On November 8th, I drafted an email to share our terrific news – over 3,000 Americans had enrolled as members of EARN’s brand new savings platform since launching in October.
I could hardly wait to tell you that from these 3,000 new enrollees, 672 Savers across 34 states started making deposits – 88% of whom are women, 68% of whom are African-American, more than half are single parents, and 84% are first-time Savers.
We had news to share about enrolling over 1,200 new members who are currently receiving food stamps; about a custom designed project to help affordable housing residents across multiple states save their first $500; and about a generous grant from the MetLife Foundation to help us do so much more in 2017.
But before I hit send, it was Wednesday morning and I suddenly found I had nothing to say.
Instead, I started to write about my own working class family, starting with my grandfather, a shipyard foreman in Scotland, where I was born. I wrote about how my horse betting, cigarette smoking grandad had built a solid life for his family and saved enough to help my parents buy their first home. I wrote about a twist of fate that got my dad a job in a semiconductor facility in that same Scottish town, a choice that would ultimately move my family to California and away from a region that lost 95% of its shipbuilding industry by 2013.
This morning, my team went over the past week’s progress. I was certain we would see a significant slump from our early success – in a week when many of us had a hard time getting through the day, surely no one was thinking about saving for the future. I was wrong.
Since election day, 542 new members registered to begin saving. In a week of shock, chaos and uncertainty 542 more people let us know that they are still working for a better economic outcome for their families and asking for our support to help them get there.
Our Savers are fighters, dreamers, and believers. They are taking small and steady steps towards a brighter future and at EARN we will stay the course, no matter what, to make sure we provide the tools they need to be successful.
My grandfather had a favorite toast: “May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live”. My father gave that toast at our wedding and strangely my father-in-law, who grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, far from the river Clyde, gave the exact same toast.
We all want the same things for our families – stability, security, and the opportunity to help the next generation succeed. If our Savers can keep on striving, then so can we.
President & CEO
(My grandad (center), Scotland 1940s)
Leigh is the president and CEO of EARN.