Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

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Tangible Hope: Leveraging Assets to Bring Dreams within Reach.

Welcome to the podcast Tangible Hope: Leveraging Assets to Bring Dreams within Reach. I’m Dr. Willie Elliott, Director of the Center for Assets, Education, and Inclusion and Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan. My co-host, Melinda Lewis, Professor of Practice in the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas, joins me for conversations with leading scholars, policymakers, and advocates about approaches that realize assets’ promise to make dreams realistic expectations. Each episode, we’ll examine the evidence of assets’ transformative effects on children’s outcomes, debate policy options for delivering tangible hopes for families’ futures, and address evolving issues about opportunity, equity, and the American Dream. Thank you for joining us!


Why unconditional cash transfer and asset policies may be the key to finally solving poverty?

May 16, 2024

Today we have Amy Castro, an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Social Policy & Practice and is the Co-Founder and faculty director of the Center for Guaranteed Income Research. She served as the Co-PI of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration under former Mayor Michael Tubbs which, lead to a proliferation of experimentation with unconditional cash across the U.S. She is the Co-PI of 30 applied cash-transfer studies, further she currently advises more than 20 Mayoral teams, state, and county legislators on unconditional cash research. In today’s episode we discuss with Amy what unconditional cash transfers are, why they are important, and why combining these income policies with asset policies might give us the best opportunity to actually solve poverty.

How is Mayor Carter and the City of Saint Paul using their CSA program to fight economic inequality?

May 9, 2024

On this episode we have Mayor Melvin Carter, the first African American mayor of the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Mayor Carter and the team at the City of Saint Paul have given a great deal of thought about how to solve poverty and wealth inequality in America. We will talk to him about several income and asset innovations they have been able to implement within the City.

How is New York City's NYC Kids RISE program empowering communities to help children pay for college?

March 8, 2024

In this episode we discuss how NYC Kids RISE in New York City is helping families build assets to pay for college and career training through a novel innovation, called Community Scholarships. Community Scholarships provide an innovative mechanism to drive additional capital into children's savings accounts. Functionally, Community Scholarships are contributions to groups of NYC Scholarship Accounts through a donation to NYC Kids RISE. NYC Kids RISE deposits 100% of the donations received for Community Scholarships into the NYC Scholarship Accounts of the designated group of students.

We ask Michael Sherraden, what has changed in how you think about assets and the poor since having written your seminal book in 1991?

March 1, 2024

In this episode we talk with Michael Sherraden, George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in Saint Louis, founding Director of the Center for Social Development, and author of Assets and the Poor the transformational book in which he dared to suggest poverty was more than lack of income, but also a lack of wealth. We discuss several topics such as what has changed since writing the book, what is the current state of asset building in the US, what are the prospects for major federal policy, and where is asset building research and policy heading in the next decade.

The 401Kids proposal: adapting state 529s for inclusive asset-building

February 12, 2024

In this episode, Willie Elliott and Melinda Lewis interviewed Ray Boshara to unpack the intricacies of Senator Bob Casey’s 401Kids savings account proposal. This legislative effort aims to merge the success of existing CSA programs with new federal initiatives to create a robust, inclusive financial platform for the next generation.

What can we learn from Canada about helping kids pay for college?

January 16, 2024

New research from the Canada Education Savings Plan suggests that kids with savings in an account are more likely to attend and complete a postsecondary degree and have less debt when they leave than kids who do not.

Tangible Hope Podcast: Episode 2

October 30, 2023

In Episode 2 of the Tangible Hope Podcast we discuss the role of education as an equalizer, the student debt crisis, its impact on the return on a degree, and what to do about it. We have recently written a report on this topic and if this topic is interesting you might also want to take a look at it as well, you can find it and related materials here.

Tangible Hope Podcast: Episode 1

September 30, 2023

In Episode 1 of the Tangible Hope Podcast we discuss what we mean when we use the phrase tangible dreams and how asset intervention can help provide children and their families with an environment rich for dreaming.