What We Do
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and re-imagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.
What We Offer
The Citi Foundation has a long track record of working in cities and communities to improve financial capability of young people. A core component of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress effort—a global initiative that includes a $50 million commitment to boost the career readiness of 100,000 low-income youth in 10 U.S. cities—is to connect young people to first jobs that build skills for future career paths. One of the largest sources of early-career jobs is Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEP). While these jobs are short-term, they offer young people ages 16-24 the chance to earn a paycheck, develop basic workplace skills, and contribute positively to their communities. With many youth managing an income for the first time, it is an ideal opportunity to influence lifelong financial behaviors. Therefore, a municipal SYEP is a prime teachable moment for improving financial education and capability.
Through Summer Jobs Connect, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), with support from the Citi Foundation, is setting young people on the path to economic success through summer jobs, financial education, and access to the financial tools they need to create a platform for their futures. Summer Jobs Connect works with eight city governments and their local SYEP partners in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
These partnerships have provided additional summer job slots to local residents and delivered targeted financial education and access to banking products that are bolstering the financial empowerment of low- and moderate-income youth. Summer Jobs Connect has received the attention of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans and has been cited as a model for how cities can leverage existing resources to support economic opportunity for low-income youth.
What We Need
The Citi Foundation would like to build awareness in the field regarding the many successes and lessons learned from Summer Jobs Connect detailed in the first report, “More Than A Job: Lessons from the First Year of Enhancing Municipal Summer Youth Employment Programs through Financial Empowerment,” and the newly released second report, which is detailed below.
CFE Fund released its second report on Summer Jobs Connect last month, titled “Summer Jobs Connect: Building Sustainable Banking and Savings Programs in Summer Youth Employment,” which contains three briefs exploring the learnings from the second summer of the program. The first brief, “Direct Deposit and Financial Education,” focuses on the implementation of direct deposit and financial education into SYEPs. Moving youth toward direct deposit had many benefits for the participants, the city governments, and the financial services partners, including saving time and money, streamlining processes, and building banking relationships that can last a lifetime. Cities also experimented with various financial education strategies, including workshops, one-on-one counseling, and virtual trainings, and found that layering these components served to reinforce positive banking messages.
The second brief, “Incentives for Banking and Savings,” explores the various strategies used by the municipal partners to incentivize positive banking and savings behaviors. Some cities set savings goals and awarded participants who reached them with a bonus or entered them in a raffle for a larger prize. The brief concludes that the keys to successful incentive programs are adequate planning time for design, evaluation of programmatic infrastructure and capacity to analyze data and award incentives, and coordination with other agencies within the city to ensure adherence to all relevant laws.
The third brief, “Systems Change for Sustainability,” describes how cities are making changes to program structure that ensure long-term sustainability of SYEPs and leverage financial empowerment strategies. Mayors in the eight cities recognized the importance of integrating financial empowerment into youth programming by dedicating time, staffing and technology resources.
While there are still challenges to bringing this type of financial empowerment to scale across all SYEPs, with funding and sustainability chief among them, it is the Citi Foundation’s expectation that the significant progress and learnings from Summer Jobs Connect will serve as a national model for using municipal SYEPs to develop positive financial relationships, as well as banking and savings habits that can last youth a lifetime.
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