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.

Principal Investigators


Margaret Sherraden


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


Jin Huang


CSD Faculty Director; Saint Louis University
Inclusion in Asset Building: Toward Universal and Progressive Policies

Julie Birkenmaier

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

Project Director

Gena Gunn McClendon

CSD Director of Voter Access and Engagement,
Financial Capability and Asset Building initiatives


Child Development Account Forum

June 13, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Hillman Hall classroom 130, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis