Mayor Evans’ children’s savings account program

Source City of Rochester: Mayor Malik D. Evans made an exciting announcement today regarding the City’s Office of Financial Empowerment. They have been awarded a generous grant of $244,000 from ESL to develop and implement a Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program throughout the entire city. The primary objective of this program is to provide better economic opportunities for the children and families of Rochester by granting them early access to banking services.

Thanks to this grant, the City will partner with Prosperity Now, a renowned national institution specializing in CSA design and implementation. Together, they will assemble a local task force consisting of representatives from various sectors to determine initial deposit amounts, financial incentives, select a financial institution partner, and create a family engagement strategy. The grant funding will also support team training and development, as well as the appointment of a Financial Empowerment Initiatives Coordinator who will oversee the program’s planning.

Mayor Evans expressed his enthusiasm for the program, stating that establishing children’s savings accounts empowers young individuals and sets them on a path to success. He emphasized that this initiative is all about equity and aims to teach children the importance of saving and budgeting. The Mayor extended his gratitude to ESL for their generous contribution, which will enable the Office of Financial Empowerment to prepare Rochester’s children and families for economic mobility and a promising future.

Ajamu Kitwana, the Vice President and Director of Community Impact at ESL Federal Credit Union, stressed the significance of instilling healthy financial habits in children from a young age. He affirmed ESL’s commitment to the financial wellness of the community and expressed support for the planning and implementation of the CSA pilot program. Kitwana believes that the findings and learnings from this pilot will guide future decisions that can contribute to the financial success of Rochester’s children.

The Children’s Savings Account pilot program is expected to launch within 12 months, with the city-wide effort rolling out within two years. The planning and implementation process will involve active engagement from residents, community organizations, and intergovernmental partners.

Cherie Collins Sims, PhD, the interim President and CEO of Prosperity Now, emphasized the importance of every child having the opportunity for a healthy financial future, regardless of their background. She expressed pride in partnering with the City of Rochester to design a successful CSA program that will help the next generation build assets and resources for a secure and prosperous future.

Research has shown that Children’s Savings Account programs have numerous benefits for both children and their parents. Children with savings accounts are more likely to pursue higher education, establish positive relationships with financial institutions, and experience improved social-emotional development, leading to academic achievement. These programs also increase parents’ expectations for their children and provide a sense of security knowing that there are savings designated for their child’s future education or career.

Deshanah Barnes, a parent whose child participated in the City’s Summer of Opportunity Program and opened a checking and savings account last year, expressed her support for the CSA program. She believes that teaching children financial literacy at an early age is crucial, as it relieves some of the burden on parents, especially single parents. Barnes sees this program as an excellent opportunity for children to learn the proper way to handle money.

The Office of Financial Empowerment is dedicated to supporting Rochester residents and families in achieving financial security and economic mobility. To learn more about their initiatives, visit their website at https://www.cityofrochester.gov/ofe.

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