U of A to Assist Low-Income Families Through Pilot Grant Program

The IDEALS Institute
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The IDEALS Institute

The IDEALS Institute at the University of Arkansas was one of four institutions across the country selected to participate in a grant-funded emergency savings pilot program to grow economic opportunity for low-income residents.

Through a $40,000 grant from Prosperity Now, the U of A will match the savings of at least 60 local low-income Marshallese residents for household emergencies such as the loss of a job, death of a loved one and medical crises, with the purpose of building financial stability and avoiding long-term debt.

"For low-income families, making ends meet month-to-month can be disrupted by something as small as a flat tire or broken appliance," said Marcia Shobe, director of research for the IDEALS Institute. "Emergency savings programs such as the one piloted by Prosperity Now are crucial to providing a financial foundation for those underprivileged and under-resourced populations that will lead to greater equity and stronger communities."

The yearlong pilot will test the impact of matching funds to help families establish emergency savings accounts — specifically, how such accounts affect families and their futures and challenges in implementing emergency account programs. Shobe added the funding agency was impressed with the university's track record in administering similar programs to assist Marshallese families.

"We are so excited to be a part of this pilot program," said Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. "Not only does it help Prosperity Now gain a deeper understanding of emergency savings accounts and how they positively impact families, it allows us to help our residents prosper in ways that enrich diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities."

In addition to funding, Prosperity Now will provide one-on-one capacity building support, tracking support and facilitated peer learning sessions among pilot members. Funding from the partnership will also be used by the U of A to track efforts, travel to meetings and cover additional administrative expenses.

Prosperity Now is a nonprofit organization dedicated expanding economic mobility for low-income families in the United States. The pilot program is offered with support from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

This is the second grant the IDEALS Institute has received to assist local Marshallese residents. In December, the institute announced it earned a $213,000 grant from the United Way of Northwest Arkansas to support economic mobility for low- and moderate-income Marshallese.


John Post, director of academic communications
University Relations
479-575-4449, johnpost@uark.edu


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