by Joy Hoffmann, Community Affairs Officer, Federal Reserve
Bank of San
This year, the Community Affairs Offices of the Federal
Reserve System have
launched an exciting System-wide initiative on asset building, Innovations
in Asset Building Policy, Products and Programs. In partnership with
CFED, a national nonprofit that focuses on expanding economic opportunity,
the initiative will address the challenges and opportunities facing the
asset building field.
Why focus on building assets among the poor?
thing, the numbers demand it. As the articles in this issue of Community
Investments point out, the gap between rich and poor
country is wider than at any time in the past 75 years. One in four
families has zero or negative financial assets. One in five owes
more than it
For another, building assets among the poor may be
the best chance we have for breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty
economically vibrant and healthy communities. Assets can open the
door to getting a college degree, buying a home, or starting a
Building assets means building opportunity, providing families
with hope for their—and their children’s—future.
help kick off the initiative, this issue of Community Investments focuses
on asset building policies and programs across the nation.
The articles provide an overview of the asset building field
and examine the impact of programs such as Individual Development Accounts
Earned Income Tax Credit. As part of the partnership with CFED,
we are proud to provide highlights from their new Assets and
Financial Security Across the States. The report and its accompanying
website, launched this month, provide an important benchmark
for understanding the distribution of assets across the nation.
also excited to share with you some of the ground-breaking asset building
policies and programs in the 12th District. From
Families Credit in San Francisco to the Nevada Individual Development
Account Collaborative, the case studies throughout the magazine
show how innovative ideas and new partnerships are having a
on building assets among the poor in our District.
and politicians debating Social Security reform and laying the foundation
for a “new ownership society,” there is no
better time to ask the questions, “Ownership for whom?
And how?” We
have an incredible opportunity here to ensure that the benefits
of ownership flow to all of our communities. We hope that you
enjoy this issue of
Community Investments, and we look forward to sharing with
you the ongoing results of our asset building initiative.