6 out of 10 jobs created in North Carolina between 2009-2013 were in industries that pay wages that keep workers living paycheck to paycheck, trapped in cycles of poverty and hardship. Watch as Dominique Beaudry tells her story.


Winston Salem MEOP Report

ABC Brochure Download

CFED Scorecard

Credit Report

2016 NC Scorecard Report

What Its Worth Full Book

National League of Cities Executive Summary

The National Industry Standards for Financial Capability

Poverty Thought Force Final Recommendations


Encouraging Savings for Public Benefit Recipients, a Win for Families and States

According to the Census, approximately 52 million people in the US are caught in a bind – needing some form of means-tested government assistance, but also not allowed to save or build the very assets that allow them to safely move off public benefit programs.  Cash welfare, food assistance, heating assistance and other public benefits require recipients to have few or no assets. These “asset limits” are a relic, especially given that programs now focus on quickly moving individuals and families to self-sufficiency, rather than allowing them to receive benefits indefinitely.

In this webinar, participants heard findings from three new research studies that explored asset limits and family balance sheets. We discussed how these policy changes affected participation in public benefits, specifically Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We also discussed how policy changes to asset limits have impacted recipients’ ability to save long-term.

See Online Webinar here

Systemic white supremacy creates disparate and unequal economic outcomes for people of color, a new report shows


Race is how economic class is lived in America. Consequently, from the nation’s founding to the present, race and class (as well as gender) are a social and political scaffolding on which opportunities and privileges are affixed in the United States. Read More


Crucial Conversation — Predatory payday lenders: Is North Carolina rid of them for good or will they make a comeback?

Learn why North Carolina still needs a strong national rule to prevent predators from re-entering NC under a weak rule. North Carolinians can speak with national expert, Tom Feltner. Feltner is the Director of Financial Services at the Consumer Federation of America, an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy and education. See More

Connecting Communities on What Its Worth

Organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Every household’s financial health matters to the success of the U.S. economy, but financial insecurity is widespread and impacts a broad range of outcomes, such as health, educational attainment, and employment. What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation offers a collection of essays from some of the nation’s leading experts that examines the systemic causes of financial insecurity, the enormous creativity and innovation already happening to increase financial well-being, and how we can implement proven and emerging solutions.

Speakers will discuss promising practices for building financial well-being, such as integrating services across sectors and ideas for policies and financial prodcuts designed to expand economic opportunity for lower-income Americans. Topics will include approaches and services that integrate financial capability in families’ lives such as peer-to-peer lending circles and homebuyer education and counseling.

Speakers include:

  • Laura Choi, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
  • Kate Griffin, CFED
  • Jose Quinonez, Mission Asset Fund
  • Paul Weech, President & CEO of NeighborWorks America




 Action Alert–Assets for Independence

The Senate Appropriations Committee just moved to zero out funding for the Assets for Independence (AFI) program, which has funded and supported Individual Development Account (IDA) programs nationwide for nearly two decades. Read More


Toward a New Understanding of American Poverty

This Essay argues that one of the fundamental reasons the United States currently has the highest poverty rates in the industrialized world is that we have consistently misunderstood the nature and causes of American poverty. Old strategies of addressing poverty have rested upon imagining a world that reflects a preferred set of myths, agendas, and policies; a new approach to poverty reduction must put in place a set of policies that reflects the realities of the world. These policies should be grounded in a new understanding of the nature and meaning of American poverty. Read full article here


My thoughts on the Atlantic middle class article

The May issue of The Atlantic contained an article about middle-class Americans, and it’s getting a fair bit of notice. Read one author’s response here

What it's worthConnecting Communities to Build Financial Well-Being

Join What It’s Worth and the Federal Reserve System “Connecting Communities” initiative for a webinar on Tuesday, June 14 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.  Click here for more

  You may pre-register here

AO-logo-2Listening & Learning Series: Financial Coaching & Counseling


You’re invited to join the CFED Assets & Opportunity Network and Center for Financial Security for a new four-part virtual Listening & Learning Series on Financial Coaching & Counseling.

  • June 8 | Increasing Focus: Gaining Clarity about ”Financial Coaching” vs. “Financial Counseling” & The Implications for Preparing Your Team
  • July 13 | Lead by Design: Deepen Understanding of Program Design & Models to Better Meet People Where They Are
  • August 10 | Demonstrating Success: Identifying Metrics to Measure Financial Coaching & Counseling Impact
  • September 14 | Taking It to the Next Level: Exploring Financial Coaching Platforms & Putting It All Together

Click here to register

CITIES_Figure01_webFinancial Inclusion Emerging as an Important Priority for Cities

Many Americans face financial insecurity, lacking the means to pay all their bills or to cover an unexpected emergency. City leaders are focusing their attention to financial inclusion to address such issues. Financial Inclusion: Access to quality,affordable financial services in a convenient manner and with dignity for the customer. Financial inclusion programs expand access to financial services by empowering low-income residents to take advantage of available benefits and tax credits, manage money more effectively and build assets to increase their financial stability.

Full Report

                                                     Executive Summary


2/3 of U.S. would struggle to raise $1000

Two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with money to cover a $1000 emergency. This difficulty spans all income levels. Even for the country’s wealthiest households earning $100k or more a year. Read more

Winston Salem's changing economy

Winston Salem’s changing economy

Big goals, big hurdles face Winston-Salem’s future

A new report on the shrinking middle class sheds light on just how steep the challenge is as Winston-Salem leaders work toward their goal of putting the city among the Top 50 for job growth. Read more

America’s Shrinking Middle Class: A Close Look at Changes Within Metropolitan Areas (Pew Research Center)

1920Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them. To read more, Click here

what-its-worth-coverTwo essays from the book, What It’s Worth, released by the Federal Reserve Bank with support from CFED. This insightful book is engorged with collections of essays from experts and practitioners addressing economic and financial instability that is a growing plague in America. Click below to read more

The Real Financial Lives Of Americans

 The Future of Wealth Building

child-counting-tithe-moneyParents are often the first source on lessons about money for their children. This is especially true when the children are in elementary school (6-11 years old). On May 12, CFED and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) held a webinar about engaging parents in their children’s financial development. CFED presented research on the role parents play in their children’s financial development and the lessons parents in lower-income households are currently imparting to their children. The CFPB shared information about the resources they are developing for parents and how they are being used by practitioners. Click here for slideshow.

payday loanGoogle Bans Payday Loan Ads!

Google recognized how their search engine contributes to this debt trap and announced that it will ban payday lending ads beginning May 2016. This is a huge victory for consumers.  And it is an enormous policy and advocacy coup. Read More


Q: Is the ABC a non-profit organization?

No. When the Coalition was formed the groups involved made a deliberate decision not to create a new 501(c)3 organization.

Q: Can I give a tax-free donation to the ABC?

Yes. You can do this by giving a gift or grant to any non-profit member of the Coalition and designating that it be used for specific materials, activities or other direct costs related to the Coalition.

Q: Why was the Coalition formed?

It was formed in response to a research study that showed rates of poverty, asset poverty, poor credit, and lack of savings worse in our area that in many other places in the state and nation. [2012 MEOP study by the Center for Enterprise Development (CFED), Washington DC.]

Q: Is the ABC part of a national network?

Yes and No. We are solely a local creation, however we applied and have been approved as a Lead Local Asset-Building Organization within the national Assets & Opportunity Network hosted by CFED.

Q: What does the Coalition hope to achieve?

We hope that our conscious and sustained collective awareness about and connected activities to specifically address asset poverty will be more effective than the lone activities of each member.

Q: What is asset poverty?

When a family does not have enough resources set aside to meet, in the absence of income, their basic needs for three months, they are asset poor.

Q: What is the income cutoff level for asset poverty?

There is none, really. A family can have a generous income, but if they have no savings, no home equity, and no other assets, they are living in asset poverty.

Q: Who can join the Coalition?

Any individual, business, or nonprofit whose interests and activities are in keeping with the mission and vision of the Coalition.

Q: Is the Coalition an advocacy organization?

We do not lobby for legislative change. We do raise awareness of public policy and legal issues that may enhance or threaten the ability of low- income North Carolinians to build and protect personal assets.

Q: How are the activities of the Coalition funded?

The Coalition is a voluntary collaboration. Its members contribute time, expertise, office supplies, and so on. Members pay a small fee which helps offset some costs. We have also received financial and in-kind support from foundations, banks, and others in the community.

Q: What is the mailing address?

The Coalition does not maintain office space. Contact one of the lead organizations using the contact information below.

Q: I have more questions. Who do I contact?

Keyra Williams, Asset Building Coalition Program Administrator

Or contact the co-leading organizations, Financial Pathways of the Piedmont (Peter Laroche, President and CEO – 336.896.1191) and Experiment in Self Reliance (Twana Wellman Roebuck, Executive Director – 336.722.9400)

You Can Help!

We need agencies, companies and organizations who can provide asset building services or education to our communities. Help us change the lives and financial future of families facing asset poverty.

Funded by generous grants from both Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and the Winston-Salem Foundation.