October 24, 2023 /3BL/ – The Wells Fargo Foundation has committed $3.45 million over the next three years to Compass Working Capital (“Compass”) to help expand access to the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, a savings incentive program that helps families increase their earnings and build financial capability and assets. Compass, based out of Boston and Philadelphia, is working to end asset poverty for families with low incomes and narrow the racial and gender wealth divides. The funding from Wells Fargo supports the first phase of Compass’ seven-year strategic plan to expand access to the federally funded Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Undoing the centuries of exploitation and financial harm that created the racial and gender wealth gaps requires major, reparative investments from the private sector to address that harm. We are excited that Wells Fargo is with us in expanding access to the opportunity FSS offers families, particularly those led by Black and/or Latina women, to become asset secure and achieve the dreams they have for themselves and their children,” shares Markita Morris-Louis, Chief Executive Officer of Compass Working Capital.
The FSS program combines a powerful savings incentive with services to support families residing in federally subsidized affordable housing to build assets. It enables families who increase their earned income to capture the corresponding rent increase into an escrow savings account. This account builds over time and families can use their savings to achieve their goals, such as paying down debt, higher education, and homeownership.
Wells Fargo is the first corporate funder to make a significant philanthropic investment in Compass’ seven-year strategic plan, driven by its successful, comprehensive programs for FSS-eligible families. On average, Compass FSS program participants build over $8,000 in savings and increase their annual income by more than $10,000.
“The FSS program has proven to be life changing for thousands of low-income renters – helping them build financial capability and assets through comprehensive interventions that improve their savings, credit, and financial independence,” said Bonnie Wallace, head of Financial Health Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “Through this additional $3.45 million investment to Compass through 2026, we hope to accelerate the outsized impact its programming has on the financial security and economic mobility of families in public housing.”
With this support from Wells Fargo, Compass aims to reach the following milestones in the next three years:
Support 6,660 families to build $5.7 million in savings and $7.2 million in increased earnings.Expand training and technical assistance to affordable housing providers to replicate Compass’ outcomes.Shape policy solutions that further break down barriers to becoming asset secure, such as an automatic enrollment model for FSS.
About Compass Working Capital
Compass Working Capital (“Compass”) works to end asset poverty for families with low incomes and narrow the racial and gender wealth divides. Compass partners with affordable housing providers to run the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency program, the nation’s largest asset building program for families with low incomes. Since 2010 Compass has supported over 4,000 families to build more than $15 million in savings.