Today I attended the quarterly meeting of the Midas collaborative — a partnership of Massachusetts nonprofit agencies all engaged in asset development work (running individual development account programs, in particular).
As a relative newbie at this work, I find the meetings very helpful, with tremendous expertise around the table. I’m clearly the oddball, employed by an arts center, serving low-income artists in the remote northwest corner of the state. But the other members don’t make me feel like a freak: one of the veterans made a point to say that she has worked with a number of artists and artisans making investments in their artistic businesses, and they have often been among the most “successful” graduates of the program. That was nice to hear.
One agenda item was a report on the state’s Asset Development Commission, an advisory group formed by the legislature to “study and make recommendations concerning the development of financial assets as a way to ensure that all people in the state of Massachusetts achieve long-term, sustainable economic security and self-sufficiency and enjoy economic opportunity.“
It has taken a couple of years for this Commission to really get off the ground, but now it’s in high gear, engaging some heavy-hitters including legislative leaders, executive branch staff, other policy makers, practitioners, and (they hope) low-income residents. In addition to their schedule of meetings, the Commission will host three public hearings during the next six months, and they have established three working groups that are intended to include members outside of the Commission itself so as to broaden the conversation. Apparently, any interested person may join a working group, and even participate in meetings by conference call if trips to Boston aren’t feasible.
That may not sound like most people’s idea of a good time, but I think I’ll join one of the working groups to really see how this process unfolds.