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January 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

A New Year’s Note from RAISE Texas’ Executive Director

RAISE Texas took some major strides forward to build a savings culture in Texas in 2016. We continued to work on Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) for College and completed two research pilots in Richardson ISD and Pflugerville ISD. Based on the findings from these two pilots, work has begun on developing large-scale platforms to provide the opportunity for EVERY child in Texas to have access to a CSA for College account.

Beyond CSAs, in 2017 we will expand our work on employer-based savings and financial wellness programs, specifically looking for opportunities to work with employers and employees on increasing emergency savings, retirement savings, and other asset-building products and programs in the workplace. Our work will also continue to expand financial coaching services throughout Texas, and we will focus on potential trainings and resources to assist organizations in implementing a successful financial coaching program.

This year is also the 85th Legislative Session. It is important that our network comes together to help educate elected officials on policies that will strengthen financial success for ALL Texans- regulations on payday and auto-title lenders, more opportunities to help Texans save through schools and in the workplace, a variety of college savings products available to families throughout the state that can be taken to scale, more retirement savings opportunities for Texas workers, and much more!

We may not be able to decide what happens in Washington, DC this year, or what kinds of changes are made at the federal level; but, we can advocate for federal policies that can make a difference in the financial stability of Texas families. And, we can work hard at the Texas Capitol to make sure that our legislators are aware of the challenges that many low- and moderate-income Texans face and ways they can help them increase the prosperity throughout the state. Most importantly, we can work together to develop and expand asset-building programs to reach more Texas communities.

Join us this year as we strive to make Texas a better place to live and work for ALL Texans. Spread the word about RAISE Texas and invite your partners, colleagues, and friends to take part in this important work by signing up for our listserv or joining our network.

Happy New Year to all of you. We look forward to working with you to increase the financial success of Texans!


Texas News

Join RAISE Texas and CFED for a Virtual Discussion: Reflecting on the 2016 Election

We’re all navigating significant change as we moved into 2017: a new Administration, a new Congress, new state and local policy environments and more. With all that’s at stake, now is the time to map out how we can work together most powerfully to advance economic opportunity at the local, state and federal levels while protecting all the progress that we’ve made so far.

RAISE Texas is partnering with CFED to co-host a Virtual Regional Listening & Strategy Session for partners in the South Central States of Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. The discussion will allow us to connect with our peers to move a cohesive, aligned set of strategies forward to make sure we protect vulnerable households.

Please share the following information with your networks, partners or any organizations involved in the asset-building field in the South Central Region. We need YOU to join us for this important discussion. Register today!

Date: January 10, 2017
Time: 1:00 CST/ noon MST
Register Now

New Community Development Podcast from the Federal Reserve

The Community Development departments of the 12 Federal Reserve districts recently released ACCESS: A Community Development Podcast that will address important social issues like economic mobility, community reinvestment, small business development and affordable housing. The first episode, “Access to Affordable Consumer Credit”, highlights the Texas-based Community Loan Center Program and is available now on the Access website. More episodes will be coming out in 2017.

AFI Starting New Cohort to Help Potential Grantees Through the Application Process- Sign Up Today!
The next Assets for Independence (AFI) Program application deadline is April 3, 2017. Start preparing your application now by reading the Funding Opportunity Announcement and take advantage of great resources on the AFI Resource Center’s website. Texas IDA or Future IDA Programs, if you are going to submit an application for the April funding cycle, consider joining the Intensive Coaching Cohort. Participants in this cohort will have an opportunity to plan their AFI projects and develop their applications with the support of the AFI Resource Center and other cohort participants. Participants will learn from each other’s questions and ideas while staying on track to submit their applications by April 3. Click here to register for the cohort.

National News and Resources

Webinar on January 10th about myRA and Saving at Tax Time

The U.S. Department of Treasury is hosting a webinar before tax season to focus on myRA as a tax time savings vehicle. Discussion topics will include available resources for tax professionals; the Saver’s Tax Credit; and the steps for call-in account opening processes. Click here to register. This is a great opportunity to help your clients start saving for retirement in 2017!

New Publication on Economic Mobility Released

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released a new publication, Economic Mobility: Research & Ideas on Strengthening Families, Communities & the Economy, which includes papers presented at the ninth biennial Federal Reserve System’s Community Development Research Conference. In this edition, Raj Chetty wrote an interesting piece, Improving Opportunities for Economic Mobility: New Evidence and Policy Lessons. Click here to access the new publication.

New Report on States Efforts to Increase Retirement Savings Opportunities

A new report by Rich Jones of The Bell Policy Center, States Increasing Access to Workplace Retirement Savings Plans, explores the efforts of five states to create public-private partnerships to help more workers save for retirement. The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative that supports efforts by states to provide secure, low-cost retirement savings plans for workers and to strengthen state policies. Click here to read the report.

ABLE Programs Grow Nationwide

The Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, was implemented in 2016, with 10 states launching ABLE programs. States include Ohio, Tennessee, Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Kentucky, Virginia, Alaska and Rhode Island. The ABLE National Resource Center, founded and managed by National Disability Institute (NDI), offers a comparison tool to help individuals figure out which ABLE program best meets their needs. It also has resources and webinars available for organizations that need more information on the ABLE programs.

Report on Policies to Close the Racial Wealth Gap
CFED and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) released a new report which calls on policymakers and advocates to proactively consider the impacts of new policy proposals on the racial wealth gap before adoption and implementation. The report, Equitable Investments in the Next Generation: Designing Policies to Close the Racial Wealth Gap discusses a number of ways to address the ever-growing wealth gap. Find the report here.