Institute to Hold Press Call on Release of Report on Benefits of Matched Savings Accounts

Institute to Hold Press Call on Release of Report on Benefits of Matched Savings Accounts


Legislators, Financial Experts, and IDA Participant Will Join Institute to Discuss Report and Policy Recommendations for Building Financial Security and Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap


Newark – On Wednesday, April 3 at 10 AM, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will host a media teleconference to discuss the release of its new report, Reclaiming the American Dream: Expanding Financial Security and Reducing the Racial Wealth Gap Through Matched Savings Accounts.


The Report proposes a new state Individual Development Account (IDA) program to empower residents to build wealth by receiving matched savings and financial education and coaching. IDAs are matched savings accounts where the amount of money that an individual or family contributes is matched, enabling people to save for a particular asset or goal such as buying a home, starting a small business, or financing postsecondary education. IDA programs also offer financial literacy classes, case management and other supportive resources to help participants build and sustain financial assets.


Given New Jersey’s shameful degree of income and racial wealth inequality, the Report argues for the creation of a statewide IDA program with a progressive match rate, allowing low-income residents to build wealth and finally realize the American Dream.


With today’s national conversation laser-focused on income inequality and proposed solutions, this Report expands the discussion beyond income to include methods of building sustainable wealth for economically-deprived communities.


CALL: Dial 800.356.8278; Code: 567841


WHEN: April 3, 10 AM ET




  • Nilsa Cruz-Perez, New Jersey Senator for the 5th legislative district, who co-sponsored the original legislation creating New Jersey’s current, federally-funded IDA program, and Chair of the New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee
  • M. Teresa Ruiz, New Jersey Senator for the 29th legislative district, Senate President Pro Tempore, and Chair of the New Jersey Senate Education Committee
  • Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
  • Demelza Baer, Institute Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative
  • Brooke Lewis, Institute Trustee Social Justice Legal Advocacy Fellow
  • Robert E. Friedman, Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Board for Prosperity Now. In his book, A Few Thousand Dollars: Sparking Prosperity for Everyone, he advocates for wealth-building incentives, including Individual Development Account programs, to close the racial wealth gap and provide access to economic opportunity for all people
  • Gavin Taylor, Manager of the Financial Empowerment Center at United Way of Essex & West Hudson, which administered Federal (TANF) and Home Individual Development Account programs from 2014-2017
  • Tamika Thomas, a Newark resident who participated in the United Way of Essex and West Hudson’s Individual Development Account program, and used her savings to become a first -time homeowner



New Jersey is the ninth worst state in the nation for income inequality, where incomes of households in the top 20% are 5.1 times higher than the incomes of households in the bottom 20%. The State has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the nation, with the current median net worth for white families at $309,396 and, according to the most recent data, a current median net worth for Black and Latino families at just $5,900 and $7,020, respectively.


The Report details the history of IDAs, provides best practices for IDA programs and sets forth policy recommendations to establish New Jersey as a national leader in working to build wealth through IDAs.



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