CAAB and Citi Using Innovative Savings Model and Training to Boost Entrepreneurship, Job Readiness and Financial Capability
“Jobs & Entrepreneurship Stimulus Accounts” Mobilizing $1.2 Million to Spur Individual Savings and Remove Barriers to Employment or Starting a Small Business
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) and Citi Community Development formally announced the new Jobs & Entrepreneurship Stimulus Account (JESA) program, an accelerated Individual Development Account (IDA) savings program for individuals who agree to save $500 towards their small business or job training costs.
“Citi has a record of finding innovative ways to create pathways to self-sufficiency, and the JESA program exemplifies that commitment.”
As Washington, DC grapples with a high 10.4 percent unemployment rate and with poverty rates in some communities in the city’s Northeast and Southeast sections exceeding 30 percent, there is a critical need to address common impediments to employment, including the lack of necessary education and qualifications to enter skilled labor fields. These hurdles are often compounded by the high costs of required training, certification, and equipment, creating an impenetrable barrier to employment.
The accelerated year-long JESA program, which commenced on October 1, is mitigating those costs by combining required financial and job-readiness training with a savings match. For each participant, after program requirements are met, CAAB will match up to $500 in client savings at an 8:1 rate. Participants who complete the program will be not only better equipped to manage their finances and enter the workforce, but will also be bolstered with up to $4,500 (including initial client savings) to be used for additional job training or small business development costs.
CAAB projects that the JESA program will serve 250 to 300 underemployed Washington-area residents, preparing them for jobs or entrepreneurship while reinforcing their financial capacity to purchase tools, uniforms, and other trade equipment. JESA participants must complete a rigorous program involving a minimum of 14 hours of financial education and jobs or entrepreneurship training with CAAB and a CAAB-approved partner, as well as attend financial coaching sessions as needed. Following the training period, participants will continue to receive coaching from CAAB and support through its “Financial Empowerment Circles,” which are peer-led groups of CAAB clients working towards economic self-sufficiency.
“With the JESA program, we help enrollees to execute their savings and business goals by providing hands-on support,” said Maurita Coley, Executive Director of CAAB. “While participants are saving, we give them financial education training and one-on-one financial coaching, and our partners give them entrepreneurship and job training, all to help them to succeed in their businesses, get a job, or get a better job.”
“We need to focus on providing our residents with clear pathways to self-sufficiency,” said Julius Ware, President of Ward 7 Business and Professional Association and a CAAB Board Member. “The JESA program is an innovative approach that helps Americans save and get back to work, giving them the tools needed to weather tough economic times.”
JESA makes innovative use of funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Assets for Independence (AFI) program. CAAB has been approved to use $600,000 in AFI funds that are maturing and would otherwise be forfeited, along with an equal amount of locally-raised matching funds to implement the JESA program. Citi Community Development is providing an additional $200,000 to support the JESA program and a thorough evaluation focusing on the opportunity for replication.
“Too many members of this community are locked out of the job market because they don’t have the training or the resources to prepare for and access job opportunities,” said Diana Meyer, Citi Community Development State Director for the Washington, DC metro area and a member of CAAB’s Board. “Citi has a record of finding innovative ways to create pathways to self-sufficiency, and the JESA program exemplifies that commitment.”
Savings accounts for participants, who must meet federal income requirements and must have some earned income, will be held at local Citibank branches.
About Capital Area Asset Builders
Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) expands financial inclusion in Washington, DC through direct service programs and strong partnerships with homeownership and microfinance organizations. CAAB has been a provider of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) in the DC metro area since 1996. Over 800 successful graduates collectively have saved more than $800,000 and bought their first homes, started businesses or continued their education. Each year, CAAB organizes hundreds of volunteers to provide free tax preparation to help underserved, working families increase their financial assets through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits. In 2011, CAAB volunteers processed 5,695 total tax returns, 35 percent of which claimed the EITC. CAAB participates as a financial educator for Bank On DC and also offers its own financial education course – Money Management 101 - and provides one-on-one coaching. Overall, CAAB’s financial education programs served nearly 1,000 people in 2010. In 2010, CAAB organized a very successful local policy forum on asset-building in a down economy and a similar community forum is planned for April, 2012.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://new.citi.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi
About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, visit www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.
1 Source: Washington, DC Department of Employment Services
2 Source: CAAB
WOW! Over 500 Attended CAAB/Moneywise Financial Empowerment Tour Event
Washington, DC. - On Saturday, Nov. 5, over 500 DC metro residents attended the CAAB/Moneywise Financial Empowerment Tour at the historic Metropolitian AME Church with special guest speakers such as Kelvin Boston, Willie Jolley, Rev. Dr. Soaries,The Honorable Marie C. Johns (left),
Sandra L. Thompson (FDIC) and more.The event also had dynamic music performances, panel discussions on a broad range of cutting-edge topics, PLUS one-on-one credit coaching, financial planning, exhibitors from around the
DC area regarding jobs, housing, money management and more. It was a huge success!
But, don't take our word for it.
Here is what a few attendees had to say:
"I appreciated it and congradulate you for providing the event for FREE, Free breakfast and Free lunch. Most seminars/workshops like this, charge $15-$20 or more for the same thing. Thank You!" - Anissa G.
"Thank you for providing this outstanding Empowerment Tour!" - Stanley W.
"Please do this again, next year." - Olu Y.
"This seminar was different. Inspirational. Informative & Empowering. Loved the food and the opportunity to ask questions." - Idris C.
"This was an exceptional and wonderfully crafted financial seminar. It really uplifted my spirit to pursue a business." - Gladys C.
"This was the most organized seminar I ever attended. I was extremely inspired to reach higher. All the speakers were very informative. I learned so much information that I can take with me on my journey. I am so glad I came. I have been truly blessed." - Beverly D.
This Saturday, November 5, 2011, Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) joins forces with Moneywise with Kelvin Boston (left) to present “Moneywise Financial Empowerment Tour 2011” at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in downtown Washington, DC.
CAAB Holds Total Fitness Fair in Ward 7
CAAB, in coordination with the DC EITC Campaign tax site at the Ophelia Egypt Program Center, held a Total Fitness Fair at the Benning Library on April 9th.
Special guest Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander joined CAAB for this event, which combined physical and financial fitness.
More than 75 people participated in the Fair, including 25 who received 1-on-1 credit counseling sessions.
The "great recession" has caused families, foundations, and governments to tighten their belts. But amid the crisis, there is opportunity: to go back to school or start a business after losing a job, or to take advantage of falling home prices to invest in a property that would otherwise be out of reach.
This forum examined what wealth creation opportunities still exist for working families living here in DC, highlighting promising efforts here and elsewhere around the country, and offered a chance to re-examine our traditional strategies for wealth building.
CAAB Savings Program Director Emily Appel appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU 88.5 FM, to join the discussion about “Economic Security during the Great Recession,” and put new national research in context for the District. The research demonstrates that the high unemployment rate is hitting low and middle income families especially hard because they are most likely to be asset poor, meaning they don’t have sufficient net worth (particularly liquid savings) to subsist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income. According to CFED’s 2009 Assets & Opportunities Scorecard a quarter of DC households are asset poor, compared to 19% in Maryland and 15% in Virginia. Asset poverty has a clear racial component across the US, where African American households have 10 cents in wealth and Latino households have 15 cents in wealth for every $1.00 of wealth in white households. When a caller asked about homeownership as a wealth-building strategy for low-income individuals, Appel referenced research from CFED and the Urban Institute that homeowners who had gone through an IDA program were 2-3 times less likely to go into foreclosure than homeowners in comparable economic circumstances who had not.
For more information about CAAB’s Assets & Opportunities campaign, click here.
CAAB's Executive Director Receives WOMA Award
WOMANIFESTING (WOMA), held their 1st Annual WOMA Awards on June 25, 2010 at the Josephine Butler Parks Center in Washington, D.C. WOMA presented awards to Organizational Leaders in Washington, DC. who use their leadership, influence, and outreach to serve, uplift, and inspire others. Maurita K. Coley, CAAB's Executive Director, received recognition in the area of financial literacy. “What a delightful, pleasant, well-organized event in such a fabulous venue with such amazing women (and men). I was honored to be thought of in such great company,” said Maurita Coley. For photos and the release click here.
CAAB Announces New Executive Director
CAAB's Board of Directors has announced Maurita Coley, an attorney and former operations executive for BET Holdings, Inc., as CAAB's next Executive Director, effective March 29, 2010. “The Board is excited to have Maurita leading CAAB into its next phase. Maurita brings a track
record of creativity in fundraising, a gift of connecting people and ideas, and a longtime
commitment to financial literacy,” said Marcella Harshbarger, president of CAAB’s Board of
Directors. Click here to read the complete press release.
CAAB's DC EITC Campaign Receives $30,000
Thanks to grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the United Way of the National Capital Area has donated $30,000 to CAAB's DC Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign. This generous contribution will directly support the DC EITC Campaign's free tax sites and its work raising awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit. "Programs such as the DC EITC Campaign provide an invaluable service that supports financial literacy and financial stability for area residents," says Bill Hanbury, President and CEO of the United Way of the National Capital Area. Click here to learn more about the DC EITC Campaign.
End of the Year Reflections from CAAB's Executive Director
As Colleen Daily's tenure as Executive Director draws to a close, she reflects on the power and significance of CAAB's work. "At the end of the day – and the year – our work is about far more than teaching people to save. The real power of financial education is that it opens minds and doors to opportunities that seemed out of reach." Read her complete reflections here.
CAAB featured in The Washington Post
"Before, people came to us when they hit a crisis. Now they come to us as a preventative measure," said Emily Appel, director of the savings program at Capital Area Asset Builders. Demand for the services has increased so much, Appel said, that the organization has added classes. Also, she said, more middle-income people and young professionals are signing up. "When you see your friends go through financial crisis, you want to know how to prevent that from happening to you," she said. Read the full articleSpenders become savers: Recession leads Americans to try to put away more -- even with lower incomesin the December 27, 2009 Washington Post.
CAAB Advocacy in the News
The DC economy often comes out looking pretty good when stacked up against other cities and states on measures like average income. But in a city as economically divided as the District, averages can be deceiving. The average net worth of DC residents, for example, puts us eighth in the country compared with other states, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s recent “Assets and Opportunity Scorecard.” Yet one in four DC residents doesn’t have enough in the bank to get by without income for three months. Read the full article Helping Families Save for the Future: An Asset Development Strategy for DC in the November 2009 Hill Rag.
Features of the Credit CARD Act of 2009
In May 2009, President Obama signed into law what has been called a new credit card consumer’s ‘Bill of Rights’ – a law that enacts major changes meant to protect consumers who rely on credit cards and make credit cards easier to understand. Read CAAB’s review of the consumer protection features of the law, “The New Credit Card Law & You.”
CAAB receives two-year grant from CFED to build assets coalition in Washington, DC
CAAB has been selected, along with 14 state groups, to partner with CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development) on its 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Policy Campaign. As CFED’s partner in Washington, DC, CAAB will receive a grant of $20,000 over two years to help frame a comprehensive financial security policy agenda, raise public awareness of the importance of asset building policies, and lead a group of advocates in promoting policy improvements in the District of Columbia. The Assets & Opportunity Policy Campaign will kick-off on September 21, 2009 in conjunction with the release of CFED’s 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, which provides a comprehensive look at wealth, poverty and the financial security of Americans across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
DC City Council Eliminates Savings Barrier in Medicare Drug Program
In early October, the DC City Council won final approval for an expansion of the District’s Medicare Savings Program. The approved resolution eliminates the asset limit for the Medicare Savings Program, removing a barrier for participation by low-income residents, so personal savings can no longer exclude people from eligibility for the benefit. This extends the program’s coverage to an additional 15,000 seniors and individuals with long-term disabilities, providing an average savings of $4,700 per person in annual healthcare costs.
The Medicare Savings Program pays for all of an individual’s Medicare cost sharing – monthly premiums, annual deductibles and provider coinsurance payments. The only out of pocket costs for participants are prescription drug co-payments. To learn more, contact the GW Health Insurance Counseling Project at 202-739-0668, or visit http://groups.google.com/group/DC_Medicare_Savings_Coalition.
CAAB lends expertise as part of city-commissioned study of subprime lending in DC
CAAB worked with the Center for Responsible Lending and other partners on a study of the subprime lending market in Washington, DC; one goal of the study was to identify ways to better educate consumers about various mortgage loan products and their associated risks.
The DC Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking released results of the study at the end of June showing that low and moderate-income residents are more likely to be offered a sub-prime loan in the DC area. Check out the press release and the 2008 Subprime Mortgage Lending study.
DC's Payday Loan Consumer Protection Amendment Act goes into effect January 9
The Payday Loan Consumer Protection Amendment Act of 2007, sponsored by DC Councilmember Mary Cheh and signed into law on October 3, 2007, requires all District-licensed payday lenders to comply with the maximum allowable 24 percent interest cap. Although the District’s usury law caps interest on consumer loans at 24 percent, payday loan fees were often the equivalent of an annualized interest rate of more than 400 percent. The new legislation subjects payday loans to the same cap as other consumer loans. For more information, visit the DC Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking website.
Support IDAs for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Legislation to provide Individual Development Accounts to youth "aging out" of foster care was introduced by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) , Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Jay Rockefeller IV (D-WY). Senators Boxer (D-CA), Isakson (R-GA) and Johnson (D-SD) are cosponsors.
The Focusing Investments and Resources for a Safe Transition (FIRST) Act, S. 2341, provides foster youth financial support for critical independent living needs as they set out to develop self-sufficient, goal-oriented lives beyond the child welfare system.
The story of Deborah and Marvin’s success in the face of adversity set the context for the rest of the briefing, which provided an overview of wealth distribution in the United States, introduced attendees to the Assets and Opportunity Scorecard online research tool, and discussed two specific federal proposals to promote savings and asset ownership among low income people: The Savings for Working Families Act (S. 871/HR 1514) and The Food Stamp Personal Savings and Investment Act of 2007 (S. 591). Other presenters included Andrea Levere, President of CFED; Derek Dorn, Counsel, office of Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT); and Kate Coler, Personal Staff Member, office of Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
CAAB Intern and IDA Saver wins 2nd place in essay contest
Congratulations to Nakeya Mitchell, an IDA Saver and CAAB Intern through the Urban Alliance Foundation. Nakeya's essay won 2nd place in the DC Department of Health's 8th Annual STD Essay and Poster Contest, netting her a $250 US Savings Bond. Way to go, Nakeya!
On April 30, 2007, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Capital Area Asset Builders announced the launch of DC Saves, a citywide campaign to provide District residents with information and resources to help them reduce debt, save more, and build wealth. Read the press release and enroll in DC Saves today!
CAAB Saver speaks at Congressional Briefing on IDAs
Barbara Gray, a CAAB saver and new home owner, talked about her IDA experience at an event to share information about the Savings for Working Families Act on Capitol Hill on April 4, 2007. Ms. Gray participated in the homebuyer's program and opened her IDA through the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization. In her presentation, she spoke about how the IDA program helped her to develop better savings habits and purchase a home in February 2007.
DC Mayor Adrian Fenty Recognizes Financial Literacy Month
CAAB is a 2006-2007 featured nonprofit on TouchDC.org! Every year, TouchDC showcases a select group of exceptional nonprofits providing critical services here in our community. View CAAB’s listing in the education category and see how easy it is to give wisely.
Read about two successful IDA savers: Bernetrice Parker--who used her IDA to save for college, and Howard Gordon--who used his IDA to expand his business.
Monthly savings program orientations scheduled
Orientations for CAAB’s IDA program are scheduled on the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at CAAB’s offices. Monthly MDA program orientations are scheduled the fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at CAAB’s offices. Pre-registration required.
Register for an IDA orientation through email@example.com. Register for an MDA orientation through firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also register by phone at 202-419-1443.
Report: A Closer Look at Credit Counseling Services in the District of Columbia
CAAB conducted this survey of credit counseling agencies to share with consumers the range of services that credit counselors provide, the fees they charge, and which agencies are most appropriate for which financial problems. Adobe Reader is required to view this report.