CEDAM to spotlight the impact of Children’s Savings Accounts on generational wealth

The organization’s July 12 webinar will host a state representative and foundation leader to discuss firsthand experience with Children’s Savings Account programs in Michigan.

LANSING — The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) will highlight a groundbreaking savings program to close the wealth gap on July 12 as part of their Summer of CEDAM series.

The anti-poverty organization will host a webinar, titled “Using Children’s Savings Accounts for Economic Inclusion,” featuring Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland); Bonnie Gettys, president and CEO of the Barry Community Foundation; Jessica AcMoody, CEDAM policy director; and Sarah Hubbard of the government relations firm Acuitas as moderator. It will cover how CSA programs are being implemented across Michigan and what is being done at the legislative level to promote these programs. 

Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) are community-led programs that automatically enroll students in interest-bearing accounts that will grow until they graduate from high school. These programs are designed to improve family financial literacy, boost educational attainment for low-income children, promote post-secondary achievement and support wealth building in low-income families. The programs are often implemented through school districts, with financial education and incentivized saving as early as kindergarten. 

There are currently 15 CSA initiatives in Michigan, with more than 20,000 students participating statewide. For the first time in Michigan history, Gov. Whitmer’s Feb. 2021 budget proposal included a $2 million appropriation for CSA programs. 

“We hope the legislature will support Gov. Whitmer’s CSA allocation as part of the budget,” said Luke Forrest, executive director at CEDAM. “These funds will help build the statewide infrastructure for CSA programs, ensure that new rural and urban community programs are developed and help existing programs innovate. This is literally an investment in our young people’s futures.”

Research links CSA programs to increased financial literacy and continued education. According to a University of Kansas study, children who save between $1 and $500 for college are three times more likely to enroll in college or trade school and four times more likely to graduate than those without savings.  

“There is a direct connection between CSAs and long-term educational attainment,” said AcMoody. “We’ve seen a number of successful outcomes from CSA programs like Barry Community Foundation’s, and it is exciting to see similar CSA initiatives becoming more common in communities across Michigan.” 

The Summer of CEDAM series aims to educate members and the public about CEDAM’s 2021-22 policy priorities, which also includes increasing state funding for affordable housing, support for low-income neighborhoods and struggling downtowns, expanded access to broadband and greater racial equity and inclusion in COVID-19 policy responses. Each month this summer, CEDAM is hosting virtual conversations on three of its policy priorities: community development (which took place June 30), economic inclusion (July 12), and affordable housing (August 16). 

CEDAM members and the general public are invited to attend the Summer of CEDAM virtual conversations. Learn more or register here

Reporters: If you’d like examples of CSA programs for a story, contact Emily Reyst at emily@cedamichigan.org or 517.485.3588.


CEDAM focuses on building vibrant communities across Michigan by bringing urban and rural community builders together to fight systemic poverty and racism.