When I think about the real, tangible change LIFT has on families, I think about monumental income gains. I think about $16,000 of increased income over the course of a year. I think about $312 public dollars a month unlocked and put in the hands of families. I think about the 50+ point credit score increases and the $5,000 of debt paid off. The relief parents must feel. I think about the $4,421 added to an emergency fund to weather a rainy day or saved in a college fund in the hopes of securing a child’s future. When I think about the real, tangible impact of LIFT’s work, I think about the increased earning potential of each of the children of the families we partner with and the catalysts those kids will be in closing the racial wealth gap.
Those gains, and the need to broaden the conversation around the racial wealth gap, are what inspired LIFT’s W.I.S.H. (Wealth-Building Ideas for Strengthening Households).
In 2019, W.I.S.H. started as half-day event called “My First Piggy Bank,” where LIFT-Chicago created a space for parents to talk to their children about money. With the help of MoneyBasics Founder & CEO and LIFT-Chicago Board Member, Tamara Dervin, we replicated the conversations parents were having in their coaching meetings about budgeting and saving and made them digestible for young LIFTers. Three years later, we are so happy that the support of our presenting sponsor, Jackson, and other partners, enabled us to turn the event into a virtual webinar series that reached families across the country.
The W.I.S.H. 2022 series was comprised of eight webinar sessions and included topics such as Principles of Wealth, Credit, Budgeting, Savings, Homebuying, Investing, Insurance, and Planning for the Next Generation. The sessions featured 10 speakers, were live-translated into Spanish to ensure accessibility for our Spanish speaking attendees, and reached over 200 people.
LIFT’s commitment to race, equity, and inclusion acknowledges that poverty is rooted in a long and painful history of injustices and that, like wealth, it is passed down from one generation to the next. This is why programs like W.I.S.H. are so important. We must continue to address the racial inequities and underinvestment in Black and Brown communities that have kept families trapped in a cycle. W.I.S.H. provides vital resources for families to build wealth to pass on to the next generation and takes a first step toward providing a tangible solution to closing the racial wealth gap.
From the LIFT-Chicago team, a massive thank you to our sponsors: Jackson, Possible, Greater Bronzeville Neighborhood Network, CIBC, MoneyBasics, Don Murphy Insurance Solutions, and Start Early for supporting LIFT’s mission to break the cycle of poverty by investing in parents. We look forward to building upon the successes of this year’s series and coming back bigger and better for W.I.S.H. in 2023!
If you would like to get involved in LIFT’s W.I.S.H., please reach out at [email protected].