by Ross Yednock, Director, Economic Opportunity Initiatives/Coordinator, Michigan Earned Income Credit Coalition

Sometimes in the course of doing this work it can feel as if I am just one person running alone against a strong headwind. Sure, this work is not without some intrinsic and personal rewards and I am fortunate to work with such wonderful and committed people, but advancing policy to help low-wage earners build wealth and economic security in a hyperactive political and legislative environment can leave a person feeling weary and forlorn.

This is why I truly appreciate opportunities like the one I had last month to join hundreds of like-minded asset building advocates and practitioners from across the country at the CFED Assets Learning Conference in Washington D.C. The breakout sessions provided us a wealth of information and there was no shortage of ideas generated during the workshops (you can access all the materials here). The chance to network and meet and speak with others in the field, sharing ideas and getting their insight and was invaluable. I even had the chance to get feedback on our $ave Michigan legislation – a tax-time matched savings account to be introduced soon in a legislature near you – from the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment which has been piloting the concept since 2009.

Perhaps the highlight of the whole week was hearing from Newark Mayor Cory Booker. His keynote address energized all of us in the airplane-hanger size ballroom and really accentuated the importance this work has in rebuilding our communities (to hear his comments, click here).

If you are not familiar with CFED, or the work they do in this policy arena, I encourage you to visit their website and consider joining the Assets & Opportunity Network. It may give you some ideas. It may become a valuable resource for you and your work, but it will let you know that, without question you have support from thousands of people like you.

As always, if you have any questions or comments you would like to share, please email me at yednock@cedamichigan.org.

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