The eve of launch day for a new Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program feels a little bit like the night before a holiday. The handouts are prepped, the partnerships have been established, and countless hours of planning led to this point. Now, all there is to do is translate that preparation into action.
For the Battle Creek Community Foundation (BCCF), the steps leading to the upcoming soft launch of their first Children’s Savings Account pilot program was both a community-wide and statewide affair. Last May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a $1 million award to support two Children’s Savings Account pilot programs across the state, through the BCCF and the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency. This award was monumental, marking a turning point in the development of Children’s Savings Accounts across our state.
Only a few months later, we’ve seen this investment in action as both of these programs are underway, with the BCCF soft launching Battle Creek’s first Children’s Savings Account program this week on Nov. 29 – 30.
Through their Program Kickoff, BCCF will be present in five local elementary schools, introducing the concept of saving to kindergarteners. Their mascot, Sammy Savings, will even join in on the festivities, distributing a piggy bank to every student with the help of their financial partner, Advia Credit Union. Students will hear stories about saving, and –– of course –– there will be coloring pages aplenty.
Over the last several months, BCCF has worked closely with financial partners, community partners, school administrators, and educators to make this happen. Establishing a Children’s Savings Account program isn’t about one organization leading the charge –– the process connects numerous agents of change across the community, building a local coalition dedicated to improving students’ futures.
The BCCF and Wayne Metro pilot programs are just two examples that demonstrate the rapid expansion of Children’s Savings Account programs across the state. Michigan has established itself as a national leader in developing new Children’s Savings Account programs, with the Michigan CSA Network leading the charge. The Network, which CEDAM oversees, creates infrastructure that helps programs meet their community’s needs more efficiently and equitably. After years of steady growth, the Network has grown to more than 60 partners committed to equitable access to savings, including school districts, banks and credit unions, state agencies, community foundations, municipalities, nonprofits, and more.
By uniting a coalition of Children’s Savings Account programs, the Michigan CSA Network provides new pilot programs in target geographic areas with the guidance, resources, and support to get their program off the ground and continue uplifting students and families, year over year.
Congratulations to the new Children’s Savings Account programs at BCCF and Wayne Metro –– we can’t wait to watch your communities dream big.