Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

City and Community Innovations in CDAs: The Role of Community-Based Organizations

In the SEED Initiative, twelve community-based organizations (CBOs) across the United States and its territories were chosen to offer CDAs, establish best practices in delivering CDAs and demonstrate “proof of concept.” Since the inception of the SEED Initiative, a second wave of CDA programs has emerged at the local level. The purpose of this paper is to analyze these community and city-wide CDA innovations in the U.S. and to examine the role that CBOs play in these innovations. First, this paper explores the theory behind CBO engagement in asset-building and the roles CBOs typically play at the local level. Second, this paper describes the specific roles performed by CBOs in the SEED Initiative and analyzes their relative strengths and weaknesses in delivering CDAs. Third, , the paper describes several newer city-wide innovations that are designed to deliver CDAs on a larger scale and explains the role that CBOs play or may play in these innovations. Finally, the paper concludes with several key recommendations about the proper role for CBOs in providing support for CDA initiatives at the community level, city level, and beyond.

This paper was presented during Child Development Accounts: Research and Policy Symposium, a November 2008 conference, and was developed for publication in Child Development Accounts: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Potential, a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review. Released in November 2010, the special issue was edited by Michael Sharraden, Youngmi Kim, and Vernon Loke.

Subsequent publication: Rist, C., & Humphrey, L. (2010). City and community innovations in CDAs: The role of community-based organizations. Children & Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1520–1527. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.03.010

Project: SEED National Initiative


Rist, C., & Humphrey, L. (2009). City and community innovations in CDAs: The role of community-based organizations (CSD Working Paper No. 09-49). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.