posting information on MyPeers so we will, this is another plug to sign up for MyPeers. So we'll look forward to seeing you back here again in May. And at this point, I'd just like to say thank you so much to Cassie for your time and all of these resources. It's just been such a pleasure working with you. to get this webinar up and running. And we appreciate everyone who participated behind the scenes today as well. Thank you to Kiersten for kicking us off today. Just want to remind everybody, feel free to stay on the line for to chat for another 15 minutes. We'll keep the lines open. We'll close the audio portion. And a final reminder that certificates of participation will be emailed to you once you fill out the webinar survey which you will receive through email very shortly. So we encourage you to finish that again, too.
So thanks everybody.
Again, we look forward to seeing you again in May. And in the meantime, we'll see you in MyPeers.
In this webinar, learn how Head Start and Early Head Start providers can play a key role in connecting families to asset building services, such as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Find tips for helping families achieve financial stability.