From 529s to CSAs

The Promise Indiana Model

Promise Indiana is a community-owned Children’s Savings Account intervention designed to equip young children and their families with the financial resources, college-bound identities, community support, and savings behaviors associated with positive educational outcomes. Promise Indiana began as the Wabash County Promise, the vision of the Wabash County YMCA and local school leaders. Concerned about persistent disparities in educational attainment and frustrated by low participation in the state’s 529 college savings plan, Wabash County YMCA CEO Clint Kugler and his team created a community-driven approach to children’s savings. Building on the YMCA’s experience helping individuals to change behaviors and buoyed by strong interest from allies, what is now Promise Indiana endeavored to activate families and communities for the task of preparing children for college. In the process, they pioneered a model for cultivating college-bound identities and transforming 529s into powerful and progressive Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs).

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From 529s to CSAs


Melinda Lewis

Rachel Black is the co-director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this role, she leads research, analysis, and public commentary around a portfolio of issues devoted to creating a more equitable public policy approach to  advancing a new vision for social policy that allows all families to thrive in an era of growing risk, uncertainty, and inequality.

William Elliott III is a senior research fellow in New America's Family-Centered Social Policy program. He is an assistant professor at the University of Kansas (KU), and founder of the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) a Center in KU's School of Social Welfare. Dr. Elliott applies his research into the power of saving and the relationship between the act of saving and its impact on later success, particularly educational success.