Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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IASP in the News

"Why Now is the Right Time to Help Close the Racial Wealth Gap" by Sabrina Terry of Huffington Post Black Voices

"Youth Unemployment and Dr. King's Dream" by Bernie Sanders 

"10 Legitimate Proposals That Could Finally Close America's Massive Racial Wealth Gap" by Taylor Gordon of the Atlanta Black Star

click here to view articles or to see more

What's New

June 2015

Building an Equitable Retirement System for the 21st Century

IASP and PolicyLink hosted a webinar to discuss the newly released brief in the Leveraging Mobility Study, “Navigating an Unclear Path: Preparing for Retirement in the 21st Century” Moderated by Alexandra Bastien, Program Associate at PolicyLink, other webinar speakers included: Laura Sullivan (Senior Research Associate at IASP), Ramsey Alwin (Director of the Economic Security Initiative at the National Council on Aging) and Jody Blaylock (Policy Associate with the Financial Empowerment Policy Project at Heartland Alliance).

MAY 2015

Elsevier Publishes IASP Research Director and Graduate Research Associate's Paper on Evaluation and Program Planning

The use of short-term rental subsidy vouchers offers a new approach to addressing the housing needs of families facing homelessness. IASP's Tatjana Meschede and Sara Chaganti co-authored Home for now: A mixed-methods evaluation of a short-term housing support program for homeless families. This mixed-method case study complements staff and participant interview data with participant survey and administrative data to evaluate the implementation and short-term outcomes of Family Home in one region. Data point to improved family well-being in housing but also persistent barriers to achieving longer-term housing and economic stability. This research points to the need for integrating supportive services from the program’s start, including targeted workforce development, to plan for the end of the short-term rental subsidy. 

The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters Webinar

Director Tom Shapiro, Catherine Ruetschlin (Senior Policy Analyst, Dēmos), and Anne Price (Managing Program Director, Insight Center for Community Economic Development) introduced the Racial Wealth Audit™, a new tool that prepares advocates, policymakers, and analysts to proactively reduce the racial wealth gap through policy analysis and design during a highly anticipated webinar.  To read more about this tool, download The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters.

Associate Director Presents at Strategic Philanthropy Webinar

IASP's Associate Director Janet Boguslaw and Daria Sheehan from the Citi Foundation discussed the strategic framework of asset development during a webinar hosted by Asset Funders Network.  As part of the release of the brief Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building, developed by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, this webinar addressed how integrating investments in asset building can impact sector-based strategies, and revealed examples of how funders and community-based organizations are applying this strategic approach to effect greater social and economic impact. 

APRIL 2015

New Report Focuses on New Hampshire's Healthcare Workforce

IASP, in partnerships with Trinidad Tellez, Director of the NH Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs, released Culturally Effective Healthcare Organizations: A Framework for Success.  This brief outlines strategies that organizations can take to embark on an ongoing organizational process of improvement to keep pace with changing patient and workforce demographics, and to achieve health equity. 

Research Director Lead Co-Author on Financial Supports Paper

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a Community Development Discussion Paper that examines the extent to which family financial transfers occur among Boston residents of color, as compared with national estimates.  Financial Resources in Kinship and Social Networks: Flow and Relationship to Household Wealth by Race and Ethnicity among Boston Residents. Authored by IASP's Tatjana Meschede, visiting scholar in the Bank’s Regional & Community Outreach department, the study analyzes new data collected for the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as part of the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey. The survey provides detailed information on assets and debts that allows analysis to be broken down by race, ethnicity, and country of origin for targeted groups.

Research Associate Joins Racial Wealth Audit™ Project

Lars Dietrich has accepted a part-time position as Research Associate.  He is a political scientist and Fulbright Ph.D. student and a social policy researcher with a focus on education and racial/ethnic inequality using quantitative and qualitative methods. His expertise is in policy research in bullying behavior in schools, racial/ethnic achievement gaps, employment inequality, and the racial wealth gap. At the Institute, Lars is working on the Racial Wealth AuditTM project by running statically analysis, writing and editing, and presenting findings. Lars received a Master's in Political Science at the University of Vienna, and a Master's in Social Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  He is a PhD candidate, currently working on his dissertation which focuses on the causes, consequences and racial/ethnic differences of bullying behavior in schools.

Utilizing Economic Mobility to Advance our Understanding About How People and Communities Get Ahead

IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, presented "Wealth Mobility of Families Raising Children in the 21st Century" at the Ninth Biennial Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference. Over the years, this unique event has aimed to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice on key issues facing the country. The 2015 conference seeks to inform a robust public conversation about economic mobility.

MARCH 2015

A Discussion About the Urgency of Addressing Wealth Inequality and Providing Opportunity for All 

IASP Director, Thomas Shapiro, was a panelist at the Boston Fed's Regional & Community Outreach team's Color of Wealth Summit. The panel discussion included a presentation on new findings on wealth inequality in the Boston metropolitan area.

New Tool Measures Impact on Public Policy Choices

Jointly, IASP and Dēmos released The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters. This brief explains the Racial Wealth AuditTM tool and how it can be used to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.

More What's New


Research Director Lead Co-Author on Second Financial Supports Paper

Community Development Issue Brief No. 2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Tatjana MeschedeThe Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a Community Development Discussion Paper that examines the extent to which family financial transfers occur among Boston residents of color. Family Financial Resources Among Boston Residents: Flow by Race and Ethnicity reveals new data collected for the Boston metro area, as part of the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey, for the first time provide detailed information on financial assets that allow analysis to be broken down beyond the traditional black-and-white divide at the metropolitan-area level.

Authored by IASP's Tatjana Meschede, visiting scholar in the Bank's Regional & Community Outreach department, the study targets U.S.-born blacks, Caribbean blacks, Cape Verdeans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans, findings show that households of color consistently receive fewer financial transfers than whites, while at the same time providing more financial assistance to their families and relatives. Particularly striking are differences in parental payments toward higher education expenses and financial support for the down payment of a home. Immigrant status further explains differences between white and nonwhite households as well as between households of color.

Congratulations to Heller Researchers on Winning 5 Provost's Research Fund Awards

Recently, the Provost awarded grants to support research across Brandeis University.  Five researchers from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management were awarded funding for their projects.  The Institute on Assets and Social Policy received two awards:

IASP Associate Director, Janet Boguslaw, received funding for "Outsourced at Home: The Impacts for Job Quality, Public Resources, and Family Well-Being".  IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, received funding for "Homeless Families: Can Targeted Workforce Development Improve Employment and Housing Outcomes?"

Other Heller researchers who received funding were: Andrea Acevedo (Institute for Behavioral Health), Maureen Stewart (Institute for Behavioral Health), and Jon A. Chilingerian (Schneider Institute for Health Policy, MD-MBA Program).  

Featured Projects

How Secure is Your Retirement? IASP Report Reveals Retirement Uncertainty

Click to download reportAll families hope for lasting financial security, but today many families in the United States struggle to make ends meet, let alone prepare for their financial future. In the sixth brief in the Leveraging Mobility Series, “Navigating an Unclear Path: Preparing for Retirement in the 21st Century”, a mixed-methods approach is taken to analyze the long-term financial well-being of middle-aged households as they plan for the future and approach retirement. 

Notably this research suggests that establishing a secure, long-term financial position does not occur in a vacuum. Instead, neighborhood and family resources, as well as institutional setting, are key resources in creating a financial foundation for a family. By understanding the sources of security and the key vulnerabilities families face, policy can be proposed and structural solutions suggested that expand long-term later life security to a greater numbers of families.

To learn more about the Leveraging Mobility Series, please click here.

Secure Jobs for Homeless Families: Expanding an Integrated Service Model

Secure Jobs In 2012, the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation, in partnership with the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), spearheaded a new service model for homeless families that integrates employment and housing services to provide holistic support to families in crisis. This model, called Secure Jobs, piloted in five cities in Massachusetts in the spring of 2013. Met with widespread support since its inception, Secure Jobs has expanded to two more cities in Massachusetts, is launching in Connecticut, and has been showcased nationally.

This research and policy brief introduces the second phase of Secure Jobs model and documents changes to the model in the second phase of the initiative. Subsequent briefs will focus in on specific program elements, offering information on their impacts and recommendations for best practices.  For more information about this project, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Paper Demonstrates the Advantages of Combining Public and Private Sector Asset Building

Click to Read ReportDeveloped by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, with the generous support of the Citi Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building offers compelling evidence and examples for achieving stronger and more sustainable outcomes by combining asset building with a variety of public and private sector community partners including employment, education, healthcare and affordable housing.

A promising approach for addressing these challenges is utilizing a framework that more effectively ties together and shapes the disparate policies, investment structures, practices, and stakeholders to leverage resources and impacts. The strategic framework of asset development helps to create an effective, integrated, and sustainable system, enabling families to move through safety nets into financial security and opportunity. Asset building integration shifts investment goals from remedying deficiencies to building on strengths by increasing capability, access, and opportunity. It enables foundations to integrate and expand the scope, scale, and long-term impact of their work, shifting the focus from families' vulnerabilities to their opportunities for success.

For more information, please contact Janet Boguslaw at (781) 736-3738.

Researchers Design New Tool to Measure the Impact of Public Policy Choices on the Racial Wealth Gap 

Click to read Press Release 

A vast amount of research has focused on how public policy addresses economic disparities but there has not been a systematic analysis of the types of public policies that offer the greatest potential for reducing the racial wealth gap, until now.  In The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters, researchers from IASP and Dēmos collaboratively designed a new tool—the Racial Wealth Audit—to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.  This tool assesses how policies and outcomes in these areas affect the racial wealth gap. To greatly reduce the racial wealth gap, policymakers must confront its historic and policy root causes. 

For more information on the Racial Wealth AuditTM please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671; media inquires please contact Charity Adams at (781) 736-8689.

Report Reveals “No Significant Improvement” in Senior Security

Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains HighIndicators such as growth in employment rates and gains in the construction and housing sectors signal that the national economy is on the road to recovery.  Yet, with the economy recovering there has been no significant improvement in senior security.  In the 7th brief in the Living Longer on Less series, Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains High, IASP explores the obstacles seniors face and the pitfalls Policymakers should avoid.

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Study Examines Wealth Creation and Wealth Management Among the Nation’s Wealthiest African Americans

Click to view reportCredit Suisse, in collaboration with IASP, released “Wealth Patterns Among the Top 5% of African Americans” highlighting the distinctive investing behaviors within the top 5% (as measured by net worth) of the African-American community.  The study showed that the top 5% of African Americans invest a greater proportion of their wealth in lower-volatility assets relative to a white comparison group, including insurance, savings bonds, and CDs.  Click here to read more

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Issue Brief Presents Program and Policy Implications of Workforce Diversity Research for Health Care Employers and Workforce Development Leaders in New Hampshire

Click to read reportWorkforce development initiatives traditionally focus on increasing access to education and training for low-income individuals.  IASP's research on the health care sector in New Hampshire indicates that a successful response to changes in demographics and the health care environment includes an increased focus on preparing the workplace, together with cutting-edge preparation of the workforce.  Strengthening New Hampshire's Health Care Workforce: Strategies for Employers and Workforce Development Leaders (link) presents four key strategies to enhance the workforce, including a new concept of inter-organizational pathways for advancement.  Developing a diverse health care workforce in order to deliver quality care to all will require the collaboration and investment of employers, educational institutions, workforce development agencies, and community organizations.

This brief represents the third publication in a series of research products developed by the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative funded by the U.S. HHS Administration for Children and Families.  For more information, contact Sandy Venner at (781) 736-8688.

New Report Examines the Disparities in Neighborhood Opportunity

Click to download the reportPeople are drawn to neighborhoods for various reasons—family ties, connections to friends, attachment to institutions—yet, the financial and social resources that a family has access to within these neighborhoods affects a family’s well-being and ability to gain social and economic mobility.  In “Location, Location, Location: The Role Neighborhoods Play in Family Wealth and Well-Being”, the Institute on Assets and Social Policy examines the disparities in neighborhood opportunity. This brief delineates between high opportunity and low opportunity neighborhoods, explains the disparities in neighborhood opportunity and reveals the reasons why families are sorted by race and class into different quality neighborhoods.

Drawing on longitudinal survey and interview data, this brief seeks to understand how families negotiate the diverse structure of neighborhood opportunity and explores their experiences of living in different types of neighborhoods.  National-level longitudinal quantitative data illustrates the consequences of where a family lives and highlights why families place so much emphasis on gaining access to the “right” neighborhood. 

The history of racial segregation in the United States has laid the foundation for ongoing neighborhood opportunity segregation.  Policy has helped structure the segregation of opportunity by race and class, and so policy clearly has a critical role to play in helping to create a fairer distribution of opportunity by neighborhood.

For more information, please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671

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