Inclusion in the American Dream: Assets, Poverty, and Public Policy

Inclusion in the American Dream: Assets, Poverty, and Public Policy

Inclusion in the American Dream: Assets, Poverty, and Public Policy

Inclusion in the American Dream: Assets, Poverty, and Public Policy

Synopsis

Inclusion in the American Dream brings together leading scholars and policy experts on the topic of asset building, particularly as this relates to public policy. The typical American household accumulates most its assets in home equity and retirement accounts, both of which are subsidized through the tax system. But the poor, for the most part, do not participate in these asset accumulation policies. The challenge is to expand the asset-based policy structure so that everyone is included.

Excerpt

The seed for this book was planted during a symposium held at Washington University in St. Louis. First versions of the papers were presented and since then have been revised and updated extensively. I am grateful to all of the authors for their participation in the symposium and subsequent work. Also, I am grateful to other symposium participants whose essays did not end up in this book due to matters of emphasis, fit, and limitations of space. Their work is every bit as valuable as the chapters that appear here. Altogether, this is an outstanding group of scholars and policy analysts who have undertaken innovative and productive work.

The Ford Foundation provided resources that made the symposium and subsequent work possible. The vision of President Susan Berresford and former Vice President Melvin Oliver in reshaping the Ford Foundation to include a Division of Asset Building and Community Development has resulted in an emergent body of knowledge that is defining this area of work and informing policy. Many other foundations have contributed to this work as well. I am particularly grateful to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for supporting my time in completing this volume, and to the Common Counsel Foundation for providing a quiet place to write. I also thank the MetLife Foundation, F. B. Heron Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Lumina Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Danforth Foundation, National Rural Funders Collaborative, State of Minnesota, United Way of Greater St. Louis, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, all of whom have funded our research in asset building. Perhaps this is an example of the best use of American philanthropy— creating knowledge and innovations for application in the United States and around the world.

I thank Karen Edwards and other staff members of CSD who organized the logistics of the symposium. Lisa Morris, now at the University of Southern Maine, cochaired the symposium and provided valuable comments and suggestions for the book. Thanks go also to former Dean Shanti Khinduka, of . . .

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