2012 Assets Learning Conference


Reporters interested in attending the 2012 Assets Learning Conference are invited to attend free of charge. With four plenaries and over 60 sessions there is something for everyone!  If you are interested in attending or interviewing one of our presenters, please contact Amy Saltzman at asaltzman@thehatchergroup.com or 301-656-0348.  When you arrive at the Assets Learning Conference, please check in at the Registration Desk.
Click here for the key highlights of the Agenda and browse the sessions by subject area

Booker and Cordray to Headline Major Conference on Efforts to Build Savings and Wealth for Low-income Families

CFED's Assets Learning Conference highlights
growing influence of the asset-building movement in the U.S.

WHAT:  CFED’s 2012 Assets Learning Conference: Ideas into Action

WHEN:  Wednesday, Sept. 19 – Friday, Sept. 21, 2012

WHERE: Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
                2600 Woodley Road, NW
                Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker will be among the keynote speakers at the Corporation for Enterprise Development's (CFED) 2012 Assets Learning Conference: Ideas Into Action. The conference will bring together more than 1,200 advocates, policymakers, academics and others to promote policies that help low- and moderate-income families save money, accumulate assets and connect to the financial mainstream.

The biennial conference, the largest gathering of its kind, is expected to draw a record number of attendees this year, underscoring the growing influence of the asset-building movement in this country and its focus on helping struggling households achieve financial stability by saving and building wealth.
"The asset-building field today is creating a new foundation for American capitalism – one that is inclusive, productive and poised for economic growth," said Andrea Levere, president of CFED. “The 2012 Assets Learning Conference will set the agenda for continued advancements in the field and expansion of programs and policies that are critical both to millions of financially insecure families and to our economy as a whole."

The conference, which will be held Sept. 19-21, follows the release of new national poverty data on Sept. 12 by the U.S. Census Bureau and coincides with the release of the state and community level poverty data (the American Community Survey) on Sept. 20.

The Census data, however, only tell part of the story. CFED, along with the hundreds of conference participants, is resetting the agenda for fighting poverty by focusing as much on the need for struggling families to save and build wealth as grow their incomes. Nearly half of U.S. households (43 percent) have almost no savings and 27 percent are "asset poor," meaning they lack both savings and other assets to cover basic expenses for just three months if a layoff or other crisis leads to loss of income, according to CFED's 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard.

The conference will include more than 60 sessions exploring innovative national, state and local approaches aimed at helping low-income people buy a home, pursue higher education, start a business and move up the economic ladder. Topics include:

  • Measuring and understanding the racial wealth-gap
  • Innovative approaches to financial education in schools
  • Using behavioral interventions to encourage people to save
  • Children's Savings Accounts and other products aimed at helping families save for college
  • Efforts to help low-income entrepreneurs create their own jobs through self-employment
  • Strategies to address the risks of home purchase for low-income families

The conference will also include the presentation of CFED's Assets & Opportunity Award to the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Coalition, a group of municipal governments promoting innovative initiatives to help low-income residents achieve financial stability. The award, the only one of its kind, honors groups and individuals who are advancing the field of asset building in the United States and increasing the use of financial products and services that allow low-income families to build pathways to financial security and opportunity. The award has been presented two times previously, to Citigroup and the Ford Foundation. Jonathan Mintz, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and Jose Cisneros, treasurer of the city and county of San Francisco, will accept the award on behalf of the CFE Coalition.

Other speakers at the conference include Bill Corr, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Martha Kanter, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education; and Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Some conference highlights are listed below. For the complete agenda highlights click here.

Note: Media do not need to register for this conference.

Conference Highlights:

Opening Plenary: State of the Asset-Building Field
Sept. 20; 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

  • Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Jon Campbell, Executive Vice President, Director of Social Responsibility, Wells Fargo
  • Andrea Levere, President, CFED
  • Lisa Mensah, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security

Applied Research Forum Kickoff
Sept. 20; 9:30 pm - 10:45 am
Thought leaders in the asset-building field will discuss both where we are as a nation in terms of financial access and asset ownership among low- and moderate-income households and research ideas that can be put into action to strengthen household balance sheets.

  • Ray Boshara, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • J. Michael Collins, Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Keith Ernst, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Clifford Rosenthal, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, Urban Institute (Moderator)

Lunchtime Plenary: Assets & Opportunity Award
Sept. 20; 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

  • Newark Mayor Cory Booker
  • Jose Cisneros, Treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco
  • Bill Corr, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jonathan Mintz, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Bill Purcell, former Mayor of Nashville

Morning Plenary: Conversation with Savers
Sept. 21; 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
This session will include discussions with individuals whose lives have been changed through their participation in matched savings account programs.

  • Account Holders: Children, Youth and Parents
  • Bob Friedman, Founder and Board Chair, CFED
  • Martha Kanter, Undersecretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • Anne Mosle, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Ascend Family Economic Security Program
  • Sterling Speirn, President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Closing Lunch Plenary: Call to Action
Sept. 21; 12:30-2 p.m.
Financial insecurity in this country is rising. Yet, to date, there has been no coordinated constituency to advocate for and test policies to help families achieve economic stability. In response, CFED will launch the Assets & Opportunity Network. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson will keynote this session, laying out what's at stake and why we must act.

  • Eugene Robinson, Columnist, Washington Post
  • Assets & Opportunity Network Steering Committee Members
  • CFED Staff 


CFED empowers low- and moderate-income households to build and preserve assets by advancing policies and programs that help them achieve the American Dream, including buying a home, pursuing higher education, starting a business and saving for the future. As a leading source for data about household financial security and policy solutions, CFED understands what families need to succeed. We promote programs on the ground and invest in social enterprises that create pathways to financial security and opportunity for millions of people. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, DC; Durham, North Carolina; and San Francisco, California.