LANSING, MI — The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) today announced the recipients of its 2023 Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Innovative Project Grants. In partnership with the Michigan Poverty Task Force, CEDAM has awarded four Michigan CSA programs up to $50,000 each to implement projects that will enhance program impact and advance the state’s CSA field.
“Children’s Savings Accounts support financial literacy and create pathways for Michigan families to invest in their children’s financial future,” said Kim Trent, key staffer to the Poverty Task Force and Deputy Director of Prosperity for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “The Poverty Task Force applauds this effort to expand access to CSA programming and empower kids and families.”
CSA programs are community-led initiatives that enroll students in basic savings accounts to provide financial support for their endeavors after high school, including college or career training expenses. The Michigan Children’s Savings Account Network, a coalition led by CEDAM, convenes 17 local CSA programs, with more than 40,000 students participating statewide.
“It’s inspiring to see CSA programs think out-of-the-box with exciting ways to engage students, families, and their communities,” said Brian Rakovitis, Director of Economic Inclusion at CEDAM. “We designed the CSA Innovative Project Grants to not only encourage programs to think big, but to increase their capacity and resources so they can actually make these big ideas happen.”
To evaluate the impact of these projects and document lessons learned along the way, CEDAM has partnered with Dr. Trina Shanks and her team at the University of Michigan’s Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being. The team will gather and analyze data from MI CSA Network member programs (including all four of the grant recipients) to improve understanding of the impact of student participation in CSAs.
All grant recipients were required to relate to at least one of the following five areas of emphasis: increasing student and family participation in CSAs, promoting sustainable fundraising, reducing administrative burden, prioritizing marginalized communities, or expanding wraparound programming. The four recipients include:
KickStart to Career Muskegon County (Community Foundation for Muskegon County): Will launch new Teacher Champion and Student Ambassador programs to engage with students through educators and high school peers. Additionally, each student will receive a $5 deposit into their KickStart account regardless of their family’s financial ability.
Kickstart to Career Newaygo County (Fremont Area Community Foundation): Will purchase and install two deposit kiosk machines in two participating schools. Students will be able to use the machines to make safe deposits into their own accounts when the school is open. The program expects that kiosk machines in the schools will expand access for rural populations and remove barriers to Spanish-speaking students.
Lansing SAVE (City of Lansing – Office of Financial Empowerment): Will perform a five-year capital campaign with a goal of raising $5 million over the next four years. This grant will support their partnership with a professional fundraising firm, marketing and outreach for the campaign, and more.
LEAF – Lapeer County Education Attainment Fund (Lapeer County Community Foundation): Will carry out three initiatives that focus on increasing local CSA awareness: 1) a Bank Bound initiative, connecting students to financial institutions with a field trip, 2) a children’s story describing the importance of saving, and 3) LEAF LIVE!, a live event in collaboration with community partners to support students and their families.
To learn more about CSAs and these projects, visit cedamichigan.org/mcfe/csa-programs/.
CEDAM is a nonprofit membership association building vibrant communities across Michigan. Our capacity-building programs, policy advocacy, and training events emphasize supporting communities in the areas of affordable housing, economic growth, and wealth-building at both the federal and state levels. Through engagement and collaboration with CEDAM members, policymakers, state departments, and other partners, we sustain a thriving and equitable community economic development sector across the state. Learn more at cedamichigan.org.