Propel Schools has launched a child savings account (CSA) program for students and their families, called Fund My Future, encouraging college savings activity through the implementation of a school-based, prize-linked savings program.
A family-funded savings account specifically designated for a child’s future college expenses is common practice among more affluent families. Research suggests that the presence of such an account actually has a significant positive impact on student persistence with post-secondary plans, regardless of the size of the account. Propel believes its students also deserve the benefit of this boost.
Additionally, Propel’s parents, like all parents, want the best for their children. However, the process for establishing accounts—and then making regular contributions to them—is not simple. Competing demands for the time and attention of our parents are intense. Therefore, it is not surprising that despite family intentions, most children at Propel Schools do not yet have a CSA in their name.
Propel will change this through the creation of its unique, fun and convenient CSA program called Fund My Future. Launching this month at three Propel schools, a CSA account has been opened for each student at the pilot locations, with the Propel Schools Foundation making an initial deposit in each account. Students and their parents/guardians may make or authorize deposits, and each time they do, increase their chances to win a monthly raffle prize at their school. Every week, Propel will offer on-site banking at the schools using student tellers supervised by Propel’s Project Manager, providing an easy way to deposit funds. In 2013-14, Propel will expand this program to all nine Propel Schools.
Fund My Future is part of the growing national movement of asset building in resource poor communities. Family savings, including savings for college, is encouraged through the creation of innovative programs removing standard barriers that typically exist between good intentions and action. Propel’s co-founder, Jeremy Resnick, recently spoke to the need for such innovation as a lecture respondent at The Philanthropy Forum at GSPIA. At this discussion, Sterling Speirn, President and CEO of W.K. Kellogg Foundation presented The Future of Innovation and Innovating the Future: Philanthropic Opportunities in Uncertain Times.
Although Fund My Future follows the national trend linking education and saving by encouraging families to invest, Propel’s program is unique in that it is the first organization to use a raffle in a CSA program. To date, both The Benter Foundation and The Grable Foundation have provided grants to support Fund My Future.
Propel has seen great success and many inspiring achievements inside the classroom – but that isn’t enough to launch children living in high poverty areas into the middle class. Fund My Future is the latest example of Propel’s efforts to complement its high quality school-day programs with opportunities that increase the likelihood that its students attend post-secondary institutions and reach the middle class.