Symposium: Addressing Poverty through Asset Building

Addressing Poverty through Asset Building – Symposium to Support Financial Empowerment Programs and Policies

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Burbank Airport Marriott
2500 Hollywood Way
Burbank, CA 91501

Did you know that a child with a savings account in his or her name is seven times more likely to attend college, regardless of the size of that account? Or that 30% of Californians lack enough savings to get by for 3 months in the event of a job loss? The need for supporting asset building strategies at the local, state, and national level is clear. Join the California EITC and Asset Building Coalition (CABC) and the California Assembly Select Committee on Financial Empowerment as we co-sponsor a day of learning and sharing best practices, from innovative new models to proven strategies that help Californians tap into their hard earned tax credits and save their way out of poverty. A diverse coalition of non-profits, the private sector, policy makers, and interfaith organizations will discuss the power of asset building to help Californians achieve upward financial mobility.

Register at

7:30 am – CHECK IN

8:00 am – BREAKFAST

John Wagner (California Department of Community Services and Development), Quinton Smith (IRS Regional Director), Darick Simpson (Long Beach Community Action Partnership)

9:45 am – BREAK

National Policy Landscape: Protecting Consumers, Building Wealth
The great recession has devastated communities – particularly communities of color. This panel will discuss the impact of the financial crisis and opportunities to help rebuild wealth in the most impacted communities.

  • The Hon. Mike Eng (AD-49), Janis Bowdler (National Council of La Raza), Anne Price (Insight Center for Community Development), Andrea Luquetta (California Reinvestment Coalition)

Building Wealth, Promoting Health
There are clear connections between poverty, lack of health insurance, and poor health. This panel will explore how the passage of the Affordable Care Act expands access to health and asset building opportunities.

  • The Hon. Ed Hernandez (SD-24), Leif Wellington Haase (New America Foundation), Rebecca Flournoy (Policy Link for Health and Place), Carla Saporta (Greenlining Institute)

Striving for Scale: New Approaches to Matched Savings Accounts
A variety of innovative new approaches to help students and families save for college are emerging. Learn about the power of Child’s Education Savings Accounts, Kindergarten to College, and the “My Future: I’m Saving for It!” programs.

  • Rudy Espinoza (Community Financial Resource Center), Jesse Torres (Pan American Bank), Anee Brar (San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment), Tatiana Siegenthaler (EARN)

Best Practices for Structuring Collaborations for Grants
Collaborative grants are the future of foundation investment in asset building. Learn about models that are bringing together community-based organizations and government agencies to serve low-to-moderate income families.

  • Frank Ruiz (Community Services & Employment Training, Inc.), Carmen Bernal (United Way of Kern County), May Vang (United Way of Fresno County)

Building Scale & Sustainability: Exploring Free Tax Program Options for Growth, Funding, & Financial Education
Learn how to grow free tax preparation services with donation models and year-round programs, and explore proven ways to link tax services to Individual Development Account programs and financial education.

  • Jeanette Valencia (Legal Aid Society of Orange County), Asmir Pinjic (Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County), Minh Hoang Pham (Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County), Manuel Romero (Central California Legal Services)


  • The Hon. Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcon

12:00 pm – LUNCH

State Policies and Programs: Creating Upward Financial Mobility
An estimated thirty percent of Californians lack enough savings to get by for three months in the event of a job loss. Learn about new state laws and programs that help Californians access state resources and get back on solid financial footing.

  • The Hon. Ricardo Lara (AD-50), Suzanne Reed (Office of California State Senator Liu [SD-21]), Olivia Calderon (New America Foundation), Oscar E. Cruz (Families In Schools), Jenny Chung-Mejia (Insight Center for Community Development)

Asset Building and the Role of Financial Institutions: Collaborating Beyond EITC & VITA
This panel will provide strategies and examples of how financial institutions and their community partners have collaborated beyond just participating in EITC/VITA endeavors to successfully develop a regional asset building movement.

  • Darryl Rutherford (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco), Victor Ramirez (Citibank), Marco Ramirez (Center for Asset Building Opportunities), Natalie Bishop (United Way of Orange County)

Homeownership Opportunities & Foreclosure Prevention
Many Californians’ single largest asset is their home. Learn about legal strategies to keep families out of foreclosure, local and state programs available to assist homeowners, and policy responses at the State level to curb the foreclosure crisis.

  • Office of the Hon. California Attorney General Kamala Harris (Invited), Paul Leonard (Center for Responsible Lending), Yvonne Mariajimenez (Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County)

Building Practitioner Capacity through Effective Coalitions
Learn how to create coalitions focused on asset building and EITC programs for better outreach, practitioner development, and program expansion.

  • Catherine Marshall (Capbuilders), Chris Ko (United Way of Greater Los Angeles), Aaron Murphy (Community Action Agency of Butte County Inc.)

2:30 pm – BREAK


  • Ross Chan (CBS), Frank Ruiz, (Community Services Employment & Training)

This symposium is convened by the California EITC & Asset Building Coalition (CABC), and the California Assembly Select Committee on Financial Empowerment.
The CEABC includes: California/Nevada Community Action Partnership (Cal/Neva), Catholic Charities of California, Citi, City of Los Angeles, City & County of San Francisco, Hon. California State Senator Carol Liu, Hon. Los Angeles Council Member Richard Alarcon, EARN, Federal Reserve Bank, Greenlining Institute, Community Services Employment & Training, Legal Aid of Orange County and the New America Foundation


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