UPS, Mastercard, Etsy, Brightside, Arizona State University, and Acorns will join BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative to help their employees, customers, gig workers, and college students take the essential first step towards long-term financial well-being.
With nearly 40% of Americans lacking enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense without selling something or borrowing money, BlackRock’s flagship philanthropic initiative aims to help one million people establish a financial safety net.
Each partner participating in the Initiative will work with experts from Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth, and/or the Financial Health Network, three nonprofits focused on consumer financial health. Funded by BlackRock’s previously announced $50 million philanthropic commitment, the nonprofits will work with these organizations to build, test, and pilot custom solutions. Proven innovations will be used, such as behavioral nudges, prize-linked savings, rounding up transactions or rounding down deposits, and percent-based automatic savings transfers aligned with income.
“Addressing financial security is one of the key social issues of our time and it can’t be solved by any one organization on its own,” said Deborah Winshel, Global Head of Social Impact at BlackRock. “The magnitude of this issue demands that institutions work together to help broaden the opportunity for people to build emergency savings. It is why we are so proud to bring together such innovative employers, retailers, fintechs, educators, and nonprofits. With these organizations stepping up as leaders, the real work is just beginning.”
Each organization will help tackle the challenge with an approach aligned to its business and people.
UPS - UPS, a global leader in logistics, is focused on understanding the financial needs and challenges of its employees in order to deliver them the most effective savings solution.
Mastercard - Mastercard, a technology company in the global payments industry, will work with a select group of its customers such as financial institutions, merchants, and other corporate partners to research, enhance, and test a variety of savings strategies.
Etsy - Etsy, a global marketplace for unique and creative goods, will conduct research on its sellers’ financial challenges, and help them build a savings cushion with the support of a goals-based financial app. Launching in early 2020, the solution will be available to U.S. sellers through Etsy’s seller platform.
Brightside - Brightside, an employee financial health platform, will build a savings solution that helps employers and their employees address financial challenges such as reducing debt and gaining access to emergency cash.
Arizona State University - Arizona State University, the nation’s fastest growing public research university, is expected to work with nonprofit experts to co-design financial health tools and strategies to help its students, communities, and partners.
Acorns - Acorns, the fastest growing financial wellness system in the U.S. with 6.2M accounts, will research and design new emergency savings solutions that can be added as a feature on its financial wellness platform.
Additional partners are expected to join the initiative imminently, with a planned expansion to the United Kingdom in 2020.
Executive Quotes from the Emergency Savings Initiative’s Nonprofit Industry Experts:
“Insufficient savings remains a barrier to financial health for millions of people across the country,” said Jennifer Tescher, President and CEO of the Financial Health Network. “It is encouraging to see a wide array of organizations spanning multiple industries take on the savings crisis. They are stepping forward to advocate for their employees’, customers’, and students’ well-being and long-term financial health.”
“Enabling savings for workers, customers, and students is both achievable and provides business value, such as stronger productivity. Yet, for organizations with competing priorities, it can still be a challenge,” said Timothy Flacke, co-founder and executive director of Commonwealth. “Under the Emergency Savings Initiative, we’re able to bring decades of design, implementation, and impact assessment experience to our corporate partners. This is a golden opportunity for partners to tap outside help to bolster their stakeholders’ financial security.”
"Common Cents Lab has an extensive history of fostering healthy financial behaviors and interventions through extensive research on human thought, behavior, and decision-making," said Mariel Beasley, co-founder of Common Cents Lab. “This initiative offers a new opportunity to bring behavioral economics to an engaged and diverse audience in order to make a large-scale impact on the savings epidemic."