Turning Effort Into Opportunity Through Saving

submission by EARNLA
Turning Effort Into Opportunity Through Saving

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):


Organization(s) website(s):


Organization(s) twitter handle(s):


Organization(s) facebook handle(s):


Organization(s) instagram handle(s):


Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):


Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


EARN breaks the cycle of poverty for low-income families by providing them with the financial tools to save and invest in their futures.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


EARN will expand our innovative, online, matched savings program to serve families in Los Angeles. EARN’s program promotes positive financial behavior and develops a lasting habit of saving, which is the first step in achieving financial security and upward mobility. Through saving, individuals can weather financial storms, and invest in their dreams

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

(e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County):

Magnolia Catchment Area

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Live” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency index

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illness

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the healthiest place to live.


EARN’s vision for a healthier Los Angeles begins with building economic self-sufficiency and resiliency. Los Angeles residents face numerous financial challenges due to unstable incomes, poor credit history, and lack of access to savings. Despite their best efforts many families are struggling to get by.

Research shows that in the event of job loss, working class families have enough cash on-hand to survive just nine days of expenses. Without a savings safety net, nearly half of American households are just one paycheck away from financial disaster. Our research found that nearly 90% of families want to save, but most are not saving and don’t know how to begin.

EARN’s solution to this problem is to foster a lifelong savings habit that creates financial security and capital for residents of Los Angeles. Saving improves economic resiliency, allowing individuals to weather financial storms and invest in long-term dreams, such as getting an education or buying a home. The Pew Charitable Trust found that regularly saving is one of the three predictors of people achieving mobility out of the bottom 20% of the economy.

In partnership with the Magnolia Place Community Initiative, EARN will expand our online, matched savings program to provide Los Angeles families with the opportunity to start saving. EARN’s program promotes economic resiliency by teaching and incentivizing people to save and invest in themselves and their families. The program is simple. Clients link their own savings account to our online platform, set a personal savings goal, make deposits, and earn rewards. The program tracks behavior and rewards users for making $20 minimum deposits over consecutive months.

Our research shows that after program completion, 85% of participants are living within their means and 92% are prepared to handle financial emergencies (compared to only 42% prior to program enrollment). Additionally, 83% of our clients continue to save after incentives end, leading to increased economic opportunities for themselves and their families in the long-term.

EARN’s online savings program has the potential to be used by all qualified residents of Los Angeles who are making less than 80% of the Area Median Income, which is $68,300 for a family of four. During the grant period we propose to enroll at least 300 households. By 2050, Los Angeles will be a healthier place to live because all residents will have the savings to handle financial volatility.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


EARN rigorously evaluates our savings products; over the course of the program we track our client’s financial security and spending and saving behaviors. Our ultimate goal is to improve economic self-sufficiency by helping our clients build savings. Therefore, we also evaluate our work by the impact it has on financial behavior in the long-term. Key indicators we assess are if program users:

o Demonstrate a regular pattern of saving and reach their savings goals.
o Continue saving 6 months to a year after the program ends using a.) either a mainstream savings product or b.) an EARN goal-based account.
o Show an improvement in psychosocial behavior towards saving. For example: Being more prepared for financial emergencies and reporting more self-efficacy regarding their financial future.

Our goals are for:
o 300 LA households will enroll and deposit at least $20 a month.
o 85% of participants will complete the program and 70% will consistently reach their monthly deposit goal.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

1 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

I wonder if there is any way the fairly ubiquitous Coinstar machines in supermarkets and other retail locations can be used to encourage turning small change into saved dollars over months and years -- particularly by youngsters with money they might otherwise use to buy (not necessarily healthy) snacks and sodas, as well as of course by anyone -- perhaps in a partnership with the Coinstar company itself?

by GregoryWright
6 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015