Oklahoma Asset-Building: Promoting Economic Security for Life
First Nations Development Institute received a grant from the Ford Foundation to launch the "Building Economic Security for Life" project. The purpose of the initiative is to promote an asset-building agenda at the state and local levels that will provide income and program strategies to ensure family economic security. First Nations has partnered with Oklahoma Native Asset Coalition and Oklahoma Policy Institute to promote a research agenda that builds on the momentum of family asset-building strategies.
Oklahoma Policy Institute
The Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy) is a member of Oklahoma Assets, a coalition of asset-building practitioners and organizations committed to identifying and strengthening programs and policies that help achieve economic security for Oklahomans. OK Policy, as one of the partnering organizations of Oklahoma Assets, received a grant to develop a series of publications and webinars on financial education. The following is a recent interview with David Blatt, executive director of OK Policy, on the importance of family economic security in Oklahoma.
An Advocate for Economic Security
A Conversation with David Blatt
In a small office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sits a gentleman fervently reviewing state economic policy and the latest legislation impacting families in the state of Oklahoma. David Blatt, now serving as the executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy), recently sat down with First Nations Development Institute staff to discuss why he is part of a growing movement for asset-building programs and financial education for Oklahoman families.
Blatt is recognized as one of the state's leading experts on financial policy, and he has been with the Oklahoma Policy Institute since it was founded in 2008. The Oklahoma Policy Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a state economy that provides shared prosperity for all Oklahomans through economic opportunity and financial security. OK Policy is a member of Oklahoma Assets, a coalition of asset-building practitioners and organizations committed to identifying and strengthening programs and policies that help achieve economic security for Oklahomans. OK Policy, as one of the partnering organizations of Oklahoma Assets, received a $40,000 grant from First Nations and the Ford Foundation to develop a series of publications and webinars on financial education.
First Nations: What does it mean to you to work towards family economic security in Oklahoma? What hope does your organization provide to the communities you work in?
Blatt: I believe that all families should have access to assets. Everyone should be able to own a home in a good neighborhood. OK Policy is a think tank, and we provide research, policy analysis and a framework for policy changes at the state level. In our financial education work, we focus on the importance of savings, investing and ownership of assets.
First Nations: Why should we continue to invest in asset-building programs?
Blatt: If you are going to have success in any community, you need asset-building programs. Everyone needs access to housing, education, healthcare and financial resources. Building assets leads to the reduction of poverty.
First Nations: What hope will Oklahoma Assets provide to families and communities in Oklahoma?
Blatt: We can bring partners together to make a difference. We can help people become homeowners even open a savings account. A savings account can change a person's life. We can create change in people's lives.