Growing Your Child Account Program: Funding and Policy Opportunities: Carl Rist

October 8, 2015

Carl Rist, Director of Children's Savings and Senior Advisor—Asset-Building, CFED

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Below is a full transcript of this video presentation. It has not been edited or reviewed for accuracy or readability.

Carl Rist: Here we go. Good afternoon, everyone. Can you hear me? Well, I want to join Benita and Colleen in first of all thanking Michael and Margaret and your colleagues at CST for helping to organize this. And of course, Ray and The Fed for helping to organize and host us here. It’s a beautiful facility. I also have to like to thank Ray so much because we were given a limit of three power point slides and I sent Ray four of them the other day. And Ray did not cut one of my slides. So, you’re such a good friend. So, thanks for doing that. I promise I won’t go over my time limit. And I do want to thank the rest of you for being here. This is a great gathering of folks. We are here at, this is one of the, you know, this is where the CFED heartbeat is almost largest in this country along with San Francisco and Maine. You’ve got the work that Michael’s done for so many years in CSD here in St. Louis. The work that Ray now is looking at the Fed, Federal Reserve Bank here. Treasurer Jones and the new College Kids is a great new initiative. And then of course the work that Beyond Housing has been doing you heard about in the last panel. And even the small five schools that Wells Fargo’s supporting with the children savings accounts. So, this is one of the real hot beds of CFED activity. And you’re fortunate to all be here.

So, if you know CFED and if you heard the comments from my colleague Ezra Levin you know that we’ve got an active public policy agenda to support. Children savings accounts and other asset building tools at the Federal, State, and local level. But I’m going to talk about something different. I’m going to pick up on where Colleen went and really zoom in on this issue of private dollars supporting children’s savings accounts.

So, we’ve been working with asset building programs starting with IBA programs and then later children savings programs to help them get off the ground, succeed, and grow. And one thing we’ve known from the very beginning is one of the critical missing pieces or, or needed pieces is dollars to match those savings of kids, right? That’s one of the main constraints of any match savings program. And so for years, our founder Bob Friedman who many of you know, had this idea like, how do we unleash private dollars to support match savings? How could we do that? And so a little less than three years ago we’ve launched this new initiative called the 1:1 Fund that I’m going to talk to you about.

So, here we go. So, what is the 1:1 Fund? So, the 1:1 Fund is sort of fully capitalize and conceived by CFED. It is a fundraising and marketing platform that supports the college dreams of low-income kids by ensuring that those dreams are matched with savings in the bank. And the way we do that is we make it easy for local children’s savings programs to raise money from private donors large and small, enabling those donors to match young students saving and children’s savings accounts. So, and you can see our logo here, this is from our website. So, essentially it’s kind of, donate, motivate, educate. So, we’re asking donors to donate money to children’s savings programs. And by saying that I should say this is not like save the children where donors are donating to like, a particular child, adopting a child. This is donors choosing a particular program. And we’ve got many of them in the room that are 1:1 fund partners including K to C, I Have A Dream Fund. I’ll show you the map in a second.

Female: In Mississippi.

Carl Rist: And essentially donors – what’s that?

Female: And Mississippi.

Carl Rist: Mississippi. I’ll mention all of them in a second. I’ve got [unintelligible 00:02:47]. So, we’re raising dollars for programs. And those programs then, by donating those programs then those donors are motivating kids to sign up for accounts and save for college. And then as they save for college essentially they’re helping to educate themselves by having more dollars. And all the relationships we know that occur between having savings and kids being more likely to go to college and graduate. So, that’s kind of the big picture of how it works.

Let me zip down to slide four that luckily didn’t get cut. So, this is a picture of our website. Okay? And this looks—in fact we consciously designed this to look like a lot of the new crowd funding sites you’ll see out there. So, it’s heavy on visuals and stories and pictures of kids. We’ve got our Donate button up top real big there along with ways to sign and learn more about the 1:1 Fund. And if you look at the navigation bar there’s like a home button and then there’s like an about. Really, the main focus of the 1:1 Fund site is this Choose A Program button there. And I can’t show you that because I would be way over my slide limit, right? But if you go that link there, actually, if you had a—I’m sorry, Ray. If you’ve got a mobile phone you can, you pull the 1:1 fund up on your phone right now. We’re fully mobily optimized. And so if you link on Choose A Program you’ll see our nine 1:1 Fund partners right now that are listed there. And you can link on any of those partners, learn more about them, and make a donation to that site. The key thing here in terms of value add that we provide from the 1:1 fund is we provide this new avenue to engage local donors in your community, right? And Amanda Feinstein who’s not here, from Oakland, I think she had to leave early. But as one of our advisors on the 1:1 Fund Advisory Committee she talks a lot about really democratizing the process of asset building. So, this is a way to gauge all kinds of donors in your community, large and small donors, to support kids in their community saving for their future. So, it’s number one, this new avenue. Number two, we provide an easy way to set up a dynamic child savings fundraising campaigns. And I’ll say a little bit more about these campaigns in a second. Third, we provide tools and templates and primarily a tool kit to our partners to help them make their fundraising campaigns more effective. And I probably should stop right here by saying that when we first built the 1:1 Fund, you know, we figured, oh, we build it, they will come. But it’s certainly not that way. And if anybody that knows fundraising the old fashion fundraising or now online fundraising. It’s all about ‘the ask’. You’ve got to make ‘the ask’ the folks. And so we’ve been very conscious now about building these four times a year fundraising campaigns for our partners. We just completed a Back to School fundraising campaign. We’ll do one again for Giving Tuesday which is going to be one of our biggest fundraising campaigns. So, we organize the campaigns, we build tool kits, we train our partners. These took kits have like, sample tweets, sample blogposts, Facebook messages, along with e-mail messages you can send out. So, it’s kind of a pretty much made to order thing so our partners, it makes it easy on them to get the message out to their donors to drive them to the website. At CFED, so we don’t have a big huge list ourselves as donors. We really rely on partners who are willing to be our partners and engage their own lists of people, their own sort of donor lists to reach out to folks. And we can amplify that with CFEDs own communications resources. But we’re not the sole, sort of, source of people to reach out to.

We also have been able to raise some dollars that are not dedicated to any one particular program. This is our National Match pool. And so for the last several campaigns, for every dollar our partner raises we’ve been able to match that with national dollars to sort of augment their local fundraising campaigns. So, when possible we provide these additional incentives to our partners. And then the last thing is, of course, as you may guess, so donors that make a contribution also get a charitable donation by donating to the 1:1 Fund. So, we think it’s a pretty neat model here. We make it easy for partners to join. On the partner side again, what we’re asking for is folks who have a children’s savings program with at least fifty savers with more than fifty percent of those kids low income. And again we’re asking them to really unleash their own kind of lists and resources to reach out to their own community to reach donors. So, let me back up here then. Can I go back? Yeah. So, here’s where our partners are across the country. So, our original two partners were KTC which is our biggest partner by far in San Francisco. And also Mississippi earnestly, one of our key, one of our original partners. We’ve also got – if you look on the map there from east going west. So, we have what was Fuel Education where is the name, we’ve got to change the logo here, right? So, it’s now in versant. We had three partners in New York City including a small community based program called Credit Do. A larger program, the Children’s Aid Society in New York City. And then the “I Have a Dream” Foundation whereas Laura write which has a site in New York City along with a site in Iowa and also Portland. One of our new – actually our newest site is here in St. Louis with College Kids which launched by the Treasurer. And then Linda in Nevada are also one of our sites along with another program in California known as College Track. Those are our nine partners. We plan to grow to maybe between 12 to 15 by the end of the year. So, we’re actively seeking new partners with the 1:1 Fund. Let me say a bit – am I doing okay on time? Okay.

Let me say a bit about what we’ve done. So, this is just our impact numbers for 2014. So last year we raised a little more than 280,000 dollars and reached 279 separate donors across the country. That supported 2,000 students who themselves saved more than 1.3 million in their college savings accounts, or children’s savings accounts. In total in the three years since we’ve launched we’ve now raised a little bit over a million dollars for kids. So, it’s not huge dollars but these are real dollars. I should also mention a new partnership we’ve launched with Prudential Foundation and the Prudential Corporation. Is anybody here from D.C.? Who’s from D.C.? There’s probably more than that. So, there we go. Yeah. So, in D.C. – so, Prudential has launched this thing called the ‘Race for Retirement’ campaign. And you wonder what that’s got – okay, two minutes. You may wonder what that has to do with children savings. But the whole theme of this campaign is making sure people understand that small actions in the present lead to long term goals. And so the 1:1 Fund is their college marketing partner in this race for retirement campaign which includes an actual 4.01K road race that was supposed to take place last week but got rained out in D.C., has been rescheduled. So, for everyone that signs up, and I hope all the DC folks that sign up for the race for retirement, 25 dollars is donated to the 1:1 Fund. So, we’ll be receiving a big check from Prudential to increase these unrestricted dollars with the 1:1 Fund that we can use in match our local partners. So, we think we’ve done pretty well in a couple years but want to keep growing the 1:1 Fund. Actually I think I’m—that’s about it. It’s – yeah. So, I will stop there. Thank you everybody.

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