Neighborhood Partnerships (NP) and Oregon Housing and Community Services announced awards last week totaling $1.2 million to advance the work of the Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative. These awards will deepen the reach of the Initiative into Oregon’s most underserved communities, and will foster exciting and promising new collaborative efforts. The awards were the product of a summer of conversation and assessment with current partners in the Initiative as well as other community organizations.
Between June and August of 2013, NP convened a series of nine conversations to give us and our partners a chance to look together at the impact of the Initiative, think about where we have gaps in our reach, and discuss and explore new opportunities. In all, forty six organizations participated in these conversations. At the end of the process, we invited Letters of Intent from organizations wishing to expand current IDA offerings or to begin to offer IDAs in their communities.
Youth saving for college, youth saving for a new start, rural workers needing access to employment, eager entrepreneurs, first time home buyers – these are some of the Oregonians who will benefit from the awards. Residents of Klamath County, Central Oregon, Marion County, and Columbia County, and all the places in between will have new points of access to financial resilience.
A total of eighteen Letters of Intent were received, and we are delighted that all resulted in invitations to join the Initiative or expand capacity. Direct awards were made to eleven organizations. Seven organizations were invited to join or will receive increased support through the Initiative Partner networks managed by CASA of Oregon and NeighborWorks Umpqua.
These awards were made possible because of the Oregon IDA 75% Tax Credit. Individuals make contributions to the Initiative, which qualify for this state tax credit. These contributions provide the resources to build financial resilience in Oregon communities. Individual Development Accounts, or IDAs, are matched savings accounts that build the financial management skills of qualifying Oregonians with low incomes while they save towards a defined goal such as microenterprise development, education, or homeownership. IDAs open up pathways of opportunity and create models of economic success in Oregon communities.