Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment: Impact Evaluation, Year 1
This report evaluates Year 1 of the Ford Foundations's support of the
Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) initiative. SEED is a multi-year national effort to develop and test matched savings accounts for children and youth. The initiative seeks to set the stage for universal, progressive asset-building policy. National partners of the SEED Policy, Practice, and Research Initiative are CFED,1 the Center for Social Development at Washington University, the University of Kansas, and the New America Foundation. Twelve SEED sites across the country serve children and youth of various ages.
SEED accounts are similar to Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). They are savings accounts subsidized through matches for low-income families. Withdrawals are limited to specific investments, such as paying for education or making a down payment on a house. While IDAs focus on adults, SEED accounts focus on children and youth. SEED accounts are long-term savings and investment accounts opened in a child’s name at birth or soon after. They begin with an initial deposit of several hundred dollars, to which family members, friends, account holders, and others may add over time. SEED funds can eventually be used to help pay for education, start a small business, or buy a home. The theory behind the SEED program is that longer-term investment combined with financial management education has the potential to produce a wide range of benefits.