SEEDing for College Partners with Nonprofits to Drive Wayne Metro Children’s Savings Account Program

The SEEDing for College program has developed strong roots in its first year — and the program is paving the way with an especially unique program model. Instead of partnering with its local school district, their children’s savings account (CSA) program connects with a number of nonprofits to engage a broader group of students through local Head Start programs. 

SEEDing for College is a collaboration between several partners to inspire big postsecondary dreams and share resources with families to help make those aspirations a reality. The program launched in fall 2022, and is operated by Wayne Metro Community Action Agency in partnership with Urban Neighborhood Initiatives and The Guidance Center. To date, SEEDing for College has worked with One Detroit Credit Union to open CSAs for 813 students enrolled in one of 14 Wayne Metro Head Start locations throughout Wayne County, as well as their partners’ out-of-school programs. 

The diversity of these partner programs helps incorporate a wide age range of students, reaching children well before they begin kindergarten. Early intervention increases the potential for savings over a greater amount of time and, more importantly, engages students before they stop believing in the power of their postsecondary dreams. This multi-generational approach also makes it easier for guardians to access other resources and services at the same time.

With numerous partnerships beyond school districts alone, this program model also offers additional support for parents and guardians through wraparound services such as free tax preparation services, food and energy assistance, and financial counseling. Providing these services all at one time and place reduces systemic barriers to access and encourages saving and dreaming big to be a family-wide affair. 

The program also incorporates matching incentives for families. Wayne Metro aims to provide an automatic $50 seed deposit for all students at enrollment and matches deposits up to $10 every month. The goal is to encourage family investment, building out student accounts to accumulate significant funds in the long term that could support their postsecondary education aspirations. 

The SEEDing for College program was made possible by a $1 million award announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year, aimed to support two Children’s Savings Account pilot programs at the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency and the Battle Creek Community Foundation. SEEDing for College’s $500,000 portion of the award provided the support necessary for its launch and growth over the past year, and was a major accomplishment for the Michigan Children’s Savings Account landscape in general. 

SEEDing for College is one of 17 CSA programs in Michigan as part of the Michigan Children’s Savings Account Network. The Network, which CEDAM oversees, creates the infrastructure that helps programs meet their community’s needs more efficiently and equitably. With more than 40,000 enrolled students and more than 60 partners, including school districts, banks and credit unions, and community foundations, the Network provides programs with the resources they need to continue expansion across the state. 

By providing families with the opportunity to start saving for their child’s postsecondary pathway very early on, SEEDing for College helps ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential and achieve their own definition of success. As the program continues to grow and expand, it will make an even stronger impact on the lives of countless students and families across Wayne County. 

Congratulations on a stellar first year, SEEDing for College!