Asset Building Coalitions

What is Asset Poverty?

In December 2008, Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (now Commerce) defined asset poverty as a measure of economic security and mobility based on a household net worth.  Net worth is the total value of all assets including savings, a house and a business, minus debts.  A household is asset poor if it has insufficient net worth to subsist at the federal poverty level for three months in the absence of income.  An asset poor household does not have enough savings or wealth to provide for basic needs during extended periods of economic hardship, such as a sudden job loss or a medical emergency.[1] 

Washington Asset Building Coalitions

Since 2006, local asset building coalitions comprised of private, public and non-profit organizations in Washington state have joined together to improve the financial wellbeing of low-to-moderate income households.  These groups include the statewide asset building coalition and 16 local coalitions who are using their collective resources to start and expand asset building services in their communities.  Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) has provided funding and technical assistance to help develop and support the statewide and local asset building coalitions.  Commerce has also led a 10 year campaign to increase federal Earned Income Tax Credit filing and use of free volunteer tax assistance resources across the state.[2]

Washington Asset Building Coalitions (ABC) include:

The Washington Asset Building Coalition, the Financial Empowerment Network │Seattle-King County and the Yakima Asset Building Coalition are CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development) Washington State Assets & Opportunity Network leaders. CFED is a national nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization, working at the local, state, and federal levels to create economic opportunity that alleviates poverty. CFED programs test and refine promising ideas in communities to find out what works. All of their programs depend on local partners, include a policy component and are designed to scale up if the program is deemed a success.  Learn more>

Their Assets & Opportunity initiative, leverages the power of household financial security data, the experiences of asset-building practitioners and the influence of advocates and policymakers to raise awareness of asset-building issues and improve programs and policies that help low- and moderate-income families build financial security. Learn more>


[1] Expanding Asset Building Across Washington State, by Paul Knox and Anee Brar, Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, December 2008
[2] Expanding Asset Building Across Washington State, by Paul Knox and Anee Brar, Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, December 2008