At the end of December, 2007, Women Work’s one-year IDA project came to a close. Initial results from the project indicate that hundreds of women were positively impacted through financial literacy classes, information about IDAs, and referral to local IDA programs. Data compilation and a full evaluation of the project are currently underway; check back soon for complete results of this initiative!
Throughout 2007 Women Work! partnered with our state affiliates in New York, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland to implement state-wide education campaigns on financial literacy and individual development accounts (IDAs). With the support and technical assistance of Women Work!, these state affiliate collectively did the following:
- Conducted Making Money Work!, Women Work!’s financial literacy curriculum, with 400 participants.
- Shared information about IDAs with 1,250 participants.
- Partnered with organizations in their communities conducting IDA programs, and refered 250 participants to those organizations.
In addition, Women Work! conducted a four-series webinar class for all members on asset development. The webinars discussed the effectiveness of assets for helping low-income people escape poverty, and ways they can partner with asset building organizations to help women learn about and enroll in IDA programs.
Individual Development Accounts
Individual Development Accounts were established in 1998 under the Assets for Independence Act, to promote savings among low income individuals by making a matching contribution to the money that they save. This unique approach rewards savings with matching funds that vary from 1:1, 2:1 or even more generous matches depending on the program. The funds accumulated in IDA accounts are typically used to buy a first home, pay for post-secondary education or start a business.
IDA participants are required to complete a financial literacy class to access their matched funds, making these accounts a uniquely powerful tool for helping low-income women become economically self-sufficient. Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) have proven to be a successful strategy for helping women save money and accumulate assets as a means to attaining economic self sufficiency.