DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Credit Union Foundation, together with Coopera Consulting--a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League--has secured more than $425,000 from an anonymous foundation to establish the first credit union Individual Development Account savings program in Iowa.
The IDA program, called The Credit Union Family Partnership Project, will partner with selected Iowa credit unions for a three-year pilot to provide lower-income Iowans an incentive to develop savings habits in pursuit of home ownership, higher education, or the start-up or expansion of small business.
IDAs are matched savings programs designed to build assets among low-income families. After saving for a set period, the savings will be matched if the funds are directed toward first-time homeownership, higher education or vocational training and the start up or expansion of a small business.
"Individual Development Accounts have demonstrated to be groundbreaking tools in the fight against poverty," ICUF President Mariann Peterson, who also serves as CEO of United Service Credit Union, said. "IDAs do not provide low-income families with temporary aid to cover immediate needs, but the opportunity to acquire long-term financial sustainability."
The grant is the largest ever received in the history of ICUF, and will also be used to hire ICUF's first executive director. Coopera Consulting will be working on behalf of ICUF to spearhead the IDA program with the selected Iowa credit unions.
The Credit Union Family Partnership Project's goal over the three-year period is to have seven participating credit unions enroll 186 low-income families in successful IDA programs and provide total matching funds of over $400,000, totaling $2,250 per family.