Economic Opportunities Program

Financial Services

AssetPlatform.org
Launched in 2010, AssetPlatform.org is a free resource for staff at nonprofit organizations that provide financial education, coaching and asset development services. The Asset Platform delivers high quality products and services (including training, calculators, assessment tools, consumer-friendly financial products and links to experts) to the desktops of front-line staff, so they can more effectively serve their communities.

AssetPlatform.org is organized around six primary categories of resources: 1) budgeting; 2) savings; 3) credit score; 4) debt; 5) insurance/safety net; and 6) organizational resources. Each category contains a variety of relevant training, tools and products – and the site can be browsed by those three types of content as well. The site is designed to allow users to quickly and easily access whatever resources they need.

The goal of AssetPlatform.org is to raise the quality, efficiency, capacity and impact of the asset-development and related fields by helping community-based organizations, workforce development programs, credit unions, EITC campaigns and other nonprofits to do what they do better and at greater scale. Our mission is to add value to local programs in a way that supports attainment of their own missions.

EITCplatform.org
The EITC platform is a free resource for organizations providing low-income tax preparation services. The Platform offers practical, high-quality tools, training and other resources to community-based programs and coalitions nationwide. Its goal is to raise the quality, efficiency, capacity, scale and impact of EITC and free tax preparation programs.

It is organized in four areas: Tax Preparation (including training, quick guides and take-away documents), Management (customized tools to help tax site operations, manage volunteers and track data), Asset Building (information, tools and links to help tax filers improve their financial security), and Other Resources (useful information and links for tax campaigns).

Financial Services
Launched in 2001, this project which aims to put financial services within easier reach of low-income families, has required close collaboration with Annie E. Casey staff in Seattle, Camden, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Denver, Louisville, and San Antonio.

Casey’s interest in financial services grew out of a belief that a connection to the formal financial system is critical to building wealth among low-income families. Thus, the foundation has sought to expand financial services to the “unbanked” in isolated low-income neighborhoods through its Financial Services Initiative.

The overall goal of the initiative is to develop comprehensive solutions for family finances and wealth building that will allow more families to access tax credits, hold bank accounts, reduce the high cost of credit, improve credit ratings and begin saving for the future.

To date, site-based activities have included:

  • assessing a site’s financial/economic assets and liabilities, as well as the degree of interest and readiness to undertake financial services innovations;
  • helping sites develop an initial plan or strategy to provide improved financial services and products in targeted neighborhoods; and
  • investigating and/or creating pilot programs at certain sites.

This research will culminate in documentation of the learning that results from the financial services initiatives at the sites.

Funders:

Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, Living Cities