RAISE Texas Accomplishments
Convening: In partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, RAISE Texas hosted a virtual two-day summit for 140 members of our community of practice. Key takeaways: virtual services work well for certain client populations, especially single parents; teach emergency savings as a cycle of building and using, don't use account balance as key measure of success, start with very small savings goals, and more.
Building Capacity: The Statewide Financial Coaching Hub provided support to coaches pivoting to virtual services and shared resources to help coaches address unemployment claims, income instability, debt, uncertainties and fear. During the first few months of the pandemic, RAISE Texas hosted 3 statewide huddle meetings with 162 coaches attending and 3 debt-specific webinars with 110+ participants.
Technical Assistance: RAISE Texas provided technical assistance to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) and Communities Foundation of Texas to design, develop and launch the Dollars for College program in two school districts for kindergartners and first graders to start saving for college. In the two school districts, 1,000+ kindergartners and first graders received financial education from the curriculum created by RAISE Texas, which connects the state-mandated curriculum to the children’s savings account program. More than 500 families opened 529 accounts to save for their child’s college.
Sharing Lessons from the Field: RAISE Texas released Big Benefits for Texas Employers and Workers, a report on the case study it launched with community loan centers in 2017 and completed in 2019.
Building Capacity: RAISE Texas and a team of community leaders launched the Statewide Texas Financial Coaching Hub (Hub) at the RAISE Texas Summit in December 2018 and offered the Hub’s first activities in 2019, including regional huddles for coaches to hone skills, network with other coaches and stay updated on resources.
Convening: RAISE Texas convened its statewide Community Leadership Team at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas to plan our work for 2020-2021 and get input on the formation of the Hub.
Training: RAISE Texas coordinated the first regional financial coaching training, producing 30 new financial coaches.
Celebrated 10 years of RAISE Texas! Ten years later we still have a dedicated staff of two, but our network has grown to over 2,000 organizations, institutions and individuals who want to make Texas a place where individuals and families can thrive and experience economic mobility.
Convening: RAISE Texas hosted a two-day summit with 170 members of our community of practice at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Technical Assistance: RAISE Texas worked on developing standards to be used by the Texas Fair Lending Alliance (TFLA) and RAISE Texas in assessing small dollar loan products and whether it meets our criteria of a good product.
Building Capacity: After a year of work by our Financial Coaching Committee and our Community Leadership Team, RAISE Texas launched the Statewide Texas Financial Coaching Hub at the 2018 summit.
Advocacy: We were a key partner in the passage of state legislation and a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that allowed credit unions and banks to offer prize-linked savings. This gives our field another tool to incentivize and reward savings
Sharing Lessons from the Field: RAISE Texas and CPPP released a report on Workplace Financial Wellness Programs showing that workplace financial wellness programs, which help workers manage their finances through programs like employer-based lending programs and automatic savings opportunities, can play an important role reducing the state’s high rate of financial insecurity.
Testing Solutions: Working with community loan centers, RAISE Texas launched a multi-year case study on connecting CLC's initial small dollar loan to other financial empowerment services as part of a workplace financial wellness program.
Convening: The RAISE Texas Summit on “Building Financial Success for Texans: In Schools, The Workplace and Our Communities” was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, with 200 people attending the two-day summit.
Advocacy: We were a key partner in the passage of state legislation that mandated financial education in grades K-8 in Texas schools to “facilitate the planning and saving for higher education and facilitate personal financial literacy instruction.” RAISE Texas and partners have used this mandatory financial education as a tool to implementing financial capability programs into the schools in Texas.
Testing Solutions: With our partners, RAISE Texas conducted two pilot feasibility studies in two Independent School Districts in the greater Dallas and Austin areas to expand children’s savings for college opportunities tied to the state’s mandated financial education curriculum. One worked with kindergarten students and the other with 4th grade students. Research findings helped us with launching new CSAs and putting together Texas-based recommendations that we shared to advance our work in 2018.
Advocacy: The Texas State Securities Board passed Rule 139.24, which allows financial coaches and financial counselors to assist families and individuals to complete applications for approved college savings programs and provide information on these savings programs to their clients, which is an important step to move college savings forward in Texas. This rule change was informed by RAISE Texas’ Child Support for College (CS4C) initiative and we played a major role in its passage.
Convening: RAISE Texas hosted its 2014 RAISE Texas Summit and Trainings in San Antonio, titled “Creating Financial Capability Opportunities for all Texans," co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Over 300 members of our community of practice attended. This three day event included two financial coaching trainings for organizations to train coaches at a discounted rate, a workshop on savings initiatives, a workshop on small dollar loan alternatives, and a day-long summit to engage our network in new asset building work and upcoming pilot projects.
Technical Assistance: RAISE Texas and CPPP worked together to provide technical assistance to a local United Way to develop and conduct a pilot with two employers to evaluate savings through the workplace via payroll-deduction. An official evaluation looked at ways to scale the platform and make policy recommendations. The evaluation has helped move other savings pilot programs forward.
Sharing Lessons from the Field: RAISE Texas published Saving For College: The Why, When, and How - A Guide of College Savings Products for Texans.
Testing Solutions: The Smart Saver Texans Program launched in the Amarillo Independent School District. Partnering with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin, Amarillo ISD, Happy State Bank and the Texas Council on Economic Education, with funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury, RAISE Texas and CPPP launched a pilot program to study the impact of in-school banking in conjunction with instruction on Texas’ new financial education standards with 4th graders.
Building Capacity: In 2013 RAISE Texas decided to take a comprehensive approach to the growing financial coaching field by defining financial coaching and providing groups with a common set of standards and core competencies to ensure high quality, successful programs throughout Texas. Our definition has been cited in a number of national publications and presentations.
Testing Solutions: RAISE Texas launched the Child Support for College (CS4C) initiative, which combined the efforts of RAISE Texas, three local nonprofit financial coaching entities and the Texas Attorney General – Child Support Division (CSD), to encourage long-term economic success for families in the child support system. The project assisted custodial parents receiving child support in opening a college savings account to pay for their child’s future educational expenses and providing access to free financial coaches. This project was the first of its kind in the country and ran through 2013.
Convening: RAISE Texas held its annual training and summit, “Providing the Tools for Financial Stability” at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch.
Technical Assistance: RAISE Texas released the RAISE Texas IDA Toolkit to assist organizations in developing, expanding, and implementing an Individual Development Account (IDA) Program in their communities.
Building Capacity: RAISE Texas provided grants through the OpportunityTexas Innovation and Investment Fund to help organizations encourage Texans to save at tax time. These grants were offered over a five-year period and incentivized savings through gifts cards, with the goal of increasing the number of VITA site filers that saved a portion of their tax refund in a savings account or by purchasing a U.S. savings bond.
Advocacy: We worked with key partners on the passage of three pieces of state legislation. One law passed created a mandate requiring personal financial literacy being taught in all public schools from K-8 through mathematics courses. The other two pieces of legislation were on payday lending. They included notice and disclosure requirements for credit services organizations (CSOs) regarding charges and consumer borrowing and to the registration and regulation of CSOs.
Convening: We held our inaugural RAISE Texas Community Leadership meeting bringing together asset-building leaders from around the state to move the RAISE Texas agenda forward.
Testing Solutions: RAISE Texas held a video contest to encourage families to save for their children’s’ college education. Our motto was Savings Makes Individuals’ Lives Easier (SMILE) so RAISE Texas conducted a Save ‘n SMILE Family Video Contest. Our goal was to help Texas children and their families kick start college savings. Our Grand Prize Winner received a college savings deposit into the Texas Tuition Promise Fund on behalf of their child. The prize money allowed the winning family to save enough to purchase a year of tuition at most 2- year public colleges in Texas or to make a significant payment for the first semester at many of the Texas 4-year public colleges.
Convening: We held the RAISE Texas Learning Forum and Summit hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. One of the highlights was a new video, “Building a Savings Culture in Texas” which highlighted RAISE Texas community leaders and the work they are doing to grow the field. Over 140 organizations from all over Texas registered to take part in this event.
Sharing Lessons from the Field: RAISE Texas released a report on its work in rural communities titled, Increasing Economic Stability in Small Cities and Rural Communities, which discussed ways to support asset-building efforts in underserved small cities and rural markets in Texas by increasing access to financial mainstream products and programs. website.
Technical Assistance: RAISE Texas released a toolkit titled, How to Start a VITA Site in your Community: Bringing More Dollars into the Local Economy While Supporting Families, which provides the basic information of what VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) sites are, the basic steps for starting a VITA site and the key operational activities necessary to successfully operate a site.
Building Capacity: RAISE Texas launched OpportunityTexas a joint initiative between RAISE Texas and the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP, now Every Texan).
Convening: We held our third Action Summit “Building Financial Success” at the LBJ School of the University of Texas in Austin, with over 160 people attending.
Advocacy: RAISE Texas helped pass legislation to support asset-building activity in Texas, including bills supporting children’s savings accounts and community tax centers.
Technical Assistance: RAISE Texas began working with the Rio Grande Valley Multibank to create a local small dollar loan alternative. It is now known as the Community Loan Center and has expanded and grown into 17 locations across Texas and other states.
Convening: RAISE Texas held its second Action Summit at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which brought in over 100 practitioners, government officials and funders to hear about asset building work in Texas.
Sharing Lessons from the Field: Based on feedback from our first summit and conversations held in 2008, RAISE Texas and its members developed four action campaigns with specific activities that were the focus of our statewide work. They included: Matched Savings (IDAs and Children’s Savings Accounts); Community Tax Centers and EITC; Alternative Small Dollar Consumer Loan Products; and Home Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention.
Building Capacity: RAISE Texas was chosen to partner with CFED (now called Prosperity Now) to develop our new website, which served as a template for other state coalitions looking to develop their own websites. Allowing asset-building organizations and state coalitions to have a web presence helped to expand the field and build capacity.
Testing Solutions: RAISE Texas did not wait long to begin to pilot asset-building programs and products to underserved populations. In 2009, RAISE Texas worked with five organizations located in rural communities around the state to get asset-building programs launched in those regions.
The beginning: RAISE Texas became the first independent 501(c) (3) state asset-building coalition in the country. At the time we had a staff of 2 and a network of about 55 organizations.
Convening: The first action summit under RAISE Texas was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch. It was titled, Moving Texans Toward Financial Success, with over 150 people attending the first official event held by RAISE Texas.