Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is awarded a 2018 DollarWise Grant to support his City’s Parramore Kidz Zone Summer Youth Employment Program                            

U.S. Conference of Mayors Releases 2020 Economic Mobility Report


About the Report:

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is pleased to release its 2020 Economic Mobility Report. The report features aggregate data that focuses on the implementation and strength of economic mobility programming in our nation’s cities.

The report is based on survey data collected from 53 cities across the country. The Conference thanks all of the mayors and their staff who helped to make this report possible.

Click here to view and download the 2020 Economic Mobility Report.

Click here to view and download the Report’s Key Findings.

The 2020 Economic Mobility Report offers insight into some of the primary challenges that cities face in promoting economic mobility, and provides recommendations for state and federal leaders on how to best assist local governments in meeting these challenges.

The report also highlights 20 cities that are leading the way to promote economic mobility, and provides best practices for additional cities to follow.

The 2020 Economic Mobility Report is part of a broader collaborative effort by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to collect and analyze data on local economic mobility programs, and to share best practices with mayors.

What we do

DollarWise Background

DollarWise is the Economic Mobility initiative of the United States Conference of Mayors. DollarWise believes in helping residents thrive economically. The Campaign fosters and supports innovative programs to promote educational opportunities, jobs and livable wages, financial capability, homeownership, affordable healthcare, and more. DollarWise addresses three primary components to address economic mobility:

1. Removing barriers that prevent economic advancement;

2. Creating economic opportunity through education and skills development; and

3. Building assets to create intergenerational wealth.

The DollarWise Campaign is made possible through support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, its founding sponsor.

DollarWise Innovation Grants

Each year, DollarWise offers USCM members the opportunity to apply for an award through its Innovation Grant Program. As of 2020, DollarWise has awarded grants to over 90 cities.

Member cities of The United States Conference of Mayors are eligible to apply for the DollarWise Innovation Grants. DollarWise Innovation Grants are designed to support city programs that remove barriers and create opportunities for underserved residents, so that they can build intergenerational wealth.

DollarWise grant awardees demonstrate a strong dedication to helping low & moderate-income residents improve their economic health and success.

2020 Innovation Grant Award Winners

On January 24th, the DollarWise Campaign awarded Innovation Grants – of $10,000 each – to expand economic mobility efforts in seven cities. The 2020 Innovation Grants were awarded during the 88th U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh was awarded an Innovation Grant to expand his city’s Childcare Entrepreneur Fund pilot program. The city-wide effort develops and assists small businesses focused on childcare services.

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim was awarded a DollarWise Grant to expand his city’s reentry program, which provides wrap-around services to participants. The program is run through the Mayor’s Office of Reentry Affairs, and offers resources to help participants obtain proper identification and financial education training.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke received a DollarWise Innovation Grant to expand his city’s Tech Goes Home Program, which will leverage digital literacy and training opportunities for reentering residents in Chattanooga.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will use a DollarWise Grant to grow Detroit’s Project Clean Slate, which provides legal aid for criminal record-sealing and expungement.

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird will use her DollarWise Innovation Grant to provide tailored workforce training to immigrants and refugees through her city’s CareerLadder initiative.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh will use his DollarWise Innovation Grant to support his city’s Fines and Fees Justice Initiative, which focuses on eliminating fines and fees within low-income communities in Syracuse.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon will use a DollarWise Innovation Grant to support his city’s Home Run Initiative, a “cradle to college and career program,” that helps children in West Sacramento achieve success throughout their lives.

The DollarWise Campaign is incredibly proud of each winning city and congratulates them for their efforts. DollarWise looks forward to working with each of these mayors to help expand their programs and promote economic mobility in their communities.

East Orange Mayor Ted Green (R) and Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training Manager LaDonna Johns (L) with 2018 Summer Youth Contest Winner

DollarWise Summer Youth Jobs Contest

Each year, the DollarWise Campaign, in partnership with The U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, launches the DollarWise Summer Youth Contest to help youth in summer jobs have access to financial education. Since 2012, over 10,000 youth have participated in this initiative.

Each summer, youth are invited to complete a set of financial education modules that cover important topics. For 2019, these topics include: setting a budget, the anatomy of a paycheck, understanding credit and debit cards, completing a FAFSA, the true cost of purchasing a car, and renting a place to live.

Join the 2019 Summer Youth Jobs Contest!

To participate in the 2019 Summer Youth Contest, youth in summer jobs can go to www.bedollarwise.org/syc and begin completing the online modules today!

Click here for the DollarWise flyer with more information. 

2019 Contest raffles will be held each Friday (5pm ET), from  July 5th, until August 9th.

Three winners will be randomly selected to win iPads, Kindles, and iPods each week, and are invited to take a photo with the mayors of their respective cities.

After completing all six modules, youth will be encouraged to complete a cumulative fifteen-question final exam that further test their knowledge on the contest material. All youth who score an 80% or higher on the exam receive a digital DollarWise Summer Youth Contest certificate of completion.

We hope that your program will collaborate with us again this year in an effort to promote both the substance and positive outcomes of summer youth programs across the nation

Summer Youth Campaign

DollarWise encourages each city to incorporate a financial education component into its summer youth employment program. Our goal is to make financial education a key component of every summer youth job.

A summer youth job can be a watershed moment in a youth’s life when he/she learns the responsibility of work and the excitement of earning money. Being hired for a job and receiving a paycheck is a teachable moment that can shape attitudes and habits that last a lifetime. The idea is to use this window of opportunity to instill in youth conscientious habits and attitudes toward money and equip them with financial-management skills.

DollarWise Month

Leading up to April 15th 2019, DollarWise encourages cities and mayors to promote free tax assistance programing in their communities. DollarWise strongly urges cities to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as an opportunity for residents in lower tax brackets to potentially receive more money in their tax refunds, and use that money to create a savings plan.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

The IRS’ VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Click here to use the IRS location tool and find a VITA or TCE site in your city. 

Before going to a VITA or TCE site, see Publication 3676-B for services provided and check out the What to Bring page to ensure you have all the required documents and information that volunteers will need to help you. *Note: available services can vary at each site due to the availability of volunteers certified with the tax law expertise required for your return.

Some VITA sites offer CAA service to taxpayers along with their VITA program.

Free File

The IRS’ Free File Program allows taxpayers making under $66,000 a year to file their federal taxes (and state taxes where applicable) online for free. Taxpayers can participate in Free File by going to IRS.gov/FreeFile. View the video below for more information.

VITA and Free File are just two resources that residents can use to seek free tax assistance – although cities are encouraged to utilize all resources that can assist their communities.

How do I set up an economic mobility campaign in my city?

Setting up a local economic mobility campaign may sound overwhelming, but it is easier than you might think. Sure, it will take some work and a little bit of effort, but by following a few simple steps you’ll be up and running in no time.

Step 1 Analyze your city’s economic mobility needs

Different cities scope out their economic mobility needs in different ways. Some bring together groups of city and community leaders and residents to discuss their challenges and how to begin addressing them. Others take a statistical approach based on sources such as census and IRS data. Yet others use some combination of the two. Ultimately, chances are you’ll be able to identify many different groups to help. The best approach is often to focus your efforts on one segment of your community and then expand from there as your capacity grows.

Step 2 Find out who’s already addressing those needs

Most likely, one or more organizations are working on economic mobility in your city. There’s no need to “reinvent the wheel,” as the saying goes. Learn who those groups are, how and where they do their work, and the segments of your community they work with. Groups that are probably addressing economic mobility may include faith-based groups, financial institutions, public and private schools, nonprofits, the local housing authority and/or housing-assistance programs, local employers, and other community-based groups.

Step 3 Develop partnerships with those groups

Establish partnerships with those organizations that are working to improve economic mobility. Help them to reinforce and enhance their work and to build a coordinated, citywide effort. You can work with them on organizing classes, workshops, and community programs. Your work with them will create a foundation for even greater expansion of your local economic mobility efforts in the future.

Step 4 Take advantage of all DollarWise has to offer

  • Apply for a DollarWise Innovation Grant.
  • Participate in the DollarWise Summer Youth Campaign and DollarWise Month.
  • Work with your local partners to organize economic mobility opportunities and events.
  • Work with our national partners and learn from other DollarWise cities.
  • Make a commitment to an ongoing, year-round economic mobility effort.
  • Evaluate your local campaign. Identify areas in which you can improve.

Stay Connected With DollarWise

Contact DollarWise Program Manager James Kirby at: jkirby@usmayors.org for more information about the program.

Founding Sponsor of the  DollarWise Program