Communities Coming Together: Lansing SAVE Launches Capital Campaign

When the families of young children are encouraged to think about their child’s financial future, a ripple effect of inspiration travels through the community. As a result, it becomes easier for community organizations to understand how supporting initiatives that encourage children to dream big and plan for the future are meaningful long-term investments. In turn, their support goes on to change lives.

Since its inception, Lansing SAVE has understood the importance of community buy-in. The Lansing Student Accounts Valuing Education (SAVE) program was created through a partnership between Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU), the City of Lansing, and Lansing School District to provide a postsecondary savings program for students in the Lansing School District. Each fall semester, all incoming kindergarten students are automatically enrolled in an account at MSUFCU. In addition to savings accounts, the Lansing SAVE program also works with MSUFCU’s financial education team to reach students with lessons in every classroom, providing them with valuable tools to save for their future.

As a part of the Michigan Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Network, Lansing SAVE recently gained new support to take its community engagement to the next level through an Innovative Project Grant. In partnership with the Michigan Poverty Task Force, CEDAM awarded four CSA programs with $50,000 to implement projects that will enhance program impact and advance the state’s CSA field. Lansing SAVE will use the grant to perform a five-year capital campaign with a goal of raising $5 million. This grant will support their partnership with a professional fundraising firm, marketing and outreach for the campaign, and more.

The goal of Lansing SAVE’s capital campaign is to utilize community partnerships to increase the amount in each student’s CSA to $500 by the time of their high school graduation. Since announcing the campaign, Lansing SAVE has already seen support from community organizations and established new partnerships. Most recently, for example, the organization received $28k from R.E. Olds Foundation, $25k from the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA), $25k from MSUFCU’s Desk Drawer Fund, and have received several other pledges for both donations and in-kind assistance. For example, WLNS and Sylvan Learning have donated a PSA for the campaign, and some of the campaign leadership will be hosting events to benefit the program.

This capital campaign ties to Lansing SAVE’s evidence-based program model. The figure of $500 per student by graduation was decided after extensive research by the City of Lansing’s Office of Financial Empowerment; because Lansing has a Promise Scholarship, much of tuition will be covered for students who choose to attend postsecondary education locally. This amount was the minimum impactful amount determined to assist Lansing students with fees, books, equipment, food plans, and other tuition expenses for those with needs beyond the Promise Scholarship. MSUFCU and the City of Lansing cover the administrative and educational costs of the program, which means every dollar raised as part of the capital campaign is invested directly in a student’s future.

From financial partners to government organizations to nonprofits, Lansing SAVE works in conjunction with other community efforts to help students plan for their future. Research shows that children who have accounts designated for school of at least $500 are three times more likely to enroll in postsecondary education than children with no account. This account can transform the mindset of their entire family, who can envision a brighter future for their child.

To receive one of CEDAM’s Innovative Project Grants, all grant proposals were required to relate to at least one of the following five areas of emphasis: increasing student and family participation in CSA programs, promoting sustainable fundraising, reducing administrative burden, prioritizing marginalized communities, and expanding wraparound programming. CEDAM partnered with Dr. Trina Shanks and her team at the University of Michigan’s Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being to evaluate the impact of the grantees’ projects and document lessons learned along the way that can be shared across the state with other programs in the Michigan CSA Network.

Lansing SAVE is uniquely situated at the center of its community, connecting families who are looking to plan for their children’s future with community organizations looking to make long-term investments in their community. With the announcement of their Innovative Project Grant award, the program is anticipating increased participation rates and parental engagement, as well as increased buy-in from the community regarding the program’s goals. We’re excited to see how the Lansing community helps uplift this program and its students!

To learn more about opportunities to give or get involved with Lansing SAVE’s campaign, visit their fundraising page or website.