Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Community Development

Increasing Financial Capability among Economically Vulnerable Youth: MY Path

Author(s): Vernon Loke, Eastern Washington University; Margaret Libby, Mission SF Community Financial Center; Laura Choi, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

March 2013

Community Development Working Papers

This report provides research findings from two different phases of “MY Path,” a financial capability initiative that provides employed disadvantaged youth with peer-led financial education trainings, a savings account at a mainstream financial institution and incentives to set and meet savings goals. The initiative is operated by Mission SF Community Financial Center (Mission SF), a nonprofit that strives to promote financial security and catalyze economic mobility for lower-income households. In 2011-12, Mission SF began testing MY Path by delivering its suite of services to ten youth development agencies participating in San Francisco’s largest youth employment program, the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP). Based on lessons learned from the MY Path pilot, Mission SF implemented program adjustments for the second iteration of the program (MY Path Year Two) and conducted further research to understand the impact of these changes. By the end of MY Path Year Two, the 197 participants had saved a total of $134,323 in their restricted MY Path savings accounts. The individual amounts saved over the course of MY Path ranged from $5 to $1,590, with an average of $682 (SD = $321). The median amount saved was $679. This is a significant increase over the average of $507 saved by participants in MY Path Year One (t(196) = 7.64, p < .001).

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