Reports and Publications

A Scan of Municipal Financial Capability Efforts

This study explores the broad range of strategies that make up the financial capability landscape in U.S. cities, touching on programs and policy efforts deployed by and within municipalities. Our high-level scan of existing initiatives and the ways they fit together reveals the role that cities and their core institutions can play in promoting residents’ personal economic growth.

Exploring Children’s Savings Accounts: A Baltimore City Perspective

Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) are long-term savings or investment accounts that provide incentives to help children build savings for their future, particularly for postsecondary education and training. Currently, more than 382,000 children have accounts through 54 CSA programs across the country, including city-wide programs in St. Louis, San Francisco, Oakland and Boston.[i] CSAs are built on the premise that low-to-moderate income people can save and that a match provides both an incentive to save more as well as a path towards higher savings amounts.

CSAs’ popularity as a policy solution for college and career access and completion was bolstered by research released in 2013. Dr. William Elliott found that low- to moderate-income children with $1-$499 in college savings are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate from college.[ii] These statistics provide a compelling reason to examine the feasibility of CSAs in Baltimore City and to determine the critical success factors that would be needed.

[i] The Movement Takes Off: The State of the Children’s Savings Field 2017 (Washington, DC: Prosperity Now, 2018).
https://prosperitynow.org/resources/movement-takes-state-childrens-savings-field-2017.

[ii] William Elliott, Hyun-a Song and Ilsung Nam, Small Dollar Children’s Savings Accounts, Income and College Outcomes (St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis, 2013).

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