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Child Development Accounts / 529 College Savings Plans: Panel Discussion

October 8, 2015

Child Development Accounts / 529 College Savings Plans: Panel Discussion

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

Margaret Clancy: Thanks to everybody. I’ll ask you some questions and then I’m going to open it up to the audience because I want to make sure everybody has time ask their questions. Gloria, you were talking about within the statement that comes from a census that you promote other beyond policy services. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about those services and then maybe about the financial resource that’s newly announced how that supports this money that’s $500 that’s set aside for every child.

Gloria Brainsby: Absolutely. Okay, so in terms of other services, Beyond Housing, it ranges from after school programming to recreational sports league, food pantry services, match savings accounts, home buyer education, foreclosure services. I mean it really runs the gamut. You know, at this point, Beyond Housing doesn’t have a meaningful way to track how many people that we serve or accessing one or more of our services. And we’re actually in the process of getting a platform to do so called Apricot for those of you in the room who may use that, come see me, I could use some advice. But we know anecdotally that it happens because you start to recognize families. Or you meet them at like the first Friday event, which is a movie in a local park, just trying to make a community a better place to live, right? Having these sorts of events. And they’ll say, oh, my child has a promise account, or you recognize that, you know, from other service that we offer, so. We know it’s happening, the next step is tracking it.

Margaret Clancy: Great, thanks.

Clint Kugler: And that from a census, that service that’s something that’s in play for us as well. They allow us to create local content. So, that there’s context that connects with the families that are receiving the information. How many of you have opened a financial statement and be like, what does all this mean, disclosures and all of this stuff? How about opening it up and you have that information to know what it is, but then you’re also hearing and receiving those messages that are local and they’re about savings, and they’re about the power of assets. And they’re about that people believe in your child and want to come alongside as you as a family to help your child be successful. That’s part of the identity piece.

Margaret Clancy: Okay. So, staying on those kind of specifics about communicating with families, Linda brought up the VistaShare or census partnership that was announced recently. And Indiana, Providence, Indiana is going to be the pilot, I understand. So, can you share, Clint, any possibilities for what you might be working on from a technological standpoint that might enhance a family’s experience?

Clint Kugler: Yeah, just if anybody is having specific questions about this after Dave Smucker. Dave’s in the back, raise your hand, Dave’s with VistaShare. VistaShare for those of you that don’t know, have been working within that CSA bank models for a long time. Work with kindergarten to college and others. New to the 529, new to the census and we’ve been in great discussions about what it looks like in terminology. What is an Omnibus account and how does that behave? You know, connected with the 529 piece. And so, we’re still in that process. The timeline that we have right now is that we’ll be bringing on one of our pilot communities to six floor that and then in the spring be rolling all of those into that platform.

Margaret Clancy: Okay, thank you. Linda, we talked, sometimes we talk, especially at the college savings plans network conferences when the states are presenting innovations or work that’s being done, talking about gifting and how to get more money flowing into 529 accounts. If the family maybe doesn’t have money to save, or even if they do, that more money can flow from other sources. So, can you talk a little bit about the gifting, how that works for in Nevada and then I’ll ask Lynn too, since your platform is a little bit different?

Linda English: Sure. Again, you keep saying a census, a census, a census, but a census has a product called You Gift and we use that quite a bit with our plans. It’s very easy, folks can go out. They get, you set up a code for your beneficiary and then you give that code to family members, friends, you put it on, you know, graduation announcements. And it can very easily electronically submit money using that code to a particular beneficiary. So, they do everything they can to make it really easy to get friends and family to contribute into accounts.

Margaret Clancy: Is it similar as UESP, Lynn, or did you want to add anything?

Lynne Ward: We have a similar program. We don’t have a cool name for it though, we have to come up with that. Anyone has ideas, let me know. But, yeah, it’s we do provide a unique code so the account owner doesn’t have to disclose the account number to, you know, even the family, but to friends as well. They are able to put the giver of the money can write that code on a check and mail that in, it goes to the right account, of course. They can also do the online transfer out of their checking or savings account into the UESP account using that code. So, we’re trying to make it really easy for people. We also have something called Special Occasion Contributions. And it’s a little variation of the gifting. And that is for the account owner when they log in all their accounts are listed on the screen. And this idea came from a Legislator in our state, and remember this is Utah. He said, I have 18 grandkids, you’re trying to get me to contribute for Christmas and birthdays, or other holidays, or other special events. So, we created what we call Special Occasion Contributions. So, when he logs in, his 18 accounts are listed there and he can write in, or you know, type in the dollar amount to contribute for a birthday, December holiday, or other occasion. And then a week before that date, we push an email out to him that says, remember you’re going to contribute $50. It’s kind of a little reminder, remember you had the 50 bucks in your savings account, so it doesn’t bounce, and it’ll be transferred over to Johnny’s UESP account. That’s also a little trigger that, like oh, okay, I remember now this is Johnny’s birthday coming up. So, if they want to buy another present, or give a card, or whatever, make sure they have a party. That’s another little reminder, but it makes it very easy for people to contribute. It’s, you know, the autopilot type of thing and it’s worked great for him and for others.

Clint Kugler: Can I share one local gifting opportunity?

Margaret Clancy: Oh, sure, please.

Clint Kugler: So, the Asset Funders Network newsletter that just came out, if you’re part of the Asset Funders Network Group, just featured on the Providence, Indiana pilot community’s Jay County, they’re a first year pilot. They are a rural community, Indiana is a rural state. Seventy-six of our 92 counties have less than 50,000 residents in them, so we’re rural. But these guys are really rural. And so, to make it special, all of the students in their four grade level cohort received their promise piggy bank, it’s OPIG, so that in October they’re collecting their champion gifts, they put them in, the kids put their money in the piggy banks and then they bring them back in and they’re doing a ceremonial deal. This is totally Indiana. They were bringing a livestock trailer to the school, to the different schools. They’re loading the pigs on the livestock trailer. They’re taking the trailer to the community foundation, which they’ll do an accounting of the contributions, cash or checks and then a check and roster will be spent to deposit into those kid’s activities. They’re making it a big deal. Now, I don’t, I’ve never seen a clean livestock trailer. I haven’t asked, this community has to figure out those logistics, but it’s making it special and creating opportunities for kids to get excited about putting their dollars, and about the dollars that people that are saying to them through this assets in a concrete form, your life matters.

Margaret Clancy: And this cash transaction is that unique to that county?

Clint Kugler: Other counties are doing that within in the context of our model with their financial partner, their fiscal sponsor. Within each pilot community has a convener. This is a point that I missed about our model that I think is important. The YMCA does not own the Wabash County promise in our community. We recognize it as if this was going to create change, culture change, that it had to be owned by the schools. Jason Callahan, superintendent of Wabash City schools is with me, he’s in the back there. This would be owned by community foundation, economic development, the city, faith community. It has to be owned by all of these people. We serve the role as a convener, and each of the pilot communities have a convener and a fiscal agent. Their convener can be United Way, in some cases it’s the school district. It could be a YMCA or another nonprofit, but somebody who’s going to coordinate the delivery of the work. In this case, that coordination included livestock trailers.

Margaret Clancy: Okay. I love the idea of loading the pigs up without any of the mess, right?

Clint Kugler: Yes.