2017 Annual Report: Fulfilling the Promise
Friends of Prosperity Now:
In 2017, CFED became Prosperity Now. It was a shift that reflects the urgency of our mission in this moment. Every day, we bear witness to the impact that financial inequality and insecurity have on people in the United States. It plays out in every facet of life: health, education, housing, civic engagement, and more.
At the same time, we at Prosperity Now have so much hope. Every day, we also get to bear witness to the passion, resilience, and creativity of the 24,000+ members of the Prosperity Now Community.
We want you to witness it as well. For this year’s Annual Report, we spoke with some of the 1,000 partners, leaders, colleagues, and guardian angels who came together in September for the 2018 Prosperity Summit.
We invite you to listen as they describe the impact their work with Prosperity Now is having on their communities. As you listen, you may find yourself growing more hopeful, too.
We’re so grateful for the movement we’ve created together. Our impact is possible because of your unwavering support. Thank you for all you do, today and every day, to ensure everyone has a clear path to stability, wealth, and prosperity.
P.S. You can view more videos about our impact here.
Your support has been crucial to our work. In 2017, we achieved the following with your help:
- Expanded access to financing for manufactured housing residents, which will allow them greater choice in securing safe and affordable products, by actively informed the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs) final Duty to Serve rule.
- Grew our I’M HOME Network to over 2,000 individuals and Affordable Homeownership network to over 1,500 individuals, providing these communities with research, data, policy analysis, webinars and other important information to support their work.
- Expanded the scope of our affordable housing strategy beyond manufactured housing, including working with housing organizations seeking to integrate financial capability into their programs and supporting public housing authorities offering rent-reporting for credit building.
- Released the Prosperity Now Scorecard, our comprehensive resource that provides data on income inequality with policy recommendations to help low- and moderate-income families reach financial security. We also integrated our map-based Local Data Center digital platform into the Scorecard. In doing so, we expanded the data measures made available through the website from four to 26.
- Expanded our capacity to disaggregate more data by race, to better illustrate the role the racial wealth divide plays in income inequality.
- Elevated the national dialogue around what the racial wealth divide means for the middle class and the economy as a whole through The Road to Zero Wealth released in September 2017. This report describes how the racial wealth divide will only get worse and explored what interventions could reverse the trends we see today. More than 2,000 people have downloaded the report, and Prosperity Now staff also presented it to staff of the Congressional Black Caucus in November 2017. Moreover, our report attracted broad media and public attention from nearly 40 publications, including Forbes, The Guardian, and The Root. Senator Bernie Sanders also featured a video about the report on is social media accounts, garnering us more than 1.2 million views.
Children’s Savings Accounts
- Ensured that more than 465,000 kids will have a college savings account in their name by the end of 2018.
- Supported the launch of new CSA programs in Los Angeles, CA; St. Paul, MN; Miami, FL; Flint, MI; and Pennsylvania’s six-county pilot program, which will launch in 2019-2020.
- Advocated successfully for legislation in Pennsylvania to fund CSAs for all newborns starting in 2019.
- Attracted more than 1,500 individual supporters and 100 organizational partners for the Campaign for Every Kid’s Future
- Raised nearly $300,000 in savings incentives for CSA programs via Prosperity Now’s 1:1 Fund online platform.
- Worked with national and local champions to advance policies that would benefit low- and moderate-income people in the US. Our champions include the nearly 40 partners who are part of the Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility; the nine partners of the Asset Building Policy Network who represent the nation’s leading civil rights and community development organizations; and the 77 Prosperity Now Community Champions, our network of key leaders in advancing strong and effective programs and policies. We have engaged these partners in advocacy on a range of issues over the past year, including efforts to push for equitable tax reform, safeguard the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and defend critical safety net programs from being weakened or cut entirely.
- Leveraged our rebrand to restructure and deepen our engagement with the Prosperity Now Community. Since rebranding, Community membership has grown significantly from 1,665 to nearly 23,000!
- Worked with number of policymakers, including Senators Corey Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), and Dean Heller (NV) as well as Representatives Norma Torres (CA), Joseph Crowley (NY), and Keith Ellison (MN) to be champions of policies that will help low and moderate income families get ahead: across all of our work—expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); strengthening the VITA program; supporting manufactured housing as an affordable housing option for families; providing children with a nest egg for their education through Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs); and creating a more equitable, inclusive credit market.
- Saved Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) from a 50 percent budget cut by mobilizing members of the Taxpayer Opportunity Network Collectively, we engaged over 50 organizations represented by House Appropriations Committee Members, including organizations in the critical states of New Jersey and Georgia, where key House leadership serves.
- Helped introduce the bipartisan Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Permanence Act, which would both permanently authorize VITA as well as increase the overall level of funding the program could receive.
Racial Wealth Divide
- Strengthened the leadership, capacity, and access to networks and resources for 21 organizations through our Building High Impact Nonprofits of Color project in Baltimore, Chicago, Miami and New Orleans.
- Expanded the reach of this work by adding 12 new organizations by launching two new cohorts in Dallas, Texas and Wilmington, Delaware.
- Through the African American Financial Capability Initiative project, we established six Communities of Practice comprising African American-led organizations in the Northwest (Des Moines, Minneapolis, Portland, St. Paul, Seattle and Tacoma) to develop tailored pilots to strengthen asset-building services, sharpen policy advocacy strategies and grow leadership capacity within each local community. Over the year, each community of practice developed the infrastructure needed to launch their projects, created a collective narrative to inspire collaboration for collective impact, and increased visibility around their key issue areas to increase their ability to address challenges of racial economic inequality.
Savings and Financial Capability
- Released the comprehensive new resource – Financial Coaching Program Design Guide: A Participant-Centered Approach – that will support organizations in developing a participant-centered financial coaching program. The approach to the development of this resource focused on elevating lesser-heard voices from the field and was grounded in a field survey, interviews, expert advice and beta-testing.
- Shined a new light on the financial needs of young workers through Beyond the Next Paycheck: Creating Opportunities for Young Workers to Thrive, an important new report that shines a light on the financial needs of young workers.
- Supported the integration of financial capability services into other programs by working intensively with more than 40 different organizations across the country through 11 different cohorts and one virtual learning community of Head Start programs.
- Partnered with five foster care agencies to develop better tools and services to help you aging out of foster care to build credit and shared our lessons in a brief.
State and Local Policy
- Expanded our direct and grassroots advocacy in 19 states and supported partners in 25 states. Of the 11 direct actions we took on legislation, as of October 2018, five have passed. We were influential on a range of topics, everything from supporting CSAs to limiting harmful wage garnishments to regulating paid tax preparers.
- Strengthened and expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by supporting campaigns in three states. This included writing letters of support on behalf of our organization, engaging our networks with action toolkits to collect stories and launching online campaigns to make it easy for individuals to support policy proposals.
- Released research that helped advance our work at the local level, including A State Policy Blueprint and Primer and Whose Bad Choices? How Policy Precludes Prosperity and What We Can Do About It.
- Helped spur the creation of the Nevada Legislature’s Task Force on Financial Security to recommend legislation specifically targeted at improving financial security throughout the state. During the course of the Task Force’s work, the team shared data from the Prosperity Now Scorecard for the state of Nevada and several of its localities, presented various policy options to achieve these goals, and ultimately saw a recommendation to eliminate or significantly raise the state’s current asset limits for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program included in the Task Force’s final report.