SaveUSA Increases Savings
SaveUSA Study Begins Second Survey Round
SaveUSA offers a matched savings account to tax filers, building on the savings opportunity presented by tax-time refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. The SaveUSA program has been implemented by a partnership, led by MDRC, the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, and the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs' Office of Financial Empowerment, as well as local partners Food Bank for NYC, Ariva, the Community Action Project of Tulsa County, and the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County. As part of a study of SaveUSA, about 1,600 individuals who had their tax returns prepared by community organizations in New York City and Tulsa in 2011 and who consented to be in the study are being contacted, starting in May 2014, and invited to answer a series of questions. This second round of the confidential survey is being conducted by a national survey firm, Decision Information Resources (DIR). The survey results will build on the first round survey to help government agencies and community organizations design better financial programs and services for communities throughout the U.S. If you are a SaveUSA study participant and you are contacted by DIR about the survey, CEO appreciates your responsiveness.
Since 2011, SaveUSA, a tax-time savings incentive program, has provided the opportunity for low-income families in four cities to set aside part of their tax refund to save more in short-term, non-retirement savings. An MDRC report on this program, released today, demonstrates that low-income families can, in fact, save and that this program helps turn low-income non-savers into savers. MDRC is using a randomized control trial (RCT), the gold standard in evaluation, to determine the impacts of SaveUSA. Their report, “Encouraging Low- and Moderate-Income Tax Filers to Save: Implementation and Interim Impact Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation,” shares impact findings on participants 18 months after they enrolled in the program in 2011.
MDRC found that after 18 months:
- 79 percent of SaveUSA participants had non-retirement savings, eight percent more than regular tax filers.
- SaveUSA participants had an average of $512 more in savings than regular tax filers.
- SaveUSA participants also have more positive attitudes toward savings, with over 85% viewing savings as “very important.”
The average household income of SaveUSA participants is under $18,000, and about 74 percent of account holders maintained their savings for about a year, receiving a 50 percent match, up to $500. MDRC did not find any impact on overall financial well-being 18 months after enrollment – SaveUSA participants were able to save without incurring more debt, but their financial picture was not improved by the program. MDRC will continue to study the effects of SaveUSA through 36- to 42-months after program enrollment. The final report, scheduled for late 2015, may shed light on possible impacts to participants’ overall financial health.
Read more about the effects SaveUSA has on participants in MDRC’s new report.
Reconnecting Disconnected Young People: The Early Experience of Project Rise
MDRC released its first publication about CEO’s Social Innovation Fund Project Rise program this past fall. The report “Reconnecting Disconnected Young Adults: The Early Experience of Project Rise,” outlines the challenges facing disconnected youth, the Project Rise program and evaluation, and the participants’ demographic profile. We continue to be very pleased with the progress of the program and are looking forward to using MDRC’s Brief to spread the word to key policymakers and others.
Read more about how Project Rise is serving disconnected youth
About the Social Innovation Fund
CEO and the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC received a $5.7 million Social Innovation Fund (SIF) annual grant from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The grant supports replication and evaluation of five of CEO's most promising anti-poverty programs in New York City and seven other urban areas around the country. Learn More: