Community Bulletin: Launch of the New Local Scorecard Data and the Health Wealth Network

From the Guest Editor  

Dear Community Partners and Friends,

As an economic development practitioner, I often encounter many challenges when it comes to finding reliable data at the local level that will guide my decision-making process. Thus, I am celebrating the release of Prosperity Now’s Local Scorecard Data. Whether you are a seasoned community-based organization professional, an elected official, or a concerned citizen, using this valuable and accessible tool will help you give your community a voice. Furthermore, the wealth of information in the Scorecard will assist you in proving that poverty, which has many angles and faces, hurts Americans.

I have used (and will continue to use) local data as a planning and advocacy tool because:

  • Putting data into the appropriate context provides me with information that helps to identify and address current and future community needs.
  • This information translates into knowledge that helps me connect economic development policies to communities.
  • This combination of data, information, and knowledge advances our story-telling efforts by drawing upon a combination of statistics and anecdotal evidence.
  • Local data supports and advances our fundraising efforts to show that there is a demonstrated need for evidence-based approaches to economic development.

In other words, this tool helps us change misconceptions and eliminate policies that perpetuate poverty while bringing the message home. Using the Local Scorecard Data can help to advance your mission and make your community a better place to live, work, and do business in.

In Partnership,

Rodolfo Acosta-Pérez
Director of Family Empowerment, Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico

Prosperity Now Community Steering Committee Member 

Editor's note: If you have resources, updates or stories you’d like to see featured in future Community Bulletins, share them with us at Community@prosperitynow.org.

Highlights

Introducing the Health and Wealth Network!

The Prosperity Now Community is happy to announce the launch of our newest network: the Health and Wealth Network! This is a place for practitioners, advocates and researchers to collectively explore innovative practices and policies that could improve the financial, physical and emotional well-being of individuals and families. if you want to join the dialogue and stay informed on this work, join the Health and Wealth Network today!

Poverty and financial insecurity have been proven to have negative impacts on the mental and physical health of an individual. At the same time, healthcare costs have also been shown to lead to financial stress and instability for individuals and families. Learn more in the latest blog post. In both scenarios, communities of color are disproportionately affected and further widens the racial wealth divide. This important cyclical connection needs more attention and if you are interested in improving the financial, physical, and mental health of your community, we invite you to join the Health and Wealth Network.

Insights from Five Youth Workforce Organizations on Developing Youth Financial Capability Programs

Five national youth workforce organizations, Genesys Works, Juma Ventures, NPower, STRIVE International and Urban Alliance, partnered with Prosperity Now and Citi Foundation to launch the Youth Financial Capability Fund (YFCF), a train-the-trainer model that engaged practitioners to help design and implement financial capability services. These organizations provide paid work experiences, mentoring, training and professional development for young people between ages 16-24 – many of whom are disconnected from education and employment opportunities. Since this project launched in 2017, there have been many insights on what can help groups develop financial capability programs which are shared in the new brief, From Paychecks to Prosperity.

2019 Local Scorecard Data is Available Now

Earlier this month, we released the latest updates to the local data Scorecard. This comprehensive data tool allows advocates, practitioners and policymakers to identify the state of financial security within their local communities and strengthen their efforts to advocate and implement the policy changes necessary for greater economic opportunity. This update includes data for the city, county, metro area, tribal area and congressional district levels, all of which can be found on the Scorecard website. The local data profile can be downloaded into a PDF for you to share with policymakers, partners, coalition members and funders and includes new information on local policy solutions, how to get involved in federal actions for congressional district profiles and a write-up on the unique attributes of building financial empowerment in Native communities within the tribal area profiles.

As part of this launch, Prosperity Now also released a new brief that dives into the data and describes how important it is to connect local issues with local solutions because even in one state, the needs and challenges of the various communities will differ. Analyzing local data is also important to examine what the racial wealth divide looks like and identify the contributing factors. The brief explores all these issues by looking at how several cities have taken on this work through innovative programs and policies across three general themes: emergency savings, affordable housing and the connections between health and financial well-being.

If you are interested in learning more about these updates, and are interested in learning how to utilize the data and policies to advocate for your local community, we invite you to watch the recording of the Prosperity Now Local Scorecard Data Launch Webinar. In this webinar, Prosperity Now’s Policy and Research teams provide an overview of the scorecard data, share best practices for advocacy engagement and discuss how to use the Municipal Policy Blueprint to make your case. We were also joined by Community Steering Committee member, Andrenecia Morris, the President and Chairwoman of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, who shared her insights and personal experience using local data to advocate for the needs of her community.

The detailed data in the local Scorecard makes it easier for you to understand the challenges facing your community. This data can be used to tell a story, make a case, and advocate for the policies that would have the greatest impact on your communities. We are also here to answer any questions you might have about the Scorecard. Just email Scorecard@prosperitynow.org.

Resources from Across the Community

Lifting the Weight: Solving the Consumer Debt Crisis | Aspen Epic
This report identifies seven consumer debt issues that create financial insecurity and further widen the racial wealth divide.

Identifying the Financial Needs of People with Disabilities in Local Communities |National Disability Institute
This brief describes how analyzing disability specific data and mobilizing local partners are methods of identifying financial needs of people with disabilities at the local level.

Promise Accounts: Matched Savings to Help Families Get Ahead | Prosperity Now
This policy proposal advocates for the creation of Promise Accounts, which would incentivize working families to build medium-term savings.

2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book | Annie E. Casey Foundation
The data book explores the experiences and current state of America’s child population across health, education, family, community and economic well-being.

Enterprise Communities Plus | Prosperity Now
This brief provides an overview of the housing development pilot program, Enterprise Community Plus, including information about the participants and lessons learned.

Redesigning the Financial Roadmap for the Low-to-Moderate Income 50+ Segment| Financial Health Network (formerly CFSI) and AARP Foundation
This report identifies unique financial challenges and burdens facing older low-to-moderate income individuals in the U.S.

Opportunities and Events

Opportunities 

Take Our Survey: Here’s your chance to make sure Prosperity Now is focusing on what you want and need. Please complete our annual Community Survey by Monday, July 29, 2019. This survey will help us better understand who is in the Community, what your priorities are and how you’ve used our resources.  

Jobs

Director of Applied Research | Woodstock Institute| Chicago, IL 

Director of Applied Research | Prosperity Now | Washington, DC

Learning Manager | The Prosperity Agenda | Seattle, WA or Philadelphia, PA

Financial Access Educator | Capital One | Chicago, IL       

Financial Access Educator | Capital One | Los Angeles, CA  

Events            

Webinar Series: Camp Prosperity Advocacy Summer Camp  | Prosperity Now | July 30 2019

Webinar Series: Financial Coaching Bi-Monthly Peer CallProsperity Now | August 22, 2019  

Webinar Series: Savings Network Webinar  | Prosperity Now | September 10, 2019

VITACON 2019 | Prosperity Now | Denver, CO | September 10-11, 2019

Rural Rise Summit | Rural Rise | Pine Bluff, AR | September 16–19, 2019  

Common Cents Conference 2019 | Common Cents Conference | Fairfax, VA | September 17–18, 2019 

Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference | Center for Community Progress | Atlanta, GA | October 2-4, 2019 

Pathways to Prosperity Conference | The Collaborative | Raleigh, NC | October 29 – 30, 2019

Midwest Asset Building Conference | Detroit, MI | November 13-14, 2019

Homes Within Reach Conference | Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania | Harrisburg, PA | November 18 – 29, 2019 

I’M HOME Conference | Prosperity Now | Portland, OR | November 20, 2019

Policy Updates

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Maine passed LD 1671, which will increase the EITC from 5%to 12% of the federal credit. The bipartisan bill will lower the minimum age of eligibility for individuals without dependent children from 25 to 18 and increase their federal credit to 25%.

Accompanying this bill is Maine’s cost-of-living tax credit, LD 1491. This bill will assemble a working group with the purpose of learning about the most effective ways to connect the EITC with other state tax credits to create a Cost of Living tax credit. Those enrolled would have the option to receive monthly credit as apposed to a lump sum during tax season.

California State Budget

Governor Gavin Newsom signed California’s $215 billion-dollar budget for the 2019-2020 Fiscal year. Under this budget, the state is set to expand its EITC and raise the maximum qualifying income from $10,000 to $30,000. Other notable expansions in this bill include the increased spending for healthcare services, public education and higher education for residents of California.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Update

In last month’s bulletin, we celebrated the passing of bi-partisan bill, HR 1957 which made the VITA Program permanent. On July 1st, the President signed the bill which makes the Taxpayer First Act official law and will strengthen taxpayer rights and protections for the years to come.

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