Founded in 2001, EARN is a national, award-winning nonprofit. We work at the intersection of financial technology and economic inclusion to empower low-income Americans to take charge of their financial lives. EARN's savings technology and programs support working families in setting aside the savings they need to achieve financial security and take advantage of opportunities.
Turning Effort into Opportunity Since 2001
Since our founding in 2001, EARN has established the most innovative asset-building program in the nation. We have worked with thousands of low-income families who have leveraged their savings into both long-term assets and short-term protections against financial hardship.
On June 20, 2017, in collaboration with San Francisco's Treasurer José Cisneros, we launched SaverLife San Francisco, a transformative community movement aiming to increase financial stability and emergency savings in the Bay Area. SaverLife combines our proven small dollar incentive model with the addition of weekly financial tips via email.
Financial Solutions Lab Winner
The Financial Solutions Lab is a community of startups, financial services companies and nonprofit organizations building FinTech solutions. In 2016, EARN was one of nine winners, and the only nonprofit, selected to participate out of 300+ applicants. Together we are identifying, testing and bringing to scale financial innovations that substantially improve the lives of hard-working Americans.
EARN Starter Savings
In 2015, EARN launched a new online savings program designed to help working families regularly set aside savings. The innovative program is the first step in a life-long savings journey.
Firefly Pilot Program
EARN launched the Firefly pilot in 2014. This new, completely online, goal-based savings program, combined proven educational techniques with technology and spark capital. Firefly proved that an online savings program with a short time frame and a modest match could build a savings habit as effectively as more intensive matched savings programs. Findings from the pilot informed the Starter Savings Program.
EARN Partners with the Clinton Global Initiative
In 2013, EARN was invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative. There, we announced an ambitious goal to foster financial capability and give families spark capital they can use to invest in their educations, retirement, and to withstand the small economic shocks that can be so devastating to low income people.
EARN Launches Education Savings Program
In 2012, EARN launched the TripleBoost Account Program to help parents of middle and high school students pay for education related expense. The online accounts had 3-to-1 matching contributions, accruing up to $2,000 per child per account. TripleBoost was remarkably impactful. From 2012 to 2015, families invested $3.5 million into their children's education. A Randomized Controlled Trial found that participation in the program caused families to save 10x more than they otherwise would have.
Kindergarten to College
In 2010, EARN helped launch the country's first publicly funded universal college savings program. Kindergarten to College is an initiative of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, the Office of the Treasurer, the Department of Children, Youth, & Their Families and the San Francisco Unified School District. EARN, together with CFED, the New America Foundation and San Francisco Foundation, is proud to be a part of such a landmark program.
Bank On San Francisco
In 2007, EARN became a founding member and current managing partner of Bank On San Francisco, an initiative launched by the City of San Francisco’s Treasurer’s office to bring unbanked San Franciscans into the financial mainstream.
Named Social Capitalist of the Year
EARN was the 2005 winner of the Fast Company Magazine/Monitor Group Social Capitalist of the Year Award and was named one of the ten finalists for the Amazon.com Nonprofit Innovation Award that same year.
The EARN Research Institute
EARN launched a policy and research initiative in 2003 in response to data illustrating that nearly 30% of all Californians were living in asset poverty (defined as a household’s lacking the resources to pay for basic needs for a three-month period if there is an interruption in income due to job loss or illness).
EARN IDA Program
In 2002, EARN launched an IDA program to help low-income families save for life-changing assets such homes, small businesses, and education. Participants identified the greatest value of saving to be their own changed behaviors and attitudes about finances. By the end of EARN’s programs, 85% of participants live within their means and 92% are prepared to handle financial emergencies, as compared to only 42% prior to program enrollment.
EARN was founded in 2001 by a group of prominent individuals and organizations, including financier F. Warren Hellman, California State Senator Mark Leno, Bob Friedman, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and San Francisco County Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, and Saundra Hernandez, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation and founding CEO, Ben Mangan.