IABG conference speakers

Conference Schedule

Detailed Agenda

Wednesday, October 8

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Registration Opens  (Federal Reserve Building)

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

State of the Field: Challenges & Opportunities  (Plenary)

At a time when the problems of wealth and income inequality are at the center of public discourse, the asset building field has an opportunity to lift up innovative programming and policy solutions to the obstacles facing financially vulnerable communities. During this Opening Plenary, we will kick off the 2014 IABG Conference: Ideas in Motion with a reflection on the recent accomplishments and new challenges that we as a coalition can and should address.


  • Treasurer Stephanie Neely, Chicago City Treasurer
  • Solana Rice, CFED
  • Lucy Mullany, Illinois Asset Building Group

1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Predatory Lending in Illinois: Community Impact & Policy Solutions  (Workshop)

Predatory lending practices abound throughout the country with inadequate regulation. Auto title lending, in particular, is unregulated in 21 states including Illinois. This workshop will update participants on anticipated new rules by the CFPB, discuss the history of Illinois predatory lending reform, review the current lending climate for auto title loans in comparison to other high-cost products, and present ideas to further regulate the industry at the local, state and national levels.


  • Don Carlson, Illinois People's Action
  • Spencer Cowan, Woodstock Institute
  • Lynda DeLaforgue , Citizen Action Illinois
  • Courtney Eccles, Woodstock Institute
  • Valerie McWilliams, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
Access to Healthcare: A Vital Asset for Illinois Families  (Workshop)

The Affordability of Healthcare is one of the biggest financial concerns facing Illinois households. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded healthcare coverage to thousands of Illinoisans. This session we will take a look at the first year of the ACA – what’s working, what are some of the challenges, and what can be addressedvin the next year.


  • John Bouman, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
  • Nadeen Israel, Heartland Alliance
  • Patrice Howard, Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation
Leveraging Asset Poverty & Financial Security Data to Move Your Work  (Workshop)

In a needs-heavy, resource-shy climate, nonprofits are constantly asked to document the need for each program or policy recommendation. Data can illuminate solutions, persuade key stakeholders, and help you gain the support you need to fulfill your mission. In this workshop, panelists will explain where to look for community-specific data and how to interpret it using real examples from the Family Assets Count project.


  • Solana Rice, CFED
  • Amy Terpstra, Social IMPACT Research Center

2:45 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.

Building Financially Secure Retirements for Illinois Workers  (Plenary)

All workers deserve the opportunity to retire with dignity. However, too many residents lack the tools necessary to save for retirement. The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program expands access to employment-based retirement savings accounts. This session we will hear about efforts to build support for this program, how the proposal fits into the larger national debate on retirement security, and what we can do to build momentum.


  • Senator Daniel Biss, Illinois State Senate
  • Perri Small, WVON

4:05 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.

Building Financial Security Among Latino Households: Challenges & Innovations  (Workshop)

The growing racial wealth gap is crippling communities of color, including Latino families. This is due to policies and practices that prevent families from getting ahead. This session will take a look at the changing demographics of our communities, what it means for our work going forward, and how community and financial partners are offering innovative solutions to help families get and stay ahead.


  • Kristen Komara, The Resurrection Project
  • Daniel Lau, Mission Assets Fund
  • Rudy Medina, Second Federal Credit Union
  • Marisabel Torres, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
Yes! You Can Advocate! – Lobbying Rules for Non-Profits  (Workshop)

There is a common misconception that non-profit cannot participate in advocacy efforts without endangering their non-profit status. This session will shed light on the federal laws governing 501(c)(3) lobbying, the definitions for direct and grassroots lobbying, how to calculate lobbying limits, and rules to working on ballot measures or in coalitions. It will also provide tips on fundraising for advocacy, and offer best recordkeeping practices for nonprofit advocates.


  • Alliance for Justice
Leveraging the Advanced EITC for Year-Round Financial Health  (Workshop)

A pilot project in Chicago is examining whether a redesigned Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can help households better manage their finances. The EITC Pilot is a collaboration between the Center for Economic Progress (CEP), the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This session will focus on the early findings from participant interactions and surveys. It will highlight the lessons learned from participant recruitment, administration of the program, and anecdotal feedback from participants.


  • Dylan Bellisle, Program Manager, EITC Pilot - Center for Economic Progress
  • David Marzahl, Center for Economic Progress
  • Ruby Mendenhall, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Building Organizational Capacity for Asset Building Work  (Workshop)

As asset building is gains recognition across broad social service programming, it is important for agencies to create strategies that support development of key asset building principles and develop sustainable programs. This workshop will highlight best practices for increasing staff capacity for asset building work, how to engage colleagues who do not work directly in this field, and how program and public policy work can inform each other.


  • Melinda Cores, Heartland Human Care Services
  • Theresa Gibbons, Heartland Human Care Services

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Community Awards Reception

Join us for an evening of celebration and networking. We will be recognizing the contributions of Senator Daniel Biss, Representative Robyn Gabel, and COFI POWER PAC to our work. The event will feature the jazz trio of Mark Berls (bassist), Dave Williams (drums), and Rob Denty (saxophone).


  • Senator Daniel Biss, Illinois State Senate
  • Robyn Gabel, Illinois House of Representatives
  • Community Organizing for Family Issues (COFI ) POWER PAC

Thursday, October 9

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.

Investing in the Future: Children’s Savings Accounts  (Breakfast Plenary)

Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) have the potential to significantly increase access to college opportunities for families. The concept of CSAs continues to gain momentum. Over the last few years we have seen new programs develop at the city, county, and state levels. In this session, experts will describe emerging CSA programs and how they see these programs growing.


  • Anee Brar, Consultant
  • William Elliot, University of Kansas
  • Justin King, New America Foundation
  • Lucy Mullany, Illinois Asset Building Group
  • Samantha Tuttle, Heartland Alliance

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Incorporating Asset Building Strategies into Public Housing Programs  (Workshop)

Asset building programs are even more effective when combined with and integrated into existing services, programs, and other delivery models. This session highlights promising programs that partner with public housing agencies to successfully deliver asset building services.


  • Gerry Dupaty, Housing Authority of Cook County
  • Gloria Hernandez, Heartland Human Care Services
  • Michael Mirra, Tacoma Housing Authority (TBD)
  • Nathalie Rosado, Ladder Up
College Affordability: Addressing the Student Loan Crisis  (Workshop)

With the cost of higher education becoming increasingly costly, many young people are left crippled by student loan debt. This impacts a person’s ability to build assets across their lifetime and has ripple effects throughout the broader economy. Panelists will provide an overview of the levels of indebtedness in Illinois and nationwide and discuss potential solutions to student debt repayment.


  • Katie Buitrago, Woodstock Institute
Credit Building as Asset Building  (Workshop)

A good credit score allows consumers access to the resources needed to buildfinancially secure futures. Learn how the game of credit can trap communities of color in asset poverty and how community organizations are addressing these challenges. You’ll hear how organizations are partnering with financial institutions to help build positive credit histories for individuals using alternative credit reporting and credit building products.


  • Lindy Carrow, Social IMPACT Research Center
  • Carolyn Schulte, Credit Builders Alliance
  • Stacey Wood, North Lawndale Employment Network
Racial Wealth Gap: Building Equity in Your Communities  (Workshop)

An important strategy for closing this gap is engaging grassroots organizations to advocate for change. This session will take a deeper look at the racial wealth gap and engage participants in a discussion about systems barriers and community responses to affect change.


  • COFI POWER PAC Leaders

12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Evaluating Prepaid and Payroll Cards  (Workshop)

Prepaid cards are increasingly being marketed to unbanked and under-banked consumers. However, many of these cards are not regulated by consumer protection laws. Furthermore, employers are increasingly using payroll cards to pay their workers. This session will provide an overview of who’s using prepaid cards, proposals to protect consumers from abusive fee structures, and a new Illinois law to protect the wages of workers paid on a payroll card.


  • Jane Flannagan, Illinois Attorney General’s Office
  • Erik Jones, Illinois Attorney General’s Office
  • Thaddeus King, Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Dory Rand, Woodstock Institute
Reaching Traditionally Hard to Serve Populations  (Workshop)

Asset building programs should be tailored to fit the unique needs of specific populations. From working with the unbanked and those in Chex Systems to uncovering the need for financial education among men who are currently incarcerated, this workshop presents challenges and solutions to serving hard to reach populations.


  • Sarah Chenven, Credit Builders Alliance
  • Percy Dace, Lessi Bates Davis Neighborhood House
  • Lindsay Larson, Mountain Communities Family Resource Center
  • Otis Monroe, Monroe Foundation
Innovations in Youth Savings Programs  (Workshop)

Comprehensive strategies for educating children and youth about personal finance can have long-term positive effects on future outcomes. This workshop explores innovations in youth savings programs including hands on banking programs, children’s savings account initiatives in schools, and engagement of foster youth. Panelists will share lessons learned in building relationships between financial institutions, schools, families, and other community stakeholders.


  • Mike Batty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Molly Delaney, Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation
  • Tracey Frizzel, Economic Awareness Council
  • Tracey Frizzel, Economic Awareness Council
  • Kevin Walsh, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

1:40 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Building a Statewide Movement  (Closing Session)

During this session we will hear from Alderman Will Burns who has fought for financial justice at the state and local levels in Illinois. We will reflect on lessons learned over the past two days, share challenges and solutions for our communities, and discuss how we want to engage as a coalition moving forward.


  • Will Burns, Chicago Alderman 4th Ward