I’m often inspired by the innovative ideas being developed to help low-income families meet both present and future needs. One example I recently shared highlighted community gardens that provide fresh food to low-income neighborhoods in Tulsa. Today, I’m drawing inspiration from the economic seeds being planted through San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College (K2C) program.
Launched in 2011 by the City and County of San Francisco, K2C is the first publicly funded, universal children’s savings account program in the country. Operated through the city’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), the program ensures every kindergarten student in the San Francisco Unified School District is automatically enrolled in a College Savings Account. Accounts are seeded with $50 provided by the city-county government, with students enrolled in the National School Lunch Program receiving an additional $50.
Accounts are designed to make contributing as easy as possible by allowing relatives and extended family to deposit money by mail, online, or in person. There is no minimum deposit amount required, so families can give what they can afford, when they can afford it. Partnerships with local foundations, organizations and businesses also provide matching funds for promotions that encourage families to save regularly and speed the growth of account balances.
The program is still relatively new but the results so far are encouraging. As of 2012, over (more…)
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For the first time in years, I skipped Black Friday. I’m usually out there with the best of them, looking for discounts and enjoying the chaos. So no disrespect to brave souls who faced the crowds this year, but I couldn’t bring myself to tackle the early morning mayhem. There were some perks to sitting it out. It not only felt good to sleep in, but it gave me time to examine what I really wanted to do with my money and time this holiday season. That isn’t to say I stayed home all day. I was out that afternoon, visiting friends and tending to the necessities of life, like getting a tire fixed. So giving up on Black Friday was not an attempt to fend off the approach of carols and decorations, so much as it was an effort to reprioritize things. I want to take part in the Season, but on different terms this time.
Then on the way to work yesterday, on the sleepy Monday morning following a four day weekend, I heard a story that renewed my interest in post-Thanksgiving traditions. NPR was reporting on the first ever Giving Tuesday. More than 1,400 groups are launching an event to kick-off the holiday giving season, and it starts today. While I am usually skeptical of “new” traditions, I hope this one catches on. Corporate marketing has given us Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and even Cyber Monday, each an attempt to boost participation and bring in revenue. However, the shopping casts a shadow on other priorities, so reinventing how we promote and practice the holiday tradition of charity is probably long overdue. (more…)
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Last week, CAP was excited to welcome the IDEO.org team to Tulsa. Since the kick-off meeting last Tuesday, they have been getting to know more about CAP programs, the families we serve and the city of Tulsa in general. (Also of note: I hear our visitors have been introduced to Oklahoma BBQ, which as most of you know, is an important piece of our cultural heritage.) But most importantly, over the next several weeks, they will be analyzing the needs of CAP’s clients to help us maximize the likelihood families will take advantage of the opportunities we offer to tackle inter-generational poverty.
By taking a two-generation approach to breaking the cycle of poverty, CAP not only seeks to provide quality early childhood education but also actively engage parents and offer services that benefit the entire family. Through services such as Free Tax Preparation, CareerAdvance ® and the First-Time Homebuyer’s Program, CAP has already become a leader in maximizing earned income and building assets. However, there is always more we can learn, which is where IDEO.org comes in.
IDEO.org was born out of a desire to better serve clients in the social sector. (more…)
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Karissa Coltman, SaveUSA Research Coordinator and Tax Program Operations Specialist, is our May guest blogger.
In a tough economy where so many hard working families are barely making ends meet, it might seem strange to ask “What are you saving for?”. Yet this is exactly the question asked of and answered by 702 families this year in Tulsa who enrolled in SaveUSA. They have been given the opportunity to have 50 cents of each dollar they saved matched in a special savings incentive research study. This savings incentive opportunity was offered at tax time to income eligible families in four cities across the country, including Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The program which is also offered in New York City, Newark, NJ, and San Antonio, TX, just completed its second tax time enrollment period where tax payers with dependants making $50,000 or less and tax payers with no dependents making $25,000 or less were given an opportunity to set aside a portion of their refund (a minimum of $200) into a special savings account with an opportunity to receive a 50 cent deposit matching each dollar they saved at tax time, up to $500, on February 1,2013.
Community Action Project of Tulsa County is one of the research sites tracking two randomly assigned sets of participants, a program group that had the opportunity to open the matched savings account, and a regular filers group that did not. Researchers hope to determine over a 3 to 5 year period whether there is any significant difference between the program group with an incentive to save part of their refund and the regular filers group. The study is in its second of three programmatic years, and will follow participants for a total of five years to determine long term impact of an incentive to save. (more…)
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Global Gardens teacher Symon (left); helps Ryan and Andrea (right) shape an earthen oven during a summer program at Rosa Parks Elementary School on Tuesday. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Today’s Tulsa World included a great article about the Global Gardens summer program at Rosa Parks Elementary School. For those who don’t know Global Gardens uses gardening and hands-on science to empower low-income kids and communities. Here in Tulsa it has done just that! The program at Rosa Parks faced the challenge of providing meals to participants after the schools Summer Food Program closes at the end of June. In previous years, program staff made meals on a single hot plate. From my own college experience, I know it can be difficult to make a meal for one or two people on a hot plate, let alone 20 kids plus program staff. While brainstorming what to do to solve this problem one of the kids in the program suggested an earthen oven like those his family in Mexico uses to cook enchiladas, tamales, and even bread. The staff looked into the idea and put the plan into action. Soon, they will have a fully functioning earthen oven in their communal garden.
The one thing that really struck me about this story was how program staff included participants in the problem-solving process and also in the follow through. This really highlights how programs like Global Gardens empower kids. It teaches them how to face challenges head on and implement solutions, which is a valuable lesson for every person to learn, not just low-income children. It also seems that the program is fostering a desire to improve their communities, which is demonstrated in two quotes from participants.
First, from Erendira a fifth grader: (more…)
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As many of our regular readers know, the Innovation Lab acts as CAP’s research and development team. We develop deep understandings about our clients, research promising new practices and theories, and work with partners to develop new programs and services. Over the last couple of years, the Innovation Lab has launched several exciting programs to serve CAP families. Our workforce development program, CareerAdvance, is currently expanding thanks to a $10 million grant from HHS. Another program, Healthy Women, Health Futures, is an interconceptional health program for the mother’s of children enrolled in one of CAP’s early childhood education centers.
Now, that you are all thinking, “Wow! How cool would it be to work there!” I am excited to tell you that we are adding to our team. We are looking for a new Program Development Coordinator. This newly created position will be responsible for developing and launching pilot programs that derive from the agency’s Adult Strategy. The person hired should have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in political science, management, social work, communications or a related field, a minimum of 3 years implementation or program management experience, and supervisory experience. Experience in successful program design and working with low-income populations are also strongly preferred.
If you or someone you know, fits this description, click here to read the full job description and apply through CAP’s online application process.
To learn more about working at CAP, click here.
To learn more about the Innovation Lab, click here.
To learn more about CAP, click here.
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Posted in Innovation on July 30, 2010 |
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Hi, my name is Elizabeth, and I am a Millennial.
But, what does being a Millennial mean? According to the Pew Research Center, it means American teens and twenty-somethings are ”confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.” Receptive to new ideas, that is the one that I have been struggling with over the past couple of weeks since I first saw the research. Does this mean the Millennial Generation is more innovative? I am not entirely sold on this idea. Previous generations have done some pretty innovative things. I mean, Al Gore did invent the Internet, without which this blog would not be possible. I kid. But, really, previous generations have cured diseases, sent people to the moon, and developed technologies that allow for instant intercontinental communication. So, can you really say one generation is more innovative than another?
In hopes of gaining some clarity – and increasing comments – I am posing these question to the readers of this blog:
- Do you think generational differences have an effect on social innovation?
- Do different generations approach social innovation differently?
- Do they define social innovation differently?
- Is one generation inherently more socially innovative than another?
All insights are welcome! If my questions only raise more questions, feel free to post those too!
To gain more insight into what it means to be a Millennial, click here.
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Yes, you read the title correctly, and no, I am not making this up. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been up to my ears in research on innovative approaches to serving underbanked communities. One of those innovative approaches is using sources of entertainment such as video games and television shows to deliver financial education to adults. Financial education is an important element to moving the underbanked into the financial mainstream because it address the information gap that can act as a barrier to greater use of mainstream financial services. But financial education is not always delivered in a way that is accessible or engaging to the underbanked community. Doorways to Dreams (D2D) has launched two financial education video games — Celebrity Calamity and Groove Nation – to reach out to the younger portion of the underbanked community. The games teach players lessons about credit card usage and the importance budgeting through a series of game related situations. But, the video game approach still requires the participant to take the initial step of seeking out financial education.
Nuestro Barrio, on the other hand, targets the Latino portion of the underbanked community that may not seek out financial education for various reasons. The Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (CRA-UNC) designed the show in a way that would deliver targeted financial education to the Latino community without individuals having to seek it out from financial institutions or community organizations. Because the show is distributed through commercial television stations, the show and therefore the information is much more accessible. Over the course of 13 episodes, viewers learn about homeownership, credit, predatory lending, and financial services through the experiences of Latinos on the show. When I first read about the program, I wondered if it would really work. Could viewers attracted to a show for its entertainment value really learn and retain financial literacy from a telenovela? Research from the Center for Community Capital at UNC suggests it does work. Researchers found that the show was appealing to viewers, led to increased financial literacy, and induced behavioral change.
To read the full results of the Nuestro Barrio research from the Center for Community Capital click here.
To learn more about Nuestro Barrio click here.
For more information about Doorways to Dreams financial education games click here.
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Posted in Innovation, Stories on November 20, 2009 |
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This past week I attended the Southwest Regional Leadership Forum hosted by the Sarkey’s Foundation in Norman, OK. I honestly didn’t expect to come back completely re-energized and inspired to take on the world… but I did. One thing I’ve learned recently from the book Made to Stick by the Dan Heath and Chip Heath is that there is elegance in brevity and simplicity. So rather than give you my entire 2-day rambling brain dump, I am going to share some links and insights with you concerning the key speakers. I need to save some other stuff for other posts! (more…)
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So, awhile back we posted about our experience at the Boston Fablab and how we might work to bring one to Tulsa. Well, fast forward and Kendall Whittier Inc is seriously pursuing the idea of putting one in the KW neighborhood. There will be a community presentation on Oct 5 at 7pm at Educare at 2511 E. 5th Pl. Please join us if you can make it, Micah and I will be there in a supporting role to share our experiences and help answer any questions about what this could do for the KW community and potentially Tulsa. The Tulsa World did a piece on it in yesterday’s paper. Check it out!
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