I love it when asset development practitioners come up with innovative ways to tie IDA accounts to specific social challenges beyond the generic categories of home ownership, small business development and higher education. From refugee resettlement to the needs of people with disabilities, asset development tools are so fascinating to me for how they can be shaped to serve such a wide range of purposes. For social innovators, the possibilities are endless.
Another great model just came to my attention through the national IDA list-serve managed by CFED: the Opportunity Fund has announced Saving for Citizenship, “a new program that will help 500 low-income legal immigrants in Silicon Valley save money to apply for naturalization and become US citizens.”
Defining citizenship as an asset with tremendous lasting value makes perfect sense, and yet it’s a leap that no one else seems to have made. Kudos to Opportunity Fund, and to the Knight Foundation for putting $1.85 million behind that little idea.
What’s the next big sector to be drawn into the asset development vortex in a significant way? How about IDAs for energy efficiency upgrades in homes? I know some IDA programs allow for home improvements, but are programs already developing strategies specifically around energy efficiency in homes? Or energy efficient vehicles? I think some major foundation money would be interested in that model.
By the way, to join CFED’s IDA network list-serve, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to subscribe.