2014 IDA video contest winner, Ime Etuk, was featured in the State of Black Oregon report.
On Tuesday, the State of Black Oregon 2015 report was released. The Oregon IDA Initiative was a point of inspiration in a very sobering report.
Jessica Junke, Neighborhood Partnerships’ Director of Economic Opportunity was in attendance. She noted:
A few different speakers referred to the broad consequences of uprooting families from their communities – that those impacts are felt not only on the housing end, but also in the arenas of public health, education, criminal justice, and others. It was a reminder that our work in building lasting pathways to economic stability is not just about asset building or securing affordable housing – it is also about healthy communities, stable families, education, civic engagement and so much more.
Here are 3 key highlights from the report:
1) Financial literacy is critical
Individual Development Account (IDA) programs have been proven to increase financial literacy and wellbeing for individuals with low incomes. However, there are certain considerations to keep in mind with financial literacy programs:
- provide extra support to minorities and people who have employment difficulties
- educate participants on the benefits of investment accounts
- stress the importance of future life events, such as buying a home or college costs
- foster skills that help in coping with situations of limited resources
- encourage participants to pursue/explore the possibility of formal education
As the report said: “IDA program outcomes demonstrate that increasing financial literacy is critical to long-term wealth creation in the Black community.”
2) IDAs help take businesses to the next level
Ime Etuk, an IDA participant through MESO and the winner of the 2014 IDA video contest, was a featured case study. Ime owns his own production company, Laugh Cry Love Entertainment. According to the case study:
Ime began Laugh Cry Love to provide small businesses with affordable, high-quality video production. In order to make his company sustainable, he began attending meetings of the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs. In his search for entrepreneurial resources, he came across Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO). This program helped Ime with marketing research, networking opportunities and one-on-one counseling. From the outset, the close-knit atmosphere of the MESO office impressed him. “They had everything you needed at one place. It was just such a small supportive family feel. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of and could benefit from.”
Ime is a great example of what IDAs can do. Thousands of entrepreneurs throughout Oregon have had a dream to better their lives and the lives of those around them. The combination of financial education and matched savings is the perfect prescription for making those dreams come true.
3) We have the policy tools
The State of Black Oregon listed the following as its second policy priority:
Invest in public and private sector initiatives that encourage Black community financial literacy, savings and investments, and provide a range of public options to enable saving and retirement security, including:
– Children’s Savings Accounts
– Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)
– Consumer-oriented credit-building tools
– Employment match programs
– Modernized retirement savings vehicles
Neighborhood Partnerships shares these priorities, and we look forward to working with the Urban League and others to realize them in 2015 and in the 2017 session.
The IDA has a hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Tax Credits
On Thursday, April 23rd we testified before the Joint Committee on Tax Credits. While of course we focused much of the conversation on the 75% Tax Credit funding mechanism for the Oregon IDA Initiative, we also had two stellar participants who shared their piece of the Initiative’s story – highlighting the impacts IDAs have had on their life and their path towards building a more stable financial future for them and their communities. We continue to recognize how vital it is for our legislators to hear directly from their constituents, the people that programs like the Oregon IDA Initiative are built to serve. If you would like to check out last week’s committee hearing for yourself, you can find that video here.
We know that matched savings programs offer a unique combination of one-on-one financial coaching, skill building, and applied behavioral science techniques which helps build new patterns of behavior – while the matched savings create the incentive needed to “practice”, or stick with a program long enough for a habit to take root. When we have IDA participants who can talk about these impacts from a first person perspective, that’s when the magic happens for our legislators.
Budget decisions, like funding the 75% Tax Credit, are made at the end of the legislative session, which will be sometime in late June or early July. Between now and then, we can still use your support! If you weren’t able to join us last week, please reach out to your legislators and ask for their support on the three priorities outlined in HB2011:
- Renew and Extend the 75% Tax Credit
- Increase the cap on donations to $25 million, and
- Expand the allowable savings categories.
Your legislator should also be encouraged to communicate their support to members of the Joint Committee on Tax Credits or their colleagues.
Close to 300 advocate in Salem on Assets Opportunity Day
On April 28th, we had about 300 advocates from around the state converge on the State Capitol for Assets Opportunity Day to continue the push. To put it too lightly, it was a great success!
In the morning we had a special meeting with Speaker Kotek and Representatives Davis and Vega Pederson.
— Jess Junke. (@pepitajunk) April 28, 2015
— NeighborPartnerships (@NPartnerships) April 28, 2015
At noon we gathered on the steps and heard passionate accounts of what the IDA means to participants, HB 2011 chief sponsor Rep. Tobias Read and Governor Brown’s Housing and Human Services Policy Advisor Dani Ledezma.
And in the afternoon we had dozens of meetings with legislators, and shared stories of the hope that IDAs create in our communities.
We have a second Assets Opportunity Day scheduled for June 3rd and we hope to see you there.
Thank you for all of your contributions to the effort to renew, expand, and increase the Oregon IDA Initiative!
Using Social Media? Tag your posts, tweets and photos with#Assets4Oregon