Pitt Philanthropy Forum’s March 28 Lecture and Discussion to Focus on Childrens’ Savings Initiative

Issue Date: 
March 25, 2013

An initiative aimed at encouraging local children to save money will be at the center of a lecture and discussion hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Philanthropy Forum in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).

Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, will deliver the lecture “The Future of Innovation and Innovating the Future: Philanthropic Opportunities in Uncertain Times” at 2:30 p.m. March 28 in Pitt’s O’Hara Student Center. The lecture is free and open to the public but an RSVP to gspiapf@pitt.edu is requested.

Speirn has headed the Kellogg Foundation since 2006, leading its efforts to support children and families in strengthening the conditions that will enable them to succeed as individuals and as contributors to the larger community.

Following his lecture, Speirn will be joined by Andrea Levere, president and CEO of the Corporation for Enterprise Development and a national expert on asset building for low-income families; and Jeremy Resnick, cofounder of the Pittsburgh-based charter-schools organization Propel Schools and executive director of the Propel Schools Foundation. The speakers will discuss “Fund My Future,” an initiative being implemented in the Propel charter schools with the support of the Kellogg Foundation and the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

Fund My Future will use novel, low-cost incentives, including prizes, to encourage students to save using Children’s Savings Accounts. More than 75 percent of the students at Propel charter schools are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The program’s goal is to help lower-income families in the region save for longer-term goals, especially educational ones. Fund My Future debuts this spring in three Propel charter schools locations, with plans to expand to all nine in the fall.

The local initiative follows the model of broader national campaigns to help lower-income families accumulate their own assets through programs about education and saving. Speirn and the lecture respondents will discuss national trends, emerging strategies, and how philanthropic innovation can affect the future of families and children nationally as well as in Allegheny County.

“Foundations increasingly talk about social innovation, but this lecture offers a concrete road map and call to action for how it can occur,” said Kathleen Buechel, director of Pitt’s Philanthropy Forum and senior lecturer in GSPIA. “Examples of innovation like social-impact bonds, asset-building strategies in underserved communities, and a Pittsburgh-based effort on Children’s Savings Accounts will be explored by experts who are writing the unwritten book on innovation and philanthropy.”

Speirn’s presentation is part of the Philanthropy Forum’s continuing lecture series titled “The Future of Philanthropy in Uncertain Times.” The GSPIA-based organization seeks to link academia with the world of philanthropic practice. The forum leads graduate-level courses on philanthropy and society, hosts an annual speakers series, and seeks to facilitate exchanges and relationships between practitioners and the University community.

For more information, e-mail gspiapf@pitt.edu or call 412-648-7630.