We had an important meeting today with about 20 people from local human service agencies, community banks, both local United Way offices, housing experts, and a couple of difficult-to-classify types (like me) to bring everyone up to speed on our efforts to launch some collaborative asset-building programs for low-income families in Berkshire County.
The turnout was encouraging, and people seemed to be engaged by the topic. Some had been participants in prior conversations to develop this asset-building initiative in our community, and some were new to the topic (or at least to our particular efforts).
As facilitator of the meeting, I tried to steer the conversation into enough detail to make it substantive without preventing opportunities for more general discussion about the various directions this initiative might take us.
To make a long story short, I think we’ve got pretty good buy-in on the value of testing these strategies in our community, and I think we’ve found a number of people who will be willing to give and find resources, volunteer time, and participate in an ongoing Advisory Council.
We’ll have more meetings next week, with smaller groups, to hash out the fundraising strategy in greater detail, firm up the eligibility criteria for our initial set of individual development account (IDA) participants, and develop a plan to offer financial education opportunities to a wider cross-section of people than the small number who will actually be enrolled in the IDA program.