Update from the Assets & Opportunity Network Steering Committee

Every day it seems there’s a new headline or political challenge we’re navigating. Between cuts to long-valued programs like Assets for Independence, threats of millions losing their health care, brewing debates on Dodd-Frank and the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, tax reform and more, we’re all figuring out where best to devote our time, resources and energy.

Prosperity Now is devoting our energy to elevating your voices and generating action on the issues most essential for the low-income people and communities we all serve. To that end, we’ve enlisted the thought partnership of the Assets & Opportunity Network Steering Committee. The Steering Committee represents a diverse group of leaders from the field, including state asset-building coalition leaders, researchers, programmatic innovators and more. You can learn more about them here. Over the past several months, they’ve been important partners through our post-election Town Hall meeting, the Virtual Regional Listening Sessions in January and the launch of Prosperity Now's new Advocacy Action Center Facebook Group last month.

Recently, Steering Committee members gathered for a daylong meeting in Washington, DC, to strategize ways of building knowledge and advocacy capacity, convening and connecting the field, and mobilizing advocates connected to Prosperity Nowand other national organizations to take action on critical issues. During the Steering Committee meeting, we tackled topics such as:

  • What are the gaps in knowledge and skills in the field that we need to focus on?
  • How should we focus our time and resources connecting partners in the field to each other and to experts?
  • How can we move more Network members to take more (and more deeply engaging) actions?
  • How can we best leverage the Assets & Opportunity Network structure to facilitate this work and provide channels for connection and discussion?

There were so many ideas flowing that we’re still wading through them all! However, there are a few opportunities we want to make sure you’re aware of right now.

  • Federal advocacy calls to action are moving at lightning speed. To stay informed, join the Facebook Action Center for timely updates (and a community to discuss advocacy with your peers). You can also sign up for one of Prosperity Now's four federal policy campaigns. And, coming next month, we're offering a new “Advocacy 101” hub with tools and resources for both novices and those looking to sharpen their knowledge and skills.
  • As many state legislative sessions wrap up and groups prepare for 2018, look out for the new Scorecard data and report release coming later this summer.
  • To connect with peers and experts on how to maximize the power of the data and messaging in the Scorecard to advance state agendas, stay tuned for the next round of Virtual Regional Listening Sessions, coming this fall. We know the field is experiencing some brushback right now, so ahead of the Listening Sessions, consider reaching out to people in your community and your organization and encourage them to talk about their experiences. As you do, remind them that you are there to support them.
  • In response to feedback from the field and a growing desire for people to connect and engage on our issues, we’ll be unveiling a whole new suite of opportunities to plug in, connect with others on issues most relevant to you and apply to become one of our state and local advocacy partners.

While they were in town, Steering Committee members also attended the FDIC’s 2017 Economic Inclusion Summit which coordinated panel discussions focused on:

  • Research that can inform economic inclusion efforts
  • Establishing safe and sustainable banking relationships
  • Leveraging partnerships for banking access and financial empowerment
  • Growing customer relationships, building long-term loyalty among diverse customers
  • The future of economic inclusion

To access recordings of the individual panel discussions from the Summit, click here.

We’ll continue to keep you updated as all of these opportunities and others become available through this email list. In the meantime, always feel free to send us your thoughts and ideas at assetsandopportunity@cfed.org. To send you inspiration, Steering Committee members wanted to share a few messages with you: check out what they had to say!

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