In May 2006, the Initiative on Financial Security (IFS) co-hosted the first of six national roundtables on Savings in America with the Global Markets Institute at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco. Roundtables in Jackson, Miss., and Atlanta followed. Fall roundtables will take place in Charlotte, Portland, and Dallas-Fort Worth. The events were moderated by IFS Executive Director Lisa Mensah and Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman Suzanne Nora Johnson.
San Francisco City Treasurer Jose Cisneros was a featured participant at the first roundtable, and spoke about innovative city programs designed to encourage savings and investment among its residents, including the San Francisco Working Families Credit and Bank on San Francisco. Cisneros noted that cities need to make sure residents are taking advantage of programs that already exist to help them save for things like homeownership, retirement or education.
“We have a good number of programs in place in this country,” he said. “One is the Federal Earned Income Credit, which reaches out directly to low-income folks and offers them an opportunity at tax time to apply for and potentially receive literally thousands of dollars in extra money, money that they could use for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, many of them might use it to begin [a savings account].”
Other participants at the roundtable included Dick Rosenberg, former Chairman & CEO of Bank of America; Robert Corrigan, President, San Francisco State University; Skip Battle, Executive Chairman of Ask Jeeves and Aspen Trustee; Gene Steuerle, Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute and Aspen IFS Advisory Board member; Anne Stuhldreher, Fellow at The New America Foundation; Bernie Wilson, Senior Vice President of H&R Block; and Ben Mangan, President & CEO of EARN, among other prominent business and nonprofit leaders.