Carl Rist

Senior Fellow

Carl Rist has spent over 20 years at Prosperity Now, working on a variety of strategies to expand economic opportunity and help lower-income households build wealth. Presently, Mr. Rist is the Senior Director for Children’s Savings and a Senior Advisor for Asset Building. In this capacity, Mr. Rist directs Prosperity Now efforts—including field building, public policy advocacy and consulting services—to ensure that more than a million low-income children have access to Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs). Previously, Mr. Rist launched and directed the 1:1 Fund, an online fundraising and marketing tool that makes it easy for CSA programs to raise matching funds from individual donors, large and small, thereby enabling these donors to match the contributions of young savers in CSAs.

Mr. Rist’s experience with CSAs also includes directing the SEED (Savings for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment) Policy and Practice Initiative (2003-2009), a multi-year, multi-site demonstration of matched savings accounts for children and youth in low-income families. In addition, Mr. Rist helped to design and implement an innovative partnership between UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the KIPP network of public charter schools and Prosperity Now to offer incentivized college savings accounts to KIPP students.

He is the co-author of numerous publications about children’s saving, including Hope in Concrete Form: Children’s Savings Accounts and the Save and Invest EconomyFrom Piggy Banks to Prosperity: A Guide to Implementing Children's Development Accounts and Children's Savings Accounts: A State Policy Sourcebook.

Prior to his work on children’s savings, Mr. Rist was responsible for Prosperity Now efforts to support state-level policy and coalition-building initiatives designed to expand Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and other asset-building tools. He led the development and design of the initial version of Prosperity Now's Scorecard (then known as the State Asset Development Report Card), a comprehensive tool that examines wealth, poverty and financial security across the 50 states and the District of Columbia using performance and policy measures. Mr. Rist's experience at the state level includes working with state task forces in both Delaware and Pennsylvania to develop recommendations for helping citizens, especially those with low incomes, to build and protect assets. Mr. Rist also has served in an advisory capacity for a number of state-level IDA coalitions, including the North Carolina IDA and Asset-Building Collaborative, the Michigan IDA Partnership, the South Carolina IDA Collaborative and the Mid-South IDA Initiative (Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi).

Mr. Rist earned an M.A. in public policy in 1991 from the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University. He also holds an undergraduate degree from Davidson College.