Financial Capability & Asset Building​ (FCAB)

Asset Building

The Center for Social Development is engaged in building a body of evidence in financial capability, defined as both the knowledge to have access to appropriate and beneficial financial services and make optimal financial decisions. Our  initiative focuses on financial capability across the life-cycle and inclusion of everyone. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) selected “build financial capability and assets for all” as one of social work’s 12 Grand Challenges.  

The aim of FCAB is two-fold: to underscore the importance of both financial capability and opportunity, and to reintroduce financial well-being into social work and human services. 

Strategies include:

  • Engaging with other universities, disciplines, and professions in research, innovation, and application for financial capability.
  • Building evidence for the efficacy of developing professional capacity in financial capability.
  • Partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other colleges and universities to ensure inclusion of culturally  competent financial capability topics.
  • Producing evidence-based educational materials and texts that will serve as resources for training social workers and other human services professionals. See FCAB educational resources.

Funding Partners: Wells Fargo AdvisorsArthur Vining Davis FoundationsNational Endowment for Financial Education, Equifax Foundation


Principal Investigators

Margaret Sherraden

CSD Research Professor; Washington University in St. Louis​
Financial Capability: Combining Access and Abilities,
Civic Service and Engagement

Jin Huang

Professor, Saint Louis University
CSD Research Associate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis;
Inclusion in Asset Building: Toward Universal and Progressive Policies

Julie Birkenmaier

CSD Faculty Director; Saint Louis University
Financial Capability: Combining Access and Abilities


Project Directors

Gena Gunn McClendon

Director of Community Engagement,
Director of the Voter Access and Engagement initiative,
Codirector of the Financial Capability and Asset Building initiative

Lissa Johnson

CSD Associate Director; Director of Administration;
Co-Director Financial Capability and Asset Building