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September 2019 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

What has been happening since the 2018 RAISE Texas 10th Anniversary Summit?

Many of you joined in the merriment last December at the RAISE Texas 10th Anniversary Summit as we celebrated 10 years of successful asset-building work in Texas. But, we also announced and discussed our upcoming work for 2019 and beyond. Here are a few highlights and updates since the Summit.

  • Dollars for College, the children’s savings accounts for college program, launched successfully with the Lancaster ISD. This opt-in model utilized the my529 college savings accounts to assist families in starting to save early for future post-secondary education expenses for their child(ren). Offered to kindergartners, most families have signed up for the program. The school district will be launching cohort 2 in the next few weeks. We are also excited that a second school district, Richardson ISD will also launch Dollars for College this school year. Congratulations to local partners United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Communities Foundation of Texas on the launch and expansion of this program helping more families make college a reality for their kids.
  • The Texas Statewide Financial Coaching Hub (Hub) is officially launching in two locations this year! Huddle meetings in the Austin area began in June 2019 for local financial coaches to take part in these in-person meetings to network and practice their coaching skills together. Financial coaching is a proven method at successfully assisting clients in reaching their personal financial goals- like increasing savings, decreasing debt, or building credit- and leading them to be more financially stable. Also, this fall in San Antonio, the Hub will be launching its first regional training to expand financial coaching services in the San Antonio region. A big thank you to our partners, Foundation Communities for starting the Austin Huddle and the San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network for leading the local efforts to bring the regional training and on-going support system for financial coaches to San Antonio.
  • There are nine prize-linked savings programs being offered in Texas. RAISE Texas is working in three different areas to potentially pilot and promote these programs. Our goal is to develop a plan to increase the number of prize-linked savings programs being offered in Texas and finding ways that our network can work with these programs to increase the savings rate of their clients. Stay tuned for more information!
  • RAISE Texas completed its research pilot on financial wellness in the workplace- specifically looking at ways to increase the number of Community Loan Center small dollar loan borrowers engaged in financial coaching services in the workplace. This has been an 18 month pilot and we will be publishing our findings later this fall. We want to thank our partners BCL of Texas, Community Development Corporation of Brownsville and Texas Appleseed for all of their hard work on this project. Also, big thanks to JPMorgan Chase and Annie E. Casey Foundation for supporting this pilot effort. We look forward to sharing our findings with the Community Loan Centers and other organizations looking to implement financial empowerment programs in the workplace.

Support Asset Building in Texas While Shopping!

YOU can help us RAISE Texas now while shopping! AmazonSmile will donate a portion of your eligible purchases to RAISE Texas if you use our link. So tag our link in your phone or on your computer and THANK YOU for your support: www.smile.amazon.com/ch/26-2087882. Let’s keep RAISING Texas together!

Texas News

Mark Your Calendars for the Fall Meeting of the Texas Coalition on Coerced Debt!

The next meeting of the Texas Coalition on Coerced Debt will be held on September 27, 2019 from 11am to 2pm at the University of Texas School of Law. You can also join by webinar, if you are not in the area. The coalition will be unveiling exciting new self-help tools and tools for advocates to help clients address coerced debt, including:

  • Tips and screening to identify coerced debt.
  • Steps to protect victims from future abuse
  • How to discover coerced debt on credit reports
  • Guidance on how to dispute coerced debts
  • Tools to assist a victim of coerced debt who is sued by a debt collector

Click here to register for the event and for more details! Funds are available for travel reimbursement for the in-person meeting based on the reimbursement policy. RAISE Texas hopes to see you there!

Study Leads to Action in San Antonio and the Launch of the Financial Coaching Hub

On July 30, a study analyzing growing disparities in San Antonio was released with clear and actionable steps to address this serious situation. The study, authored by Texas Appleseed and released by the San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network, with financial support from JPMorgan Chase, Texas Capital Bank, San Antonio Area Foundation and Wells Fargo, reveals the specific areas of poverty within the city. The study draws on demographic, economic, education and healthcare data to describe San Antonio’s low-income families. Some of the specific findings in the report include:

  • San Antonio families have lower median credit scores, higher delinquent debts, and limited savings compared to national levels.
  • Though San Antonio has relatively low unemployment rates, many available jobs pay low wages.
  • Economically disadvantaged students in San Antonio’s public schools are not leaving school ready for college, and there is low educational attainment in San Antonio’s lower-income zip codes.
  • San Antonio has a high uninsured rate, which disproportionately impacts low-income Hispanic and black families in need of health care.

Based on these findings, a collaborative group of funders and nonprofits have stepped forward to announce the formation of a Financial Coaching Hub to address some of the recommendations from the study. The Financial Coaching Hub will launch this November by providing a regional financial coaching training and an on-going support system for local financial coaches to help expand these services to clients in the San Antonio region communities. RAISE Texas is proud to be partnering with San Antonio Area AFN, the steering committee and all of its partners to establish this Hub. Click here to read the entire report.

National News

Article Tackles the Catch-22 of Education and Wealth

Ray Boshara from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis wrote an intriguing article on the predicament of achieving both education and wealth when it seems impossible to achieve one without the other. Does wealth predict education or does education predict wealth? Click here to read the article.

529 College Savings Accounts Guide Available

Over the summer, The Financial Clinic released A Guide To 529 College Savings Accounts. This is a helpful resource to explain or better understand the 529 product and its benefits for families saving for college. Click here to access the guide.

Blog: 1 of 3 in Bankruptcy Have College Debt

One in three low-income people who filed for bankruptcy protection from their creditors have student loans but the one thing that bankruptcy won’t fix is college debt. Student loans usually can’t be discharged by the courts due to the difficulty to satisfy the federal legal standard that the borrowers must show they were under “undue hardship”. The legal requirements haven’t changed since 1998, but with Americans owing roughly $1.6 trillion in student debt, this is something the legal community and legislators are reviewing. Click here to read the entire blog post.