A recognized innovator in the fight against poverty.

EARN CEO Ben Mangan is one of the winners of the 2008 Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, sharing the honor with David Augustine, Jose Cisneros, Leigh Phillips and Lena Robinson (photo at left) for their groundbreaking work creating the Bank on San Francisco initiative.

In nearly two years, over 17,000 “unbanked” San Franciscans have joined the financial mainstream by opening low-cost bank accounts. Instead of losing their hard-earned money to check cashers and payday lenders, these families were able to open bank accounts that they might not have been eligible for or able to afford before.

EARN is one of the managing partners for the project, with the City of San Francisco and Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. EARN also leads the financial management training available to everyone through Bank on San Francisco.

The program is being replicated in cities nationwide, and has already been adopted by the state of California through a “Bank on California” effort currently focusing on Fresno, San Jose, Oakland and Los Angeles.

Among the nearly 500 organizations that offer IDAs across the nation, EARN is the only one working to achieve scale by linking asset-building practice with policy development. In recognition of EARN’s unique position as a leader in our field, EARN was named a 2005 Social Capitalist of the Year by Fast Company /Monitor Group and a top-ten finalist for the Amazon.com Nonprofit Innovation Award.

A champion for asset policies that open doors to prosperity.
EARN’s policy arm, the Asset Policy Initiative of California (APIC), is a statewide network of stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors who are committed to increasing asset-building opportunities for California’s working families. APIC is a clearinghouse and policy voice for the emerging asset building movement in the state.

EARN pursues innovation in three ways:

Engaging policymakers on the power of asset-building policies to create a thriving economy where everyone can have a stake in their dreams, primarily through our policy arm, APIC (www.assetpolicy.org).
Working with financial institutions like Citibank and Wells Fargo to create win-win products and services that banks can eventually offer to working-poor consumers in the way they offer IRAs to middle-class consumers.
Exploring new ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of our products and services.