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Universal Savings and Asset-Building Initiative

Prosperity Now

  • Program Education
  • Program Area Graduating High School College & Career Ready
  • Grant Amount $300,000
  • Grant Period January 1, 2003–December 31, 2003
  • Location Washington, DC, United States
  • Geographic Focus United States

About this grant

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are an increasingly popular strategy to help lower-income families save money and acquire productive assets. All but three states have passed some form of legislation to permit and finance state and local IDA programs. In 1998, the federal government established the Assets for Independence demonstration program, allocating $125 million over five years for IDAs. These policies have helped boost the number of IDA programs and account holders nationally. As of March 2001, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) estimated that there were approximately 10,000 account holders in more than 400 IDA programs nationally. Compared to when IDAs began back in 1992, the growth in the field has been exponential. Yet, at the current scale, only one out of 10,000 people eligible for an IDA is being served. The current challenge facing this field is determining how to finance and deliver this mechanism at scale over the long term.Funding will enable the CFED to develop and promote state and federal asset-building policies for lower-income Americans. Given bipartisan support for IDAs, primary importance will be placed on translating that support into a federal policy capable of financing and delivering these accounts at scale over the long term. To realize this goal, CFED will engage in a series of complementary activities, including policy development, policymaker education, coalition building, strategic communications, research, and technical assistance and training.