June always seems to be a busy month filled with graduations, celebrations, and many new transitions. Whether moving from one grade to another or to an entirely new school, this is the time when families and students begin thinking about what is coming next, their future goals, and preparing for next steps.
In 2017, we began piloting work around Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) to support families through one of those transitions and overcoming what often feels like an insurmountable financial barrier as their children prepare for higher education. We’ve quoted these statistics a lot, but it’s worth noting again that children with $500 or less saved for college are 3 times more likely to enroll and 4 times more likely to graduate. Our CSA program has continued to expand and be shaped to best align to the feedback and expressed needs of families over the last 4 years.
And this year, we were able to do something even more. Thanks to a very generous gift, we were able to offer Mississippi Affordable College Savings accounts (individual 529 savings accounts) with $1,000 of seed money to every school-aged child of current Magnolia Mother’s Trust participants. Through a partnership with the Mississippi State Treasurer’s Office, we were able to host events in each of our Jackson communities and set up 161 accounts for students. Additionally, we are finding opportunities to provide an additional $1,000 to families who have had CSAs with us since we started in 2017, altogether investing an additional $231,000 in savings accounts for our students in Mississippi. We have also started working with the State Treasurer’s Office in Maryland to begin setting up accounts for families and introducing the concept of CSAs there to continue expanding our work there.
Ensuring our programs are targeting whole families and taking a 2-Generation approach has always been a part of Springboard’s DNA, and we are especially excited to be adding this component to The Magnolia Mother’s Trust. Throughout the program, moms have told us that one of their priorities is to save for their children’s future and ensure that their kids are taken care of. Seeded CSAs provide the vehicle and jumpstart for families to do exactly that. We continue to pair the accounts with other strategic, supportive programming, like our Super Summer Camps that just kicked off this week. We know that it is never just one thing that prevents our families from reaching their goals, and it is always our hope to provide holistic, resident-driven supports and services to make what might have seemed like an impossible dream become an achievable goal for all people.