Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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What's New

Click on the links below to see complete What's New listings for all years.

What's New 2014

AUGUST 2014

Director Shapiro Appears on Al Jazeera America

On August 25, Director Tom Shapiro appeared on Real Money with Ali Velshi to discuss the role that homeownership plays as a key driver of the racial wealth gap. Director Shapiro explained, using Ferguson, MO as a real-life comparison, that housing is the largest driver of the racial wealth gap.  Real Money with Ali Veishi airs on Al Jazeera America weekday evenings at 7 pm, click to check your local listings.

JULY 2014

Web of Wealth Webinar

Asset Funders Network hosted a webinar that explored the role of extended family wealth networks in providing resiliency and opportunity, examined how wealth networks drive inequality, and discussed the implications for funders and practioners.  Hannah Thomas, Senior Research Associate, presented findings from the latest IASP Leveraging Mobility Series brief "The Web of Wealth: Resiliency and Opportunity or Driver of Inequality?.  To view the webinar, clickhere.

Research Director selected as Visiting Scholar at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank

IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, was selected to be this year’s Visiting Scholar at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, joining the Department of Community Development to carry out two projects analyzing recently collected data, the National Asset Scorecard and Communities of Color (NASCC) survey for Boston.  Dr. Meschede’s projects include a description of the Boston Racial Wealth Gap and analyses on the impact of financial resources in kinship and social networks on household wealth by race and ethnicity. Dr. Meschede will also collaborate with colleagues at the Bank on additional analyses using this new data set.

JUNE 2014

Strengthening Family Resiliency Webinar

Senior Research Associate, Hannah Thomas, presented the findings of latest report, "Keeping Dreams Alive: The Lane-Changer Costs of Financial Disruptions", in the Leveraging Mobility series. Hosted by PolicyLink, additional insights were provided by David Pate, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin, Marissa Guananja, Director of Chelsea CONNECT, and Mattias Kraemer, Deputy Director of Asset Building at Mission Economic Development Agency. Click to view webinar.

IASP Presents at Work and Family Researchers Network Conference

Associate Director, Janet Boguslaw, and Senior Research Associate, Hannah Thomas, spoke at the 2014 Work and Family Researchers Network Conference. They discussed "Family Wealth and Well-Being in the 21st Century: A Job Is More than Income". The theme of this years conference was "Changing Work and Family Relationships in a Global Economy".  

Associate Director Speaks at Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce Conference

Janet Boguslaw participated in a panel discussion on "Where We Are: The Faces of Poverty" at the Poverty at Home/Reasons for Hope conference. In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a  symposium to discuss the current economic trends in the community, explore the causes of poverty in the community and provide inspiration to change the patterns that lead to poverty.

MAY 2014

IASP Presents at WREC Conference

Senior Research Associate, Hannah Thomas, spoke at the 17th Annual WREC Conference in Washington, D.C. Hannah discussed the drivers of economic mobility and which factors matter for families' who are trying to move up the economic ladder.  To view the conference click on the link: http://www.wrconference.net/livestream.htm

Senior Research Associate Selected to be an SSRC Emerging Scholar

Hannah Thomas, Senior Research Associate at IASP, is a SSRC Emergeing Scholar.  SSRC’s Emerging Scholars Initiative publicizes the work of emerging scholars who have produced research on topics relevant to economic self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and families. Each SSRC Emerging Scholar serves a three-month term and four scholars are featured each year. During her term Hannah will host a Webinar to present and discuss her research with SSRC users.

APRIL 2014

Director Receives Asset Builder Champion Award

On April 30 Director Tom Shapiro received the Asset Builder Champion Award.  Tom has dedicated his career to bringing awareness to racial inequality. His most recent work includes identifying key drivers of the racial wealth gap.  Also receiving the award is Kilolo Kijakazi of the Ford Foundation. Kilolo has long been a powerful advocate for economic security issues. The award is part of the 2014 Color of Wealth Summit which is organized in conjuction with the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Director Speaks at University of New Hampshire

IASP Director, Thomas Shapiro, addressed the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute on April 28.  Director Shapiro's lecture, "The Racial Wealth Gap: Moving Evidence and Narrative Into Policy", examined the art of creating and moving evidence into the public arena as an oppositional narrative. From strategic research to partnering, to grass roots community conversations to communications to dissemination to impact.

Director Presents "Navigating Toxic Inequality" at University of Pittsburgh

The Center on Race and Social Problems hosted a lecture on "Navigating Toxic Inequality" presented by IASP Director, Tom Shapiro. Director Shapiro spoke about the struggles that families face to financially stay above water while wealth inequality is at an all time high. 

Director Participates in Launch of The State of Black America 2014 Report

On April 3, the 38th edition of the State of Black America,One Nation Underemployed:  Jobs Rebuild America was released.  IASP Director, Tom Shapiro, participated as a panelist discussing the Equality Index™ which includes a newly added metropolitan section that ranks approximately 80 U.S. citis from most-to-least equal in employment and income.  

Final Report on Multi-Year Assessment of FSS Program finds Promising Outcomes

IASP Research Associate Delia Kimbrel and Policy Director Sandra Venner completed thefinal report for Compass Working Capital. This 3 year evaluation focused on how families use this opportunity to move toward economic stability, positive impacts sustained after program graduation, and the cost-effectiveness of taking the program to scale.

MARCH 2014

Associate Director Presents Employment Capital Report During Webinar

Janet Boguslaw, Associate Director, participated in a Webinar "The Work to Wealth Escalator: Why a Quality Job is More than Just Income" hosted by members of the Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime Initiative of the Ford FoundationPolicyLinkJobs with Justice, and Family Values @ Work.  The webinar focused on the second report in IASP's Leveraging Mobility series, Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security.  Click to listen to the webinar.

FEBRUARY 2014

New Assessment on the Bangor Housing Authority FSS Program Development Completed

Policy Director, Sandra Venner, and Research Associate, Deliah Kimbrel, completed an assessment on the Bangor Housing Authority Family Self Sufficiency and Savings Development program.  Findings were presented to the funder and the housing authority along with other key organizations that can be instrumental in future program design and implementation.  To view the report click here.  

"Leveraging Mobility: How Employment Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security" Webinar

Senior Research Associate, Hannah Thomas presented findings from the Leveraging Mobility study in a webinar sponsored by the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison. A summary of her presentation can be downloaded here.  Presenters also included Erin Currier, Director of Economic Mobility for The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Ray Boshara, Senior Adviser and Assistant Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented 

IASP Research Director Addresses the Pressing Concerns of Homelessness

Tatjana Meschede, Research Director at IASP and Senior Lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy, presented at 'DEIS Impact.  During the conference titled, "A Focus on Homelessness in Local Communities,"  Research Director Meschede shared her knowledge and experience on homelessness and spoke about the pressing concerns regarding homelessness.  The conference was sponsored by members of Habitat for Humanity and Hunger and Homelessness, along with active clubs under the Waltham Group.  

Congratulations to IASP Graduate Research Assistant

Alicia Atkinson, MPP '13, has accepted a position at CFED as a Policy Analyst.  While at IASP Alicia assisted with social media and research on the leveraging mobility project.  She also co-authored "Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security".  CFED is a nonprofit based in Washington, DC dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for low-income families and communities in the US.  The IASP & Heller family is excited for Alicia as she begins this new chapter.

JANUARY 2014

IASP Director Honored for Lifetime Work

Thomas Shapiro, Director at IASP, received the "Distinguished Member Award" from theSportsmen's Tennis and Enrichment Center.  This award recognized Tom's dedication to social justice, racial inequality, and the racial wealth gap. The Sportsmen's Tennis and Enrichment Center is a nonprofit tennis club built by and for the African American community whose focus is on the well-being of youth and the improvement of the health of the entire community.

What's New 2013

DECEMBER 2013

Webinar Now Available from October: Associate Director Shares Her Experience on HPOGUP Research Project

Janet Boguslaw, Associate Director at IASP, presented an overview of the current research project on the study of employment and advancement of racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities in New Hampshire. During the webinar Dr. Boguslaw noted how the research is relevant to the self-sufficiency of HPOG program participants and presented examples of how IASP has worked with HPOG program partners to incorporate new features of data collection and analysis into their work.

Second Report in New Brief Series Looks at the Role Employment Plays in Building and Protecting Assets

IASP releases the second brief in the Leveraging Mobility series "Employment Capital: How Work Builds and Protects Family Wealth and Security". This brief explores how the characteristics of employment facilitate a pathway to accumulating wealth that income alone can not provide.

NOVEMBER 2013

New Brief Series Launches with an Overview on How Families Build Wealth

IASP releases the first brief in the Leveraging Mobility series "Leveraging Mobility: Building Wealth, Security and Opportunity for Family Well-Being".   This brief highlights some surprising key findings and will be the first in a series that will continue throughout 2014.

New Report Focuses on Workforce Diversity Opportunities and Challenges in Health Care in New Hampshire

IASP in partnership with the Health Profession Opportunity Project (HPOP), and New Hampshire Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs (OMHRA) releases“Perspectives and Practices of New Hampshire Health Care Employers, Improving Quality, Reducing Costs, and Planning for the Future by Building Culturally Effective Health Care Organizations” which focuses on New Hampshire’s health care employers and the workplace, to learn about what they are doing, what they can do, and what kind of support they need to make health care jobs and health care outcomes in the state the best in the nation.

OCTOBER 2013

Release of Evaluation on Workforce Development Program for Homeless Families

IASP releases “Secure Jobs, Secure Homes, Secure Families Process Evaluation of the Massachusetts Secure Jobs Pilot” evaluating the implementation and early outcomes of this Secure Jobs Initiative.   Funded by the Paul & Phyllis Fireman Foundation, this report documents the process of implementing a new approach to workforce development for homeless families.

IASP Senior Research Associate published in journal

Hannah Thomas, Senior Research Associate and author of "The Financial Crisis Hits Home: Foreclosures and Asset Exhaustion in Boston" published in Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 23, No. 4, 01 Oct 2013 is now available on Taylor & Francis Online. This article reviews the depletion of financial assets that families in foreclosure experienced in Boston.

SEPTEMBER 2013

Associate Director shares her experience on HPOGUP research project

Janet Boguslaw, Associate Director at IASP, presented an overview of the current research project on the study of employment and advancement of racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities in New Hampshire. During the webinar Dr. Boguslaw noted how the research is relevant to the self-sufficiency of HPOG program participants and presented examples of how IASP has worked with HPOG program partners to incorporate new features of data collection and analysis into their work.

MAY 2013

White paper calls for supporting development of social and personal assets

Asset Funders Network releases “Strategic Philanthropy: Creating Opportunity, Building Wealth and Driving Community Change”. This paper describes how investments in programs that adopt an asset building framework can lead to greater economic outcomes for low-income families.

APRIL 2013

Second Year Report Finds Promising Results for Innovative FSS Program

IASP reports on the implementation and early outcomes of the Compass Financial Stability and Savings Program, an innovative variation on HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, with an eye to its replicatibility. In two years, Compass has increased FSS participation by 275% in the city of Lynn.

Research Director receives 2013 Mentorship Award

Tatjana Meschede, PhD, scientist, senior lecturer and research director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, received the 2013 Mentorship Award. Her current research addresses the financial security of U.S. seniors and racial wealth disparities. She teaches a course on working with national data sets to inform policy analysis and recommendations. Student nominators praised Meschede for her attention to their research interests and support in developing the skills needed to pursue them.

MARCH 2013

The PEW Charitable Trusts Releases New Study Utilizing IASP Research

Applying IASP's research, PEW released "Making Hard Choices: Navigating the Economic Shock of Unemployment" which looks at how American families manage financial resources during economic uncertainty and how those decisions impact their financial future.

February 2013

IASP Releases NEW Study on the Factors Driving the Racial Wealth Gap

IASP's report "The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap, Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide" presents breakthrough research on what has been fueling our country's growing racial wealth divide for the past 25 years, 

January 2013

IASP Middle Class Report Released

In connection with AARP's middle class security project, IASP's report "Tracking the Decline: Middle-Class Security in the 2000s" is released on January 15, 2013.

What's New 2012

November 2012

Senior IASP Advisor Speaks at Poverty Symposium

IASP Senior Advisor Bob Herbert was the keynote speaker at "(Re)Discovering Harrington's 'The Other America': A Symposium on Poverty Since the Great Society." Sponsored by the MPP Poverty Alleviation Concentration at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice. Herbert urged people to come together to resume the fight against poverty.

September 2012

Becca Loya Accepts Post-doctorate Position

IASP Graduate Research Assistant, Becca Loya, PhD, completed her dissertation on "Economic Consequences of Sexual Violence for Survivors: Implications for Social Policy and Social Change," and has accepted a post-doctorate position at Brown University.

July 2012

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy inaugurates a Senior Advisory Board

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy is pleased to inaugurate a Senior Advisory Board. Members Bob Herbert, Melvin L. Oliver, and Paula Paris, MMHS '79, share IASP’s mission of promoting a better understanding of how assets and asset-building opportunities improve the well-being and financial stability of individuals and families left out of the economic mainstream.

Mr. Herbert is an award winning journalist with a long and distinguished career including an Op-Ed column on politics and social trends in The New York Times. He has been a regular correspondent for “The Today Show” and “NBC Nightly News” and has been honored by the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s for distinguished newspaper writing and by the Meyer Badge Award for coverage of New York City.

Dr. Oliver is an expert on racial and urban inequality and poverty as well as the SAGE Sara Miller McDune Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He co-authored Black Wealth/ White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality (2006) with IASP Director Dr. Tom Shapiro. In addition, Dr. Oliver has vast experience in philanthropy from his time as Vice President of the Asset Building and Community Development (Assets) Program at the Ford Foundation and serves on numerous non-profit boards.

Ms. Paris is Deputy Director at JFYNetWorks and has broad experience in commercial banking, fundraising in education and the arts, and public policy research, specifically workforce development. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development since 1999, Ms. Paris is a member of Heller’s Board of Overseers and a Heller alumna.

February 2012

Rapid Re-Housing and Short-Term Rental Vouchers for Homeless Families

IASP released a research study brief of a pilot rapid re-housing program for homeless families in Massachusetts. While the program offers many benefits over living in a shelter, key findings detail the economic challenges families face and their anxiety about the short- term nature of the rental subsidies.

January 2012

Assessing Diversity in NH’s Healthcare Workforce

IASP was awarded a University/Community Partnership grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, for the Study of Employment and Advancement of Racial, Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities, focused on workforce diversity opportunities and challenges in health care in New Hampshire.

Medicare, A Vital Component of Economic Security for U.S. Seniors, Must Be Protected

An IASP report finds that dismantling Medicare by changing its fee-for-service structure into an annual premium support program would have a devastating effect on the economic security of seniors.  Under Rep. Ryan’s proposal, economic security among seniors will fall from 24% to only 18%, and health security will fall from 41% to a meager 3%.

What's New 2011

December 2011

Neighborhoods: Foreclosure’s Silent Victims

In an article in the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Winter 2012 publication of Communities & Banking, Hannah Thomas, Research Associate at IASP, illustrations how neighborhoods are interested parties in foreclosures yet have no legal redress to lessen the impact of foreclosed properties on neighborhood well-being.

November 2011

Compass Financial Stability and Savings Program Pilot Evaluation

Aimed at helping low-income families save and build assets, Compass Working Capital’s Financial Stability and Savings Program is an innovative variation on HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. IASP’s report analyzes the implementation strategies and early outcomes of this pilot program. First year results demonstrate great promise for future program replication. Effective outreach and marketing have increased FSS program participation by almost 200% in the city of Lynn, MA. The Compass program’s financial education and coaching are helping participants develop asset building strategies and encourage employment that has resulted in over one-third of participants beginning to accrue savings in an escrow account.

October 2011

Rising Economic Insecurity Among Senior Single Women

Nearly half (47%) of all senior single women in America do not have adequate retirement resources to meet even their most basic needs for the remainder of their lives, and this number is rising. This distressing statistic is among the findings from a report released today by IASP and Dēmos, the latest in the Living Longer on Less series. This report finds that rising housing expenses, fixed and inadequate household budgets, and very low levels of retirement assets are contributing to rapidly rising economic insecurity among senior single women. Single women are especially vulnerable to economic insecurity in retirement due to the limited lifetime asset building capacity many women face, driven by the persistent wage gap, high levels of part-time work and ineligibility for retirement benefits, as well as extended periods out of the labor force due to family care-giving duties.

Webinar: "From Bad to Worse: Senior Economic Insecurity on the Rise"

In only four years, seniors at risk of outliving their resources increased by nearly 2 million households. Using the Senior Financial Stability Index, economic insecurity among senior households increased by one-third, rising from 27% to 36% from 2004 to 2008. This steady and dramatic increase was in progress even before the full force of the Great Recession hit. This webinar, hosted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), explores the findings of IASP's two recent studies on this issue: From Bad to Worse: Senior Economic Insecurity on the Rise and The Crisis of Economic Insecurity for African-American and Latino Seniors. Speakers include IASP Research Director Dr. Tatjana Meschede (lead author), as well as Ramsey Alwin, Director of NCOA's Economic Security Initiative. Listen to the Recording or View the Presentation.

Foreclosure Fiasco: Documentation Challenges and Policy Solutions

Sponsored by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and presented by Suffolk Law School, the "Foreclosure Fiasco" conference explored policy responses that could alleviate the immediate fiasco created by problematic loan documentation and prevent a recurrence in the future. Challenges for lawyers (who represent borrowers), tenants, lenders, servicers, title companies, and people who buy homes at foreclosure sales were addressed. See the coverage of the conference in Banker & Tradesman.

September 2011

OUP Empowerment Series "Homelessness" Webcast

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede was a featured participant in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of University Partnerships (OUP) Empowerment Series "The Key to Unlocking Homelessness in America: Emerging Trends in HUD-Sponsored Research" webinar.

Minding the Wealth Gap

IASP Director Tom Shapiro joins award-winning journalist Callie Crossley of WGBH's The Callie Crossley Show to discuss escalating poverty rates, the top one percent, and forces behind the widening racial wealth gap. 

The Crisis of Economic Insecurity for African-American and Latino Seniors

New research from IASP and Dēmos reveals crisis levels of economic insecurity among current African-American and Latino seniors. The latest report in the “Living Longer on Less” series, “The Crisis of Economic Insecurity for African-American and Latino Seniors,” found that 52% of African-American and 56% of Latino Seniors do not have adequate retirement resources to meet their basic needs throughout their expected life-spans. Driven by extremely low levels of asset wealth and high housing costs, most seniors of color are struggling financially during their elder years. Forced to rely on adult children and public programs just to get by, these distressing statistics both exacerbate and are a by-product of the growing racial wealth gap.

New Programs Aim To Close The Wealth Gap (Part 2)

In Part Two of  NPR's report, IASP Director Tom Shapiro discusses children's savings accounts as tools for narrowing the racial wealth gap.

Making It In The US: More Than Just Hard Work (Part 1)

August 2011

IASP Director Tom Shapiro discusses the racial wealth gap on NPR's Morning Edition

IASP Director Thomas Shapiro appears on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" to discuss the effect of the financial crisis on low and middle income families and how current public policy is enabling a growing income disparity in America. (NOTE: Dr. Shapiro's appearance begins 8:20 into the video, which begins with a short commercial message.)

July 2011

From Bad to Worse: Senior Economic Insecurity on the Rise

IASP's and Demos' newest report in the "Living Longer on Less" series. "From Bad to Worse: Senior Economic Insecurity on the Rise" shows a troublesome trend of increased economic insecurity among senior households in just four years (2004-2008). Economic insecurity among seniors increased by one-third, from 27% to 36%. These statistics are especially of concern because today's seniors are better prepared for retirement than subsequent generations will be, mostly due to the decline in employer based retirement savings and rising debt experienced by the younger households.  View Press Release

April 2011

Presentation at Aging Conference

On April 27, 2011, IASP's Tatjana Meschede presented at the American Society on Aging's annual Aging in American conference at a session titled "Achieving Economic Security: How Do Seniors Fare?" with National Council on Aging's (NCOA) Sandra Nathan and Wider Opportunities for Women's (WOW) Stacy Sanders. 

March 2011

From Street Life to Housing: Consumer and Provider Perspectives on Service Delivery and Access to Housing

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede's in-depth study on chronically homeless street dwellers and their service providers is published in Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. This research details achievements and failures of services that attempt to reach those most likely left out of the homeless-services delivery model- the chronically homeless street population. Results underscore important differences between service providers and homeless street dwellers in their perceptions and theories of homelessness, service needs of street dwellers, and service provision.

What's New 2010

December 2010

Shapiro to do Fulbright Research

IASP Director Tom Shapiro has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research in South Africa during the first six months of 2011. His project concerns "The Wealth Gap: Reconciliation and Transformation in South African and the United States?" Shapiro will be situated at the University of Cape Town's Center for Social Science Research.


The South African Research Project examines the process of confronting history and reconciliation, with particular emphasis on the patterning of race and wealth accumulation and post-Apartheid legal, administrative, and policy measures to redress wealth inequality. South Africa has constructed a legal and policy framework for redressing the economic imbalances of the past. This project will analyze the capacities, limitations, and effectiveness of that effort because of its relevance for societies confronting severe historical economic discrimination. South Africa provides the best (and only) case study capable of exploring pivotal dynamics of reconciliation and transformation.


During Dr. Shapiro's absence, Janet Boguslaw, IASP Associate Director, will serve as Acting Director of the Institute. She can be reached at (781)736-3738 or boguslaw@brandeis.edu.


The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, operates in more than 155 countries. Since its inception, the program has provided nearly 300,000 individuals the opportunity to observe one another's political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark upon joint ventures of mutual interest.

November 2010

IASP Expands Work on Senior Economic Security

IASP will expand its work on long-term economic security and risks for seniors, focusing on vulnerable households such as seniors of color and women.  This work entails enhancing IASP's Senior Financial Stability Index with more recent survey data, and qualitatively illustrating vulnerable sectors' economic circumstances through personal interviews.  This multi-year project is funded by Atlantic Philanthropies.

For more information, contact Tatjana Meschede, IASP Research Director, at (781)736-8678 or meschede@brandeis.edu.

September 2010

Identifying Bridges and Barriers to Housing

IASP Research Director Tatjana Meschede's dissertation research on chronically homeless street dwellers is published in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) publication, Collaborating for Change: Partnerships to Transform Local Communities. This article details interviews with project partners and the research's programmatic and policy impacts.

August 2010

New Project on Housing First for Homeless Families

The new model of Prevention, Diversion, Triage (instead of shelter) and Stabilization for housing families in Massachusetts began in September of 2009. To date, more than 160 families have been successfully placed in permanent housing. IASP will evaluate the program provided by Father Bill's & Main Spring, a large homeless service provider for the South Shore. The goal of this two-year evaluation is to inform the agency about the successes and challenges of their Housing First for Homeless Families program by integrating perspectives of all stakeholders (administrators, service providers, program participants, community members) and analyzing data collected for the program.

July 2010

New Report on Super VITA Site Pilot

IASP has teamed up with the Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) to increase asset formation opportunities for low-income families across the state.  The latest report for the Asset Formation Initiative examines the integration of services at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites beyond promotion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by using the provision of free tax preparation as a vehicle to increase access to other financial and support services.  IASP researched current practices nationally, and surveyed and interviewed participating tax filers and program directors locally to identify effective strategies.  The results are outlined in the report VITA -- More than Tax Prep: Community Action Agencies Promote Asset Formation by Integrating Additional Services with the EITC at Volunteer Tax Assistance Sites.

Keynote at Aging Conference

IASP's Research Director Tatjana Meschede was invited by Senior Service America to speak at the Closing General Session at the national n4a (Advocacy, Action, Answers on Aging) conference in St. Louis, MO.  Drawing from findings of three IASP studies, she spoke about economic challenges faced by seniors of color at the session titled, "Economic Insecurity among Older Americans: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times?"  In her presentation, Dr. Meschede shared findings from the Senior Financial Stability Index, the Racial Wealth Gap, and preliminary data from a field study.  Discussion with conference participants focused on the implications for older adults and the agencies that serve them.

May 2010

The Racial Wealth Gap Increases Fourfold

Assessing the wealth holdings of the same families for 23 years (1984-2007) shows that the wealth gap between whites and African Americans increased more than 4 times, from $20,000 in 1984 to $95,000 in 2003. This gap persisted for African Americans and white families in the same income range. For example, middle-income white households had greater gains in financial assets than high-income African Americans; by 2007, they had accumulated $74,000, whereas the average high-income African American family owned only $18,000. At least 25% of all African American families had no assets to turn to in times of economic hardship.
View Research Brief

View Press Release

View CNN coverage of this research

WEBINAR: The Widening Racial Wealth Gap and the Future of Our Economy

On May 17th, IASP, in partnership with the Insight Center's Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative and Demos, held a webinar to discuss the report's findings, the reasons for the gap, and innovative policy solutions to close the racial wealth gap and ensure economic security for all Americans.

Speakers:
William Darity
, Professor of Public Policy, Professor of African and African-American Studies and Economics, Duke University  
Jose Garcia
, Associate Director for Research and Policy, Demos
Meizhu Lui,
 Director, Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative
Tom Shapiro, Ph.D.,
 Director, Institute for Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University

OP-ED: Shapiro Dives in to Racial Wealth Gap

In an op-ed in the Root, an online magazine exploring daily news from black perspectives, IASP Director Tom Shapiro introduces The Racial Wealth Gap Increases Fourfold, explores its policy implications, and examines its importance to society at large. According to Dr. Shapiro, "We should care about extreme wealth inequality because small amounts of financial resources can touch and transform the lives of families and communities." 

Severe Financial Insecurity Among African American and Latino Seniors

This new report in the Living Longer on Less series, released by IASP and Demos finds that 91% of both African American and Latino seniors face financial vulnerability. Lack of assets and housing expenses are the leading causes for the high financial insecurity among seniors of color. These findings reveal that African Americans and Latinos are particularly at-risk of poverty and financial instability in their later years. This report identifies policy action for comprehensive reforms that support working age adults and help families prepare for retirement.

March 2010

Accessing Housing: Exploring the Impact of Medical and Substance Abuse Services

IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede's dissertation research is published in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Volume 20, Issue 2, 153. In the article, "Accessing Housing: Exploring the Impact of Medical and Substance Abuse Services on Housing Attainment for Chronically Homeless Street Dwellers", Dr. Meschede details the service use of a group of homeless street dwellers in Boston over a three year period and analyzes the impact of these services on housing outcomes. Supported by the MA Department of Public Health and HUD, this research creates a unique database that points to a number of critical factors increasing the odds of leaving the streets.  For more information please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678 or email at meschede@brandeis.edu

View abstract

Leveraging Mobility over the last ten years

IASP is starting a new project "Leveraging Mobility" to understand the importance of assets in families' lives over the last ten years. Of particular interest is understanding how assets have impacted families' social, educational and economic decisions. The project will involve IASP staff interviewing 180 families who were originally interviewed in 1998 and 1999 in Boston, Los Angeles and St. Louis. Funding is provided by the Ford Foundation.  For more information please contact Hannah Thomas at (781) 736-3819 or by email at hthomas@brandeis.edu.

February 2010

Contributors to "Future of Fair Housing"

IASP's Hannah Thomas was invited by the Ohio State University Kirwan Institute's Future of Fair Housing initiative to write a paper, An Ethnographic View of Impact: Asset Stripping for People of Color, describing the impacts of foreclosure on families in Boston.  This work is based on in-depth interviews with families in foreclosure in 2007 and 2008 and points to the ways that foreclosure can lead to asset stripping for people of color.

IASP's Director, Thomas Shapiro, served as a consultant to the initiative and its report Fair Credit and Fair Housing in the Wake fo the Subprime Lending and Foreclosure Crisis that emerged from a series of meetings around the country to look at the global credit system and the current subprime crisis.

What's New 2009

December 2009

The Long-Term Economic (In)Security of Seniors

An article on the Senior Financial Stability Index was featured in the December 2009 issue of New England Community Developments, a publication on emerging issues in community development and consumer affairs produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. This article introduces the Index developed by IASP and Demos to highlight major areas of concern for long-term senior economic security, and points to promoting asset-building opportunities, strengthening of public social insurance, and controlling the growth of expenses for seniors as critical policy interventions.

November 2009

The Asset Security and Opportunity Index

In this research and policy brief, IASP critically reflects on the conceptualization and measurement of "asset poverty" and introduces a new approach for practice and research. The Asset Security and Opportunity Index reconceptualizes past approaches in three areas: income in the absence of employment income such as unemployment benefits; an alternative poverty measure that reflects a more realistic coverage of essential needs; and capturing asset opportunities, investments and resources that can be leveraged for mobility, security, and stability. Findings show that four out ten U.S. households lack asset security. Two out of three households of color do not have sufficient assets to sustain themselves when faced with unemployment, and only one in five households among them has financial assets for mobility investments.  View Press Release

October 2009

Why Don't Lenders Renegotiate More Home Mortgages?

Paul Willen, Senior Economist and Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, discussed the incentives lenders have which may answer the question of why more of them are not renegotiating troubled mortgages.  View Presentation

September 2009

Community Assets

In "Community Assets - Expanding Beyond Individual Asset Ownership" Hannah Thomas and Thomas Shapiro build a case for  the asset field to look not only to individual forms of ownership but also to community forms of ownership that resonate with a place-based approach to community development.  This article appears in Chapter 18 of Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers and Policymakers, edited by Roger Clay, Jr. & Susan R. Jones.  Hannah Thomas presented the community assets framework at the annual American Bar Association conference for Affordable Housing and Community Development on October 9, 2009. View Abstract

IASP Study Cited in New York Times Editorial

Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammed cite the IASP report "The Downslide before the Downturn: Declining Economic Insecurity among Middle Class African Americans and Latinos, 2000-2006" to illustrate the tenuous economic status of black middle class families before the current recession. In particular, they cite the large proportion of black families in danger of falling out of the middle class. View Editorial

New Project on Health and Wealth

Tatjana Meschede and Laura Sullivan were awarded funding through the PSID small grant competition operated by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research for their study "Negative Health Events and Wealth Trajectories for Working Age Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis and Exploration by Race and Ethnicity." This study investigates the impact of negative health events on life cycle savings and wealth building with a specific focus on African-Americans and Latinos. Findings will serve to help the research and policy communities better understand the lasting effects of health problems on economic security and on the ability of families to build assets. Findings will also provide new evidence on the long-term implications of health events on family wealth that has not been captured before. View Study Abstract

July 2009

Convening of Foreclosure Researchers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - July 23, 2009

Ten researchers working on real estate foreclosure research in Massachusetts convened at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to share details of their projects.  Although some projects had results to report and others are still in process, the convening expanded knowledge of local activity in the field as communities across the state and nation are facing the impact of foreclosures.  The July 3rd event was organized by IASP, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Citizen's Housing and Planning Association.

June 2009

Asset Development: Removing Barriers, Building Futures

The Massachusetts Asset Development Commission's report, prepared by IASP, recommends ways to better assist low- to moderate-income families to build and retain assets. The report, released at a State House event with Governor Patrick and legislative leaders, puts forward strategic recommendations for administrative actions, regulatory reforms, and legislative proposals.  View The Boston Globe's Coverage of the Report.  View Editorial on the report.

CNN.com Commentary

IASP Director Tom Shapiro's commentary, "Close the Racial Wealth Gap," is featured as part of CNN's Black in America series. Dr. Shapiro frames racial wealth inequality as the hidden fault line of American democracy, arguing for a new civil rights movement for the 21st century that focuses on economic opportunity, inclusion and closing the racial wealth gap.

May 2009

The Downslide Before the Downturn: Declining Economic Security Among Middle Class African Americans and Latinos, 2000-2006

Based on the Demos/IASP Middle Class Security Index, this new report shows that households of color experienced much larger declines in middle class economic security than the overall middle class. While nationally middle class economic security declined by 5 percentage points (from 29% to 24%) in 2005, it declined by 10 percentage points (from 26% to 16%) for African Americans, and by 11 percentage points (from 23% to 12%) for Latino middle class households. These declines are mostly driven by dramatic losses in financial assets for middle class households of color.  View Press Release

Statement on Better Understanding the Economic Security of Seniors

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Demos, and IASP issued a statement on the complementary nature of our two measures of senior economic security and senior long-term financial stability.

April 2009

Boston Globe Editorial based on IASP study

This Boston Globe editorial from April 10, 2009 cited the recent IASP report, Achieving Greater Financial Stability: The Role of the EITC and Financial Education in Advancing the Asset Formation Efforts of Community Action Agencies. This study was conducted in partnership with MASSCAP and the Community Action Agencies across the state. The editorial notes how the combination of the credit to reward work provided by the EITC and financial education "...helps many families jump-start a savings program or take steps toward building assets."

Special Event:  The Untold Costs of Subprime Lending:  The Impacts of Foreclosures on Communities of Color in California

Carolina Reid of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco discussed the impact of the Community Reinvestment Act on subprime lending and foreclosures, joined by Jim Campen of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston.  This event took place on April 15, 2009 in the Schneider Family Building at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  View PresentationView Carolina Reid's Paper

March 2009

Living Longer on Less in Massachusetts: The New Economic (In)security of Seniors

This IASP report finds that 68% of all senior households in Massachusetts are financially vulnerable, lacking sufficient resources to meet essential expenses and cover projected costs over their lifetimes. Economic insecurity is particularly pronounced for Massachusetts' single senior households -- with 82% among them fancying financial insecurity. These ominous trends for older adults have been accelerated by the current economic crisis, increasing the urgency to stabilize and enhance retirement resources. Future retirees will be worse off unless we attend to policies that grow their resources for the future, and combat the rising costs of essential expenses for seniors. View Press Release

February 2009

Achieving Greater Financial Stability: The Role of the EITC and Financial Education in Advancing the Asset Formation Efforts of Community Action Agencies

In partnership with MASSCAP, and with the support of grants from The Boston Foundation, IASP conducted research to guide implementation of asset formation programs at Community Action Agencies. The combined services of free tax preparation and basic financial education are viewed as critical building blocks in the asset formation and retention strategy of community-based organizations. View Report

CBS Evening News features IASP and Demos Report, Living Longer on Less

View Video

January 2009

Progress Report of the Massachusetts Asset Development Commission

This report of the Asset Development Commission, appointed by Governor Patrick and the legislature, puts forward 18 recommendations for immediate administrative and legislative action. These recommendations are to advance its mission to "ensure Massachusetts residents, especially those who are low- and moderate-income or asset poor, throughout life have new opportunities to developed the assets necessary for sustainable economic security and improved quality of life, and the capacity to end intergenerational cycles of poverty." IASP aided in the drafting of this report as it will the Commission's final report to be released in June 2009.

Enhancing Social Security for Low-Income Workers: Coordinating an Enhanced Minimum Benefit with Social Safety Net Provisions for Seniors

Selected by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) as one of twelve scholars to compose a policy paper on improving Social Security for vulnerable groups, IASP discusses three spheres to enhance Social Security benefits for low-income workers. These include enhancing the existing special minimum benefit, considering program interactions to ensure economic security for beneficiaries of the new minimum, and updating asset limits in the Supplementary Social Security (SSI) program to reflect, at a minimum, inflation since program implementation.  View IASP Report.  View NASI Final Report.  View Press Release.

Living Longer on Less: The New Economic (In)Security of Seniors

This new report by IASP and Demos finds that 78% of all senior households are financially vulnerable when it comes to their ability to meet essential expenses and cover projected costs over their lifetimes. Economic insecurity is particularly pronounced for single senior households -- with 84% among them facing financial insecurity. These sobering statistics serve as an economic distress signal for older Americans and a wake-up call for younger and middle-aged Americans. View Press Release.  View Fact Sheet

What's New 2008

November 2008

From Middle to Shaky Ground: The Economic Decline of America's Middle Class, 2000-2006

Published by the policy center Demos and the Institute on Assets and Social policy, this report is based on the Middle Class Security Index which uses government data and measures the financial security of the middle class by rating household stability across five core economic factor assets, educational achievement, housing costs, budget and healthcare. According to the new report, 76% of American middle class households are not financially secure at this time.

IASP Associate Director Janet Boguslaw publishes chapter in Sustainable Challenges and Solutions at the Base of the Pyramid: Business, Technology and the Poor.

October 2008

IASP's Middle Class Work Featured on NBC Nightly News

IASP's work on the middle class was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Wednesday night, October 29th.  NBC used the findings from our recent Economic (In)Security report - in collaboration with Demos - to provide insight into how the middle class is faring in the current economic downturn, particularly African-American and Latino households.  The segment included graphics showcasing our findings and an interview with Jennifer Wheary, Demos Senior Fellow and co-author of the report.

September 2008

IASP Director Thomas M. Shapiro publishes article in The American Prospect

IASP Director and Heller School's Professor of Law and Social Policy along with Melvin L. Oliver wrote "Sub-Prime as a Black Catastrophe" published in The American Prospects's October special report on narrowing racial divides.  Despite legal gains in civil rights, asset inequality in America has been growing rapidly over the last twenty years.  As minorities received a disproportionate share of sub-prime mortgages, they are suffering a disproportionate share of the burden and losses as well.

July 2008

IASP Receives Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Award to Strengthen Social Security for Vulnerable Groups

A proposal submitted by IASP's Tatjana Meschede, Laura Sullivan, and Thomas Shapiro is among twelve policy projects selected by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) to compose policy papers identifying specific ways to improve Social Security for a range of vulnerable groups. Specifically, the IASP team will study and recommend innovative policies to strengthen Social Security for low-wage workers. Final papers of all selected policy scholars will be synthesized and made available to policy makers, congressional staff, executive branch transition teams, and other stakeholder communities. Click to View Full Announcement of Award.

June 2008

Strategy Meeting for Asset-Building Coalitions in States

Over 60 individuals representing 28 different state coalitions, national intermediary organizations and several foundations gathered in St. Louis to share coalition achievements and challenges, learn about successful tactics and available resources and technical assistance, and begin to develop strategies to sustain and advance the work. Under the sponsorship of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, IASP teamed up with the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University and CFED to plan and facilitate the first-ever strategy meeting for emerging and developed statewide asset building coalitions.

May 2008

FDIC Alliance for Economic Inclusion Forum at Brandeis

IASP Director Tom Shapiro joined Timothy Delessio, FDIC Community Affairs Officer, in welcoming participants at the joint Boston and Worcester Alliances for Economic Inclusion General Forum on Innovation in Saving and Wealth-Building. Lisa Lynch, incoming Dean of the Heller School, presented opening remarks on "The Importance of Savings and Financial Security." Peter Tufano, Professor of Financial Management and Senior Associate Dean, Harvard Business School, addressed "Financial Innovations to Support Savings: From Coercion to Excitement." The morning's agenda also included the presentation "Wealth Inequity, Debt, and Savings: Implications for Policy and Financial Services," by Sandra Venner, IASP Program Director.

March 2008

Massachusetts Asset Development Commission

The first meeting of the Massachusetts Asset Development Commission was held on March 13th. IASP Director Thomas Shapiro was invited to make the introductory presentation to his fellow commissioners. Undersecretary Tina Brooks and Rep. James Eldridge were selected as co-chairs by the Commissioners who had been appointed by the Massachusetts legislature and the Governor. The Commission will conduct research, engage constituencies, and make policy recommendations to ensure low and moderate income Massachusetts residents have opportunities to develop assets throughout life for sustainable economic security and improved quality of life. IASP will assist the Commission in achieving its mission through supporting research and community engagement. The network of organizations involved in IASP's Massachusetts Asset Policy Initiative will work with state and national officials to see through implementation of the recommendations of the Commission.

February 2008

Economic (In)Security: The Experience of the African-American and Latino Middle Classes

IASP and Dēmos released a second report in the "By A Thread" report series on the state of the African-American and Latino middle class and its ability to achieve the American Dream. This landmark study is based on the new "Middle Class Security Index." Major findings demonstrate that three out of four African-American and four out of five Latino middle class families are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether. Click to view Boston Globe article.

What's New 2007

December 2007

IASP partners with the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council and others to sponsor Working Together to Build Wealth in Lower-Income Communities

Nearly 75 representatives from financial institutions, public officials, community organization directors, and academic researchers gathered to gain a better understanding of the financial difficulties encountered by lower-income families and the services and policies that can make a difference.  New approaches to program delivery and collaborative program models were presented.

Thomas Shapiro, Director of the Institute, delivered the luncheon keynote address, "Are Financial Assets All You Need?"  Professor Shapiro stated that to the extent that there is a policy agenda for upward mobility into America's middle class today, it is happening in the assets arena. View Report

November 2007

By a Thread:  The New Experience of America's Middle Class

When we think of the middle class, we think of having financial security, raising a family with a reasonable standard of living, building a solid future for the next generation, receiving quality healthcare, and retiring in comfort.  This type of security does not just happen.  Rather, it is supported by a range of factors.

By a Thread recommends policies to help open access to, and strengthen, America's middle class.  Legislative proposals in this report cover a range of important issues, including asset building and debt reduction, making higher education more accessible and affordable, and addressing the healthcare crisis.

Thomas Shapiro discusses economic mobility and race on NPR's Talk of the Nation

IASP Director Tom Shapiro and colleagues discuss a new study showing that the income gap between black and white families widened in the last three decades.

August 2007

We are pleased to announce that Tatjana Meschede, Ph.D., has joined the Institute on Assets and Social Policy as a Senior Research Associate and Project Manager for the MacArthur Funded project, "Family Financial Well-Being in the 21st Century:  Strategic Positioning of Data Tools for Policy Impact."

Previously with the UMass Center for Social Policy (CSP,) Dr. Meschede has extensive experience in research on homelessness, collaborating with Massachusetts' state departments (DTA, DPH, DHCD) and local communities.  As the statistical expert for CSP, she was also responsible for quantitative analyses on CSP's projects on food and nutrition, the technology divide, and access to the labor market for persons with barriers.  She will continue to serve on the faculty of the Masters in Public Affairs Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she teaches research methods and statistics.

June 2007

Northwest Jacksonville Community Asset Analysis

IASP embarked on a partnership in 2006 with the War on Poverty Florida, Inc (WPI) to apply the asset development model in Florida minority communities.  A comprehensive assessment of qualitative and quantitative data and utilization of GIS mapping software culminated in the Northwest Jacksonville Community Asset Analysis.  This analysis serves as a research-based catalyst within the War on Poverty's vision of progress for minority communities.

May 2007

In April 2007, IASP was awarded a three-year grant from the MacArthur Foundation for the project, "Family Financial Well-Being in the 21st Century: Strategic Positioning of Data Tools for Policy Impact."  In partnerships with the organizations Demos and CFED, the IASP will collaborate to create and analyze data on family well-being and the role of the social contract in creating opportunities for economic security and stability in this nation. Press Release

March 2007

In the Media: Thomas Shapiro and the sub-prime "smoking gun"

Dr. Thomas Shapiro, IASP Director and Heller professor, talks to the Boston Globe about subprime mortgage loans to blacks and Latinos. View Article

January 2007

In the Media: Help in Achieving Economic Security

IASP Program Director Sandra Venner and co-author, Joseph Diamond, Executive Director of Massachusetts Association for Community Action, urge Governor Patrick to adopt programs that help vulnerable people build assets and create economic security. View Boston Globe's Op-Ed Piece

What's New 2006

December 2006

State and City Asset Building Initiatives

Several states are at varying stages in forming statewide initiatives that take a holistic approach to asset policy development.

November 2006

Asset Building Policies in Massachusetts

The report presents the current status of numerous policies in Massachusetts and across the nation.

"13 Myths About Affirmative Action: A Special Series on Public Policy Under Siege"

This 13-part series is written and produced in collaboration with Kimberly Williams Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum, and aired on the Michael Eric Dyson Talk Radio Show. Each installment in the series explores a widely held belief or assertion about affirmative action, and upon closer inspection shows that belief to be false, distorted, or unsupported by the evidence. The November 3rd installment features IASP Director Thomas Shapiro discussing the myth that individual effort and hard work determines who becomes prosperous and wealthy in the United States. 

July 2006

Pioneering plan for Florida's minority communities

The Institute, in partnership with the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition, has launched a comprehensive project to support economic revitalization, workforce development, homeownership and financial literacy in ten communities in Florida. The Institute will aid in community asset assessment and organizational capacity building, as well as provide policy analysis and research in this initiative to wage a war on poverty through assets for change. View Document

March 2006

Wage War - A red-state wedge issue, but for the progressive side: the minimum wage

In this American Prospect article, authors Daphne Hunt and J. Larry Brown report on how local and state policy advocates view raising the minimum wage as an issue that crosses party lines and can carry with it support for progressive candidates and other progressive issues in the future.

Perspective: NWO's as Institutions for Asset Building

Nelson Merced and Melvyn Colon discuss how organizations such as NeighborWorks America (r) and its local NeighborWorks Organizations (NWO) can be understood as institutions for asset building. View Document

February 2006

Perspective: Medical Debt and Household Asset Stability

Jeffrey Prottas, Professor at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University and Director of Evaluations for the Robert Wood Johnson ACCESS Project, speaks about the ways medical debt undermines asset building and the kinds of policy initiatives that should be addressed.  View Document

January 2006

Perspective: Making Boston the "Opportunity City"

Paul S. Grogan, President & CEO, The Boston Foundation, speaks about asset building related to education, workforce development and housing in the city of Boston. View Document

What's New 2005

December 2005

Innovative State Policies to Reduce Poverty and Expand the Middle Class: Building Asset Security Among Low-Income Households

This analysis suggests a number of states are charting new territory in the arena of social investments that are designed to address the root causes of poverty and wealth inequality in the nation. By highlighting specific policies that are designed to enable households to build assets and by examining how they came about, this document can serve as a roadmap for policymakers, advocates and interested individuals.

Minimum Wage: Creating an Asset Foundation

This report examines the significance of federal and state minimum wage laws, explores the impact of the minimum wage since its inception and the arguments for and against increases over time. This is the first of a series that will focus on the building blocks for an integrated asset policy framework emerging through state policies and practices that are advancing asset development at the state level and may drive change in federal policy.

Perspective: Statewide Initiative in Illinois to Build Assets of Low-Income Families

Ricardo A. Millet, President of Woods Fund Chicago, writes about their relationship with the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and how their initiatives are working to build economic security for low-income families in Illinois.  Click to View Document

November 2005

Perspective: Racing to the Top: Building and Preserving Assets in a Global Economy

Robert Reich, Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, writes about the global economy and the need to promote a race to the top to build and preserve assets and opportunity. Click to View Document

October 2005

Perspective: Women and Wealth: Expanding the Asset Development Paradigm

Anita F. Hill, Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's Studies at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, writes about the need to improve and expand asset policies and development opportunities for women. Click to View Document

September 2005

Perspective: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Thomas Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, and Melvin Oliver, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology, College of Letters & Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, both write about racial wealth inequality in America. Click to View Document

July 2005

Building a Real "Ownership Society"

In this publication, J. Larry Brown, Robert Kuttner and Thomas M. Shapiro challenge the White House over how to build a true “ownership society.” The authors note that the Administration's stated goal of promoting ownership is being undermined by proposed policies which are at odds with how social investments actually built the nation's middle class. This cutting-edge analysis is expected to provide an alternative vision that holds promise to be successful.

Perspective: Building Assets for Individuals, Communities and Business

Elizabeth Y.A. Ferguson, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Bay Area Family of Funds, writes about how the business community in the Bay Area, California, works to improve economic opportunities and asset building for individuals and communities. Click to View Document

June 2005

Affordable Housing in the Suburbs: Tools for Citizen-Led Affordable Housing Development

The Institute partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Fannie Mae Foundation to sponsor a conference exploring issues, strategies and messages to improve access to affordable housing in the suburban Boston region. Nearly 140 citizen leaders, elected officials and non-profit, municipal and state staff attended this conference. 

Perspective: Creating a Genuine Opportunity Society

Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) writes about how progressive values of opportunity, fairness, tolerance, and respect for others can expand asset-building opportunities for all hard working Americans.  Click to View Document

May 2005

Perspective: Youth and Financial Assets

Andrew Hahn, Ph.D. '78, a member of IASP and Professor at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, talks about the current state of youth asset-building policy in the U.S.  Click to View Document

A Black Tax on Wealth Accumulation

This commentary by IASP member Thomas Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, reveals how history is defining the future for Black families with few assets.

April 2005

Asset Opportunity Ladder

The Asset Opportunity Ladder charts the many policies that can impact the ability to build assets over a lifetime. At each life stage innovative state and federal policies can aid in creating an asset foundation, strengthening human capacities, and building financial wealth. The gains extend not only to the social and economic well-being of individuals and their families, but also benefit the larger community and the economy.

Perspective: Building Assets and Asset Wealth

William H. Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Chuck Collins, co-founder and Senior Fellow at United for a Fair Economy, propose creating a GI bill-style wealth-broadening program for future generations based on tax revenue generated from a reformed federal estate tax. Click to View Document

March 2005

Building a Real "Ownership Society"

Transcript of a speech given by J. Larry Brown at the American Public Human Services Administrators conference. Dr. Brown was asked to debate Clarence Carter, former Director of the Federal Office of Community Service (OCS) under the Bush administration, over the definition of the "Ownership Society" concept.

Perspective: A Real Ownership Society

Robert Kuttner, a member of IASP and a syndicated columnist and co-editor at The American Prospect, talks about what a real "Ownership Society" looks like and how President Bush's plan will take us down the wrong road.  Click to View Document

Social Security's generation gap

In this article recently published in USA Today, IASP faculty member and former secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, Robert Reich, describes the dangers facing younger generations if President Bush's Social Security plan were to pass.

February 2005

Defending the Dream: Economic Opportunity and Tax Fairness" Conference, February 6-8, 2005, Washington, DC

The aim of this conference was to bring together a diverse group of constituencies from different issues and provide them with a chance to share ideas. Participants were able to learn what progressive tax reform might look like, how we might link the fair taxes conversation to a renewed commitment to broad-based asset building, closing the racial wealth divide, and building a progressive rather than regressive ownership society. Planning partners included: Institute on Assets and Social Policy (Brandeis), The American Prospect, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Council of La Raza, and United for a Fair Economy.

January 2005

Perspective: What Would Privatization Do to Social Security Insurance?

J. Larry Brown explains how the privatization of Social Security would undermine the guaranteed protections we all receive under this national insurance plan. Click to View Document

What's New 2004

November 2004

Raising the Bar

This article was co-authored by Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Ph.D. student Daphne Hunt and focuses on the need to reward better-trained child-care and preschool teachers. Hunt recently joined the Institute on Assets and Social Policy as a Research Assistant.

October 2004

Running in Reverse

This commentary on the widening wealth gap for Hispanic and African-American families in the current economy by Dr. Tom Shapiro first appeared on the American Progress Action Fund web site. Shapiro is Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, and a member of its Institute on Assets and Social Policy.

September 2004

Institute Co-Hosts D.C. Conference on Bootstrap Capitalism

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, joined the New America Foundation and policyAmerica to co-host a meeting examining asset policy expansions in the arenas of banking and financial services. 250 representatives from Congress, various foundations, and national advocacy and policy organizations attended this conference. Dr. J. Larry Brown joined Professor Michael Sherraden (author of the 1991 book Assets and the Poor) on a panel to discuss the future of asset policy. Other Institute participants included Dr. Thomas Shapiro and The American Prospect editor, Robert Kuttner.

July 2004

Asset Development for Low-Income Women: A Framework for Success

Presentation and handouts by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy's Sandra Venner, during the National Conference of State Legislatures' Annual Meeting on July 21, 2004, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

May 2004

Poverty and Inequality: Albatross or Opportunity?

Recent keynote speech given by Dr. J. Larry Brown at the Tri-State Community Action Agencies (CAA) Conference on Cape Cod, MA, on May 19, 2004.

Center recognized in recent book by N.Y. Times reporter Richard Rothstein

The work of Dr. J. Larry Brown and the Center on Hunger and Poverty has been covered extensively in New York Times education reporter Richard Rothstein's new book, Class and Schools (Columbia University, 2004).

March 2004

Poverty In America: How Did the Working Get So Poor?

Recent keynote speech given by Dr. J. Larry Brown at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in Boston on February 22, 2004.

Creating a Genuine "Opportunity Society"

This recent speech by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), delivered at the Center for Humanities, City University of New York, proposes major new initiatives to create a genuine opportunity society, including new policies to help families build the assets they need for social mobility and economic security.

February 2004

Book review on The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality

 of Dr. Thomas M. Shapiro's new book entitled The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality. Dr. Shapiro is Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

January 2004

Syndicated columnist highlights Center's asset policy work

This recent column by Robert Kuttner in the Boston Globe highlights some of the Center's work around asset policy issues.

What's New 2003

September 2003

Pathways to Getting Ahead

This booklet is targeted to young adults, and aims to spur thinking about the importance of asset building in their personal lives and about how larger policy decisions impact the choices they make. It identifies numerous ways to locate important information through local sources, 800 numbers, and the web. The booklet is a joint project of the Public and Community Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and ADI.

Inclusion in the Economic Mainstream: The Promise of Asset Development

Larry Beeferman was an invited presenter at the session on Race, Immigration and Wealth: Interactions and Policy Directions at Harvard University's 2003 Color Lines Conference, August 29 - September 1.

July 2003

Maximizing Income and Assets to Help Low-Income Workers

Larry Beeferman was an invited panelist on the National Governors Association' Center for Best Practices' July 9, 2003 Webcast on "Making the Most of Limited Resources to Help Low-Income Workers." Click to read the background document for his remarks

Connecting the Dots for Poor Children

Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, Dean of The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, writes in the Boston Globe that the welfare reauthorization process should be driven by long-term investment in the healthy development and behavior of our nation's most vulnerable children.

What's New 2002

September 2002

The Asset Index: Assessing the Progress of States in Promoting Economic Security and Opportunity

A new Asset Development Institute report provides the first state-by-state comparative study of key assets that all Americans need to succeed in today's economy. The 39 indicators paint a multi-faceted portrait of the progress that has been made in different regions of the country and in particular states. Read the press release and full report.

May 2002

Brown gives keynote address at the USDA's Children, Youth, and Families at Risk conference

Read J. Larry Brown's keynote address given May 29th in New Orleans.

January 2002

The Promise of Asset Development Policies, Realizing the Promise: Individual Development Accounts

The Winter 2002 issue of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Communities and Banking magazine features Larry W. Beeferman describing the promise and elements of an asset development policy framework.  Read the article

What's New 2001

December 2001

What comes after welfare reform?

In an article in the Boston Review, J. Larry Brown and Larry W. Beeferman argue that the welfare reauthorization debate is the domestic policy opportunity of the near future.

October 2001

Discover the opportunities asset development policies provide

In a new Asset Development Institute report, Larry W. Beeferman writes on how consensus might be reached on the new policy opportunity asset development provides.

September 2001

New U.S. poverty estimates released

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the overall poverty rate fell in 2000, but poverty rates for African Americans and Latinos are still double that of other groups of people, and the gap between the rich and poor persists.

June 2001

Families Who've Lost Welfare Need Help

Read the op-ed by J. Larry Brown and Dorie Seavey featured in The Boston Globe. For a copy, please contact the Center.

April 2001

Asset Development Institute releases report on Promising State Asset Development Policies

A new Asset Development Institute report identifies state policies and programs that demonstrate the potential to turn domestic policy on its head, by investing in the capacity of all American households to maximize economic well-being and productivity.

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