CAAB

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Empowering Refugee and Asylee Entrepreneurs in Montgomery County with Individual Development Accounts

For refugees and asylees the American banking system and opportunities to save can be challenging to navigate. Since 2014, a pilot Individual Development Account (IDA) savings program has been offered by the International Rescue Committee in Silver Spring and Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB), thanks to the support from Islamic Relief USA, for refugees and asylees seeking to launch a small business in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Empowering Refugee and Asylee Entrepreneurs in Montgomery County with Individual Development Accounts

Image courtesy of IRC-Silver Spring

Empowering Refugee and Asylee Entrepreneurs in Montgomery County with Individual Development Accounts

For refugees and asylees the American banking system and opportunities to save can be challenging to navigate. Since 2014, a pilot Individual Development Account (IDA) savings program was launched by the International Rescue Committee in Silver Spring and Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB), thanks to the support from Islamic Relief USA, for refugees and asylees seeking to launch a small business in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Khalid recently became a success story in the IDA savings program. With the objective to launch a small business, in the Summer of 2014 Khalid enrolled in CAAB's Matched Savings Program. He was incentivized to save at least $500 for a period no shorter than 6 months and receive a match of $3,000. Khalid believed his savings and the match in his IDA would contribute to achieve his entrepreneurial ambitions. Within 9 months of opening his IDA, Khalid was able to achieve his savings goal. His goal is to use his savings and the match in the IDA to use his small business to sell his paintings.

Khalid also took advantage of the financial education services CAAB and IRC-Silver Spring offered him. “When you move from one place to another, you don’t know the financial information in the new place,” said Khalid, a refugee artist from Iraq. “I didn’t know what a credit score was, how to build good credit, how that would affect my future budgeting…so it is really good that I have that information from this program. I also learned when you have a small business you need to have a separate budget. Like when I sell paintings, I should not mix my money in different sources.”  

Of the five participants in the pilot program, all have achieved their original savings goal and have access to Money Management training. “The IDA Program is a fantastic opportunity for our refugee clients to receive essential financial education and to develop good savings habits that help them maximize their earnings,” said IRC Economic Empowerment Manager, Matthew Fortier. “Moreover, the 6:1 match enables IDA participants to make meaningful contributions towards an asset--including education, business and home purchase--which, coupled with financial education, positions them for future success in their career and in their integration into their community.”

"Savings is at the core of everything CAAB does," said Rich Petersen, CAAB's Executive Director. "We are proud to partner with IRC-Silver Spring and Islamic Relief USA to educate refugees and asylees in Montgomery County to be part of the financial mainstream in this county and incentivize them to save in order to achieve a financial goal and build wealth for a better future."

Since 1996, CAAB has been offering IDAs to residents of the Greater DC Area. For more information on our Matched Savings Program, please visit http://caab.org/en/programs/matched-savings-programs 

 

About Capital Area Asset Builders

Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower low- and moderate-income residents of the Greater DC Area to take control of their finances, increase their savings, and build wealth for a better future.

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Now, more than ever, non-profits like Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) need your help. Please support CAAB as we continue to help DC residents manage and/or improve their financial situation during these difficult times. If you can't afford to give a monetary gift, please visit our Amazon Wish List where you can choose from a variety of items that CAAB needs in order to better serve our community.

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Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB)
c/o Joseph Leitmann-Santa Cruz, CEO & Executive Director
1100 H Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005