Performance Improvement 2010. Foster Financial Self-Reliance


An ACF study examined Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) under the largest such federally funded program, the Assets for Independence (AFI) program.  IDAs are personal savings accounts targeted to low-income persons that encourage participants to save money, typically for home purchase, post-secondary education, or small business start-up.  Saving is encouraged by matching the deposits of participants, providing them with financial education and other support.  The study examined AFI grantees efforts to address common challenges: raising nonfederal funds, achieving administrative efficiencies, forging organizational partnerships, recruiting and selecting participants, providing financial education, supporting program participants, and adapting to feedback and shifting conditions.  Recent grantees have had to spend less of their energy and resources in setting the basic design features of their projects, moving from grant award to project startup, and limiting the needs for case management and support services.  Issues that remain challenging include attracting participants, assisting them in attaining realistic savings goals, navigating the regulations of diverse funding sources and requirements, raising nonfederal funds, and coping with limited funds for administrative costs. (8911

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