Thursday, October 5

11:00am - 11:30am      Registration

11:30am - 1:00pm       Opening Lunch Plenary: State of the Field

This conference seeks to illuminate the asset building work of our region, what commonalities we share and how we, the Midwest can align our goals. In the opening plenary, you'll hear from the participating states: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio. This robust discussion will provide an overview of asset poverty and racial inequity, lift up recent local victories, and begin to identify opportunities for collaboration to advance prosperity in the Midwest.

  • Moderator: Amy Rynell, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights
  • Leaders from state asset building coalitions

1:00pm - 1:15pm         Break

1:15pm - 2:15pm         Workshop Session 1

Integrating Financial Capability Services into Existing Programs

As communities respond to the increasing need to have a more comprehensive approach to financial inclusion and economic opportunity, many community organizations are turning their program design toward a more integrated approach to service delivery. Learn from field experts on strategies to help lead an integration process and models for successful implementation.

  • Moderator: Damion Heron, JP Morgan & Chase
  • Kelsey Clayton, Prosperity Indiana
  • Lora Henderson, Families First
  • Parker Cohen, Prosperity Now
  • Miryam Lulion, Wayne Metro 

Small Businesses & Entrepreneurship as Wealth Building Opportunities

Small businesses feel market swings–whether up or down–more acutely than large businesses due to their reliance on credit, a problem exacerbated by the small business credit gap. Following a decades-long trend, small business lending continues to fall. The constant pressure to secure capital and weather the ups and downs of the marketplace is difficult for any small business owner, but is especially pronounced for minority-owned businesses. In this session, panelists will discuss the cooperative model as an asset building strategy and learn from organizations that are working with communities of color to help entrepreneurs launch their own businesses.

  • Moderator: Rori Chaney, FHLBI
  • Frankie Morton, Mayfield Green Housing Co-op
  • Lindsay Mueller, Small Business Majority
  • Marcus Owens, Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON)

State Funding for Asset Building Programs

With threats to cut federal program funding, how can advocates create more funding for asset building work at the state and city levels? This session will use state funding for Individual Development Accounts as a case study for state funding advocacy.

  • Moderator: Dara Duratinsky, Prosperity Now
  • Jill Amundson, West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc.
  • Bobby Benson, Minnesota Community Action Partnership

2:15pm - 2:30pm       Break

2:30pm - 3:45pm       Afternoon Plenary: Tackling the Racial Wealth Divide

In America, the typical white family holds 16 times more wealth than the typical black family. The racial wealth divide is a consequence of wealth-building policies that were designed to disadvantage people of color. Yet as America moves toward becoming a majority-minority nation, the racial wealth divide worsens the political and economic outcomes for the entire country. We'll hear from thought-provoking national and local leaders about data on the racial wealth divide, as well as solutions for achieving racial and economic justice.

3:45pm - 4:00pm       Break

4:00pm - 5:00pm       Workshop Session 2

Building Prosperity by Building Credit

Credit is the foundation of our financial system. It not only determines the eligibility for loans, but too often employers, landlords, and others also use credit scores as a factor in hiring or housing applications. In this environment, building credit is a critical piece of building prosperity. In this session, we'll discuss challenges with our opaque and complex credit system and learn from experts in credit building programs and products in the Midwest.

  • Moderator: Garvester Kelly, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Michelle Parker, North Lawndale Employment Network
  • Ricki Lowitz, Working Credit
  • Caley Long, Neighborhood Development Alliance

Financial Capability Challenges for Immigrants in the Current Environment

While immigration policy is at the top of everyone's minds, we also know that immigrants face many banking and financial capability challenges, especially given the current federal landscape. In this session, we will learn about programs specifically designed to address these challenges and help New Americans establish a strong financial footing.

  • Moderator: Moderator: Roman Zarate, JHBoner Neighborhood Center 
  • Angelisa Harris, FDIC 
  • Sloan Herrick, Global Detroit

Innovations in Safe, Small Dollar Loans

The payday lending industry continues to siphon off more than $7 billion in wealth from local communities each year. The industry's predatory practices allow them to charge borrowers APR in excess of 300%. Many consumers find themselves unable to pay off the loan and are forced to borrow once again. This unsustainable practice has prompted community partners to offer their own small dollar loan products. Learn from program experts about their innovative alternative payday loans from employer-based options to credit union loans and find out how you can start a program in your local community.

  • Moderator: Ross Yednock, CEDAM
  • Marie Morse, HomesteadCS
  • James Vander Hulst, Disruptive Innovations for Social Change 

5:30pm - 7:00pm       Networking Happy Hour 


Friday, October 6

8:00am - 9:00am       Breakfast

9:00am - 10:15am      Morning Plenary: navigating the new Federal Policy Landscape

This year, we have seen the current Administration attempt to dramatically rollback policies that provide critical support to families seeking to attain financial security. Cruel austerity measures have been applied in the federal budget, the social safety net, health care, immigration, tax policy, consumer protections, and more. To many observers the federal policy landscape is an assault on low- and middle-income families. We'll hear an overview of the federal policy landscape, and provide an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns as we navigate this new environment together.

  • Moderator: Lisa Stifler, Center for Responsible Lending
  • Deborah Swerdlow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • David Newville, Prosperity Now

10:15am - 10:30am     Break

10:30am - 11:45am     Workshop Session 3

Practical Tools for Financial Coaching

How can we better support and track a client's journey to financial well-being? During this session you will leave with practical financial coaching tools that have been developed and tested to help you meet your clients where they are and guide them toward financial capability. This session will conclude with ways to pitch to funders why these tools paired with data tracking and management platforms will lead toward increased impact for communities you serve.

  • Moderator: Michelle Beer, United Way of Central Indiana
  • Parker Cohen, Prosperity Now
  • Megan Kursik, Financial Clinic
  • Patty Avery, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Fighting Predatory Financial Products & Practices through Strong Consumer Protections

Predatory financial products and practices - from student loans, to debt collection, to payday loans, and more - continue to strip wealth from families and particularly from communities of color. At the same time, the new Administration is attempting to rollback consumer protections at the federal level. In this new landscape, what can we do at the state and regional levels to advance strong consumer protections? In this session, we'll start a dialogue about the challenges and successes in different states, and how we can work together to advance consumer protections campaigns.

  • Moderator: Lisa Stifler, Center for Responsible Lending
  • Erin Macey, Indiana Institute for Working Families
  • Jessica AcMoody, Community Economic Development Association Michigan (CEDAM)
  • Jody Blaylock, Illinois Asset Building Group

Personifying Prosperity: Making the Case with Compelling Digital Stories

Day in and day out, we see evidence of the power of policies, programs, and solutions that help families get by and get ahead. As a result, we sometimes overlook the need to demonstrate the power of our work and tell the stories of the real people who benefit from our shared efforts. This interactive workshop will focus on approaches to telling compelling stories that make the case for a variety of audiences, especially policymakers and funders. Participants will walk away from the session with a range of approaches for telling compelling digital stories using data, as well as concrete ideas for how to tailor these stories to specific audiences and opportunities to leverage them in your organization’s communications.

  • Sean Leuchtefeld, Prosperity Now
  • Sylvia Ewing, Center for Economic Progress

11:45am - 1:30pm       Closing Lunch Plenary: Advancing Prosperity And Racial Equity in the                                    Midwest

How can we leverage our new partnerships, ideas, and dialogue from the conference to advance prosperity and racial equity in the region? In this interactive final session, we'll have the opportunity to engage in a series of conversations with each other to identify new areas of collaboration and new ideas for state-level and regional work.


The agenda is subject to change.