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MAY 2016

To each 
systemic barrier, grantmakers are 
funding efforts to 
push the system levers to  change the  present 
predictable  outcomes and  create  opportunity  
for prosperity.

AFN recently updated its mission to more clearly direct and define the focus on realizing economic opportunity and prosperity for low and moderate income people through philanthropy. We did so to clarify our purpose, recognizing that 6 out of 10 people deemed the American Dream "impossible" to achieve (as noted in a  2014 CNN Money Poll).

This reality reflects existing systems, racial and gender bias legacies, and individual choices. AFN understands that real sustainable change involves addressing changes within and across the intersection of these factors.  Moreover, the cross-silo nature of prosperity also requires considering the intersectionality of wealth and education, wealth and health outcomes, wealth and housing, wealth and good jobs, wealth and access to the right savings tools, and wealth and the environment.
AFN members understand that system change is essential to advance equity and level the playing field to achieve prosperity for all.  System change, of course, is the hardest lift since those in power in any system are comfortable with existing structures and fear that change may disadvantage them and reflect a philosophy of scarcity as their self interest.  
We see this scarcity framework play out in systems every day: the new redlining in housing lending, the failure to invest in micro and small businesses owned by people of color and women, the barriers to employment for persons returning to community from prison, predatory lending and its prevalence in communities of color, the continued erosion of good jobs for millennials, the unaffordability of higher education, and the failure to address the social determinant of health systemically.  To each systemic barrier, grantmakers are funding efforts to push the system levers to change the present predictable outcomes and create opportunity for prosperity.
Successful outcomes and sustained impact also requires individual action. This is why we have highlighted the ideas of Consumer Engagement: Helping People Want What They Need so that system change engages with and works for the intended population. Individual choices and behaviors are also critical. And with the steady growth and promise of financial coaching revealed in AFN's latest spotlight, Financial Coaching Census: Insights from the Financial Coaching Field, there is evidence that the movement spearheaded by grantmakers and embraced by some public funders will help folks to navigate the system for the right opportunity to achieve their desired future. 
Grantmakers are the catalyst whose investments and leadership continue to advance greater prosperity and the philosophy that increased prosperity is in everyone's best interest. The intersection of wealth and multiple systems makes asset building relevant to funders across many lenses including education, health, housing and workforce.  
As opposed to fear from scarcity, grantmakers foster hope, drive and wellness reflecting the philosophy of abundance. I am inspired daily by the funders, public officials, and providers whose work bring about systemic and individual change, proving time and time again that a better future of greater prosperity is possible. We need to keep hearing from you as you confront the challenge, test innovations, document what works, and help restore the potential for realizing economic prosperity.

Joseph A. AntolĂ­n 

David D. Fukuzawa  joins AFN's Steering Committee from the  Kresge Foundation .   M anaging director of the Health Program and currently interim managing director of its Human Services Program, David has more than 20 years of experience in philanthropy, with a special focus on vulnerable children and youth.   

David joined Kresge in 2000 and has served as a program officer and senior program officer.  In 2002, he helped develop the Special Opportunities Initiative. The initiative focused on building the capacity of high-impact organizations that reached underserved populations. 

A Yale University graduate, David also holds a master of divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and a master of science in administration degree from Central Michigan University. He has published articles about urban issues and population health, including "Achieving Healthy Communities through Community-centered Health Systems" in the Winter 2013 edition of National Civic Review. 
We warmly welcome David to the AFN Steering Committee. 
Financial Coaching Census Delivers Snapshot of Growing Field

Financial coaching has gained recognition as a strategy that can improve financial capability and security. Yet within this advancing field of practice, many questions remain.  
    • What is the current size of the field? 
    • How is financial coaching being implemented? 
    • How do organizations, coaches, and funders measure success?
    • And what is needed to support more effective implementation?  
To begin addressing these questions and support the growth of the financial coaching field, the Center for Financial Security (CFS) and Asset Funders Network (AFN), developed the first-ever Financial Coaching Census to better understand the financial coaching field, from its size to its scope, identifying both challenges and opportunities. 
Just released, Financial Coaching Census explains the methodology, summarizes the key findings and baseline insights, discusses areas for reflection, and identifies actionable steps to move the field forward. The objective moving forward is to deliver the Coaching Census on a yearly basis, allowing the field to track the trends, both positive and negative, that occur as the field continues to grow.  

These insights will allow funders and organizations delivering coaching to better and more swiftly address the shifting needs of coaching programs, financial coaching practitioners, and financial coaching clients.

Funders and other stakeholders seek feasible and informative benchmarks to measure success in a shorter time frame. Earlier measures could also inform real-time modifications in project design to maximize achievement of the long-term objectives
The New England Children's Savings Account Consortium, facilitated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and AFN, recently released a report that addresses this need for earlier measurement.  
The measurement model links intended outcomes, factors contributing to those outcomes, and ways to test the effects of CSAs. Establishing interim measures can address both whether a project is on track to overall success and whether and what modifications may be warranted to ensure success.

Coming Soon:  
Microenterprise and Self-Employment as a Re-entry Strategy

This Summer, AFN is exploring the important topic of microenterprise and self-employment strategies for formerly incarcerated individuals. 

In partnership with FIELD at the Aspen Institute, AFN is examining how connecting returning citizens to business ownership and entrepreneurship can provide a second chance at opportunity.  Through a review of research and the experiences of programs that currently serve returning citizens, AFN and FIELD will discuss why philanthropy - and particularly asset funders concerned with issues of racial equity -- should take a closer look at these initiatives, and provide recommendations for action. 

Look for the new brief and related webinar later this summer!

JPMorgan Chase Shares the Latest on Innovations in Financial Capability

A new report funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co and produced by the Center for Financial Inclusion assesses the global landscape of financial capability innovations, with special focus on India and Mexico.
Highlighting a trend in its early stages, A Change in Behavior: Innovations in Financial Capability explores how organizations are tying financial capability interventions more closely to customer behavior, especially at critical decision-making moments, such as when signing up for and using financial products. 

Expansion of this growing approach, requires creative ideas beyond the traditional financial education that still dominates the scene, and greater involvement by providers, who are uniquely placed to meet clients at critical decision moments.

The Professionalizing the Field of Financial Coaching and Counseling

Financial counseling and coaching is a rapidly professionalizing field. 

AFN Members Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and Citi Community Development present an interactive Journal that is compilation of expert perspectives on the basic pillars of any professionalizing field-quality, consistency, accountability and community.  Make sure to read AFN's co-authored essay discussing Standardizing Outcome Measures in a Client Centered Field, shared in the Accountability pillar.   

To read the essays of each pillar, just click on the word:

AFN Steering Committee Member, K. Sujata, Makes Headlines 

K. Sujata, AFN Steering Committee Co-Chair and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, made the cover last month of Evanston Magazine where in the article she shares the work of the North Shore Giving Circle, and the parallels to women's issues locally and globally.

"It's hard to imagine that it doesn't happen here when there are 25,000 to 30,000 women who have been trafficked in Chicago, when there are women on the South Side with rates of mortality due to breast cancer that rival those of women in Nigeria, and when women work as waitresses getting $2.50 an hour; that's here and not Bangladesh."

"Provide every 
newborn child with 
a savings account
consisting of at 
least $1,250 -

Research shows it could reduce the 
racial wealth gap 
by nearly 20% ... "
Robert Reich, the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and  Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies along with being the former Secretary of Labor, has a lot to say when it comes to the Racial Wealth Gap and strategies for getting it corrected.
Reich proposes reforming the tax system so that capital gains are taxed as normal income. 

Another idea is to create a savings account for all newborns with at least $1,250, which will grow into a nest egg to tap as they turn 18 and need money for education or training. 

Allowing those getting public benefits to save more without getting cut off from assistance encourages saving even in poor families.
READ his latest piece in the Christian Science Monitor.

Housing Scheme Founded in Racism Makes a Resurgence Today

An obscure form of predatory lending from the mid-20th century appear to be making a comeback which victimized black home buyers when banks will not lend them mortgages.
In this model, buyers shut out from conventional lending are offered an alternative: 

They can make monthly payments on a home directly to the seller, instead of a bank, with the promise of receiving the deed only once the property is entirely paid off, 20 or 30 years down the road. 

In the meantime, they have few of the legal protections of a typical home buyer but all of the responsibilities of one.  They don't build equity with time.  They can be easily evicted. And if that happens, they lose all of their investment.  

According to the Detroit Free Press , more homes were bought in Detroit last year using such "land contracts" or "contracts for deeds" than conventional mortgages. 

In a series of recent stories, the New York Times has reported that Wall Street is now betting on this market, with investors buying foreclosed homes by the thousands and selling them on contract. Earlier this month, the Times reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now investigating the practice's resurgence, although it is not by definition illegal.
What is particularly alarming about the trend, though, is that we've seen it before. In its earlier incarnation, it was an explicitly racist form of exploitation. 

And now it is victimizing the same groups again: mostly lower income and minority home buyers who can't access traditional credit.


Collective Impact Funder Convening
June 6-8, 2016 |  Seattle, WA
The Collective Impact Forum, a partnership between FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, invites you to attend the 2016 Collective Impact Funder Convening, Catalyzing Large Scale Change: The Funders Role in Collective Impact. This third annual three-day funder meeting will attract leaders from private foundations, community foundations, United Ways, government agencies, and corporate foundations from around the country. 

Discussion topics this year include equity, community engagement, learning and evaluation, leadership, capacity building, and aligning multiple  collective impact initiatives. 

Northern California Grantmakers
"Real Relationships: Coaching Skills to Cut the BS"
June 8, 2016 |  8:30am to 12:30pm  

Many people come to work as program officers wanting to support change and "do good" in the world. Along the way, owing to foundation restraints and changes in priorities and available grant funds, staff can become overwhelmed, even disillusioned, and lose their capacity to communicate honestly with grantees. 

Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) and Bay Area Justice Funders Network (BAJFN) invite you to a half-day experiential training that will augment your skills as a program officer.
RSVPThis event is RSVP only. To RSVP email

Webinar: Leveraging the Tax Moment to Build Financial Capability
June 9, 2016 | 2-3:30 pm EDT

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and other tax preparation programs have been developing and testing creative ways to connect taxpayers to additional services that can help them open a bank account, save a portion of their refund, check their credit report and more. Some programs have enjoyed great success, while others have encountered challenges.
Join the Taxpayer Opportunity Network, JPMorgan Chase and the EITC Funders Network on a discussion about leveraging the tax moment to build financial capability for low- and moderate-income taxpayers.
This webinar will feature representatives sharing the lessons they've learned about tax-time financial capability integration and the questions they're still trying to answer. Program design theories will also be discussed and how to incorporate client-entered approaches into this work.

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers Annual Conference
July 18th-20, 2016 |  Indianapolis
The Forum's 2016 Annual Conference is the nation's largest gathering of the CEOs and staffs of philanthropy-serving organizations in the field. This conference addresses issues impacting philanthropy and association management.

Philanthropy Southwest's 68th Annual Conference
October 27-29, 2016  |  C olorado Springs, CO
The Philanthropy Southwest Annual Conference draws several hundred attendees each year. Registration is open to trustees and staff of grantmaking organizations and provides the opportunity to connect with fellow philanthropists located or making investments in the Southwestern United States.


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