The Assets Movement at Its Moment

Recently released data shows that the total number of people in poverty grew to one in seven Americans in 2009.  This heart wrenching economic news tells the story of hardship many of us know well since nearly everyone has watched family members and friends struggle through prolonged periods of unemployment or underemployment since the start of the great recession.

With this news in the background, advocates from several of Oregon’s nonprofit leaders—including Neighborhood Partnerships, CASA of Oregon, the Native American Youth and Family Center, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, Umpqua CDC, the Partnership to End Poverty, and Mercy Corps NW—will travel to Washington DC next week to attend CFED’s biennial conference on asset building.

This year’s conference is called The Assets Movement at Its Moment: Creating the Save & Invest Economy. The conference organizers recognize that the economic hardship our country is currently experiencing presents those of us advocating for long term economic justice through policy change with an opportunity. All across the nation, families are reprioritizing the importance of saving. Neighborhoods are uniting to support local businesses. And community leaders from all walks of life are reimagining the role of government in ensuring we have a stable and sound economy that truly provides opportunity for everyone. This is, in fact, a moment.

The Assets Movement at Its Moment conference will be grounded in 30 years of innovative asset-building work by CFED and community practitioners worldwide—work that has helped thousands gain economic security including over 1,500 Oregonians who have increased their financial stability through the Oregon Individual Development Account Initiative.  The financial strategies, products, services and programs piloted over the last 30 years are now poised for expansion as core components in economic restructuring.  Now is the time for far more people to take part and prosper in the economic mainstream through strategic and innovative policy change.

The Assets Learning Conference will bring together more than 1,000 insightful and influential community practitioners, government officials, policymakers, researchers, business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs seeking to lay a new foundation for economic recovery and expansion—an expansion that works for all of us.  In addition, the conference will be a chance for Oregon’s leaders in asset building to learn new strategies and practices from our peers, and to step back from our day-to-day work and think broadly about policy goals for the antipoverty and asset building movements.  It will be an opportunity for critical reflection at this moment of great uncertainty and change.

We invite you to join Neighborhood Partnerships as we report on the conference as it unfolds.  We will be blogging from the conference including a report out on CFED’s State of the Movement address.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page for reactions from the Oregon delegation, and their reflections on the conference and hopes for the future of the asset building movement. We look forward to sharing this momentous experience with all of you.