Higher education is a powerful tool that can help improve economic standing and mobility. For many families, however, the expense of college presents prospective students with a dilemma: delay or forego higher education or incur significant debt in pursuit of a degree. On this episode of Policy Outsider, guest Leila Bozorg, Chief of Strategy & Policy at NYC Kids RISE, explains how her organization is working to help New York City families meet this dilemma with a new tool: college savings invested in tax-free child investment accounts. The conversation covers how these child investment accounts work, how the organization measures progress and success, and recommendations for policymakers seeking to advance equity and affordability in higher education.


Leila Bozorg, chief of strategy & policy at NYC Kids RISE

For more on child investment accounts, read our policy brief, “State-Sponsored Child Investment Accounts: Helping Parents Save for College, Helping Students Avoid Loan Debt.

  • Transcript

    Transcript was generated using AI software and may contain errors.

    Alexander Morse  00:05

    Welcome to Policy Outsider presented by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. I’m Alex Morse. Higher education is a tool to help improve economic standing and mobility. However, for many individuals and families, higher education is simply unaffordable expenses such as tuition, room and board, textbooks and other necessities are soaring. They are up over 22% Between all public and private colleges and universities since 2008. Many students struggled to cover the costs and often incurred 10s of 1000s of dollars in debt. Unable to cover these costs. Many prospective students either delay or forego higher education altogether. The Rockefeller Institute recently examined the college affordability dilemma, and analyzed several different child investment account models designed to improve access to college, including one that will be the focus of today’s episode. Our guest is Leila Bozorg, Chief of strategy and policy at NYC kids rise a New York city wide initiative aimed to help families save and invest money for college and tax free accounts. We will talk to Leila about what are some of the program’s core elements, how they measure progress and success and what advice she has for policymakers looking to increase educational attainment coming up next. I Leila, thank you for joining today.

    Leila Bozorg  01:45

    Hey, Alex, great to be here.

    Alexander Morse  01:47

    So you are the chief of strategy and policy at New York City kids rise. So can you give us a brief overview of what this is what this institution is, and also a little bit of background of how you got involved?

    Leila Bozorg  02:00

    Sure, the NYC kids rise, save for college program. It’s kind of hard to talk about our organization without talking about the kind of programming platform that we built. But yeah, we like to think of it as a tool that we’ve created to help families, schools and communities work together to build assets and expectations of success for their students. I’ve been with NYC kids rise for about a little over a year and a half. I came from a decade actually working in affordable housing policy and neighborhood development. And came to this work about a year and a half ago, I had been following the trajectory of NYC kids rise in the safer college program since its inception in New York City in 2017. And it was really compelled about the kind of type of model that was being created to support students and build help build neighborhoods of economic opportunity. So that’s kind of how I made the pivot over from affordable housing work to NYC kids rise, or I should say that’s why Yeah, so

    Alexander Morse  03:02

    you have a lot of experience looking at issues like accessibility equity.

    Leila Bozorg  03:07

    Yeah, I have a lot of experience in neighborhoods and and what makes for strong neighborhoods, I also did a lot of work. In my previous role as a deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development on fair housing issues, I helped create the city’s fair housing plan. It’s called where we live NYC, where we really dug into the types of systemic issues, some historic some present day that create inequality in our neighborhoods and across our neighborhoods, unequal access to opportunity, and unfortunately, unequal life outcomes in the long term as well. Some of that is still rooted in the inequities across neighborhoods. So sure,

    Alexander Morse  03:44

    sure. And we’re going to cover all of that and what that means for New York City kids rise, or should I be saying NYC kids rise? Is that the branding? Yeah, I would call it NYC kids, right, NYC kids rise. Okay. And we’ll get into some of that and some of its core elements later. But let’s just talk about college affordability saving for college. Why is this important?

    Leila Bozorg  04:05

    Yeah. So I think something that most people who work in this space know and recognize is that higher education in general, not just college, I should say, even intensive career training. Both types of higher education are really important components of increasing economic mobility, reducing inequality, and increasing one’s lifetime income over time. So that access to higher education we know has a lot of long term impacts. But we also live in an era of major income disparities, a growing racial wealth gap that really threatens equity and equality in a lot of ways. And because of those conditions, New York City public school students and their families really do face a lot of challenges when it comes to kind of taking advantage of higher education opportunities as that means for have economic mobility and stability.

    Alexander Morse  05:02

    And so what you’re trying to do here is you’re trying to incentivize or encourage saving early trying to get folks to families to start thinking about college as early as how old might their first child be?

    Leila Bozorg  05:15

    Yeah. So I’m going to take a little bit of a step back, I’d say our focus is really on access to higher education as that means of a tool for economic mobility. But it’s not really just about getting people to think about college. This is really about supporting students from a very young age, it’s about kind of building expectations of success building, and building upon this sense of belonging and a community. So you know, we’re really working to we have kind of two core goals that are kind of our guiding star, I should say. One is to help students build assets, we want students in New York City to graduate with an actual financial asset that they can use for higher education. But the other is this kind of more effusive building expectations of success. And that really, a lot of the research does show that an expectation of success and a sense of support from your community goes a very long way, in helping people achieve stronger life outcomes are our aim is really to be doing this work from a very young age. And we’re really taking this ecosystem approach. It’s not just about supporting students in their families, it’s about engaging the entire ecosystem around a student that impacts their decisions impacts their life chances. So we’re engaged with their schools, we’re engaged with community based organizations, all the different types of institutions that impact a student, where our platform really engages them in a way to have a role to play in both supporting the building of assets, but also giving that reinforcing message of we believe in you, you can do this.

    Alexander Morse  06:48

    Yeah, that’s what I that’s what I find so interesting is that it’s, you’re looking at the maybe for early investment as a tool, but it’s not really so narrowly focused. It’s really a program trying to bridge divides increase access, and you use the term economic mobility and trying to build assets. I think that’s really interesting that it’s a it’s a more widespread approach than just trying to get families with investment accounts.

    Leila Bozorg  07:16

    Yeah, absolutely. I mean, so I, in some ways, there are simple ways of describing what we do, because it’s in some ways about the account infrastructure. We want to make sure that every kindergartener now in the New York City, public school student from here on out has access to an investment account for their future. But we’re doing that through an approach that really touches on all of the different ways and complex ways that people are impacted as they grow through the education system and try to achieve their goals.

    Alexander Morse  07:47

    So let’s talk about the mechanics of NYC kids rise. Walk me through what it is that you do on a day to day basis. What is it that what are your tools? How do you reach these families?

    Leila Bozorg  07:57

    Great. So I should say, this work started as a pilot. We are this is right now our first year of going citywide, but I’m going to take a step back to 2017 when the pilot began. And it’s even worth saying that, while the pilot began in 2017, the foundation for this work was being set, even, you know, 510 years earlier than that through a lot of work in neighborhoods. And our executive director has been involved at Deborah Ellen glickstein. In this type of work her entire career. So it’s almost an idea that started 20 years ago, but 2017 is when the pilot launched and so what it is, is that every kindergartener enrolled in a public school, a New York City public school, and in the pilot, this was in western queens, there were six neighborhoods that were in the pilot, all within one school district school district 30 in New York City, every enrolling kindergartener automatically receives what we call an NYC scholarship account. It’s invested in the New York 529 plan with an initial $100 seed allocation. And families can earn up to $200 in rewards for early engagement into that account. Now, we talked about our work as both a scholarship and a savings platform. Because it’s this universal NYC scholarship account that every student has access to unless their family opts out. That’s an important piece of this. It’s automatic enrollment, but there is an opt out process that families can if they decide they don’t want to participate, they can do that. But once that scholarship account is in place, families have the option to open and connect a savings account for higher education that they own that connect it through the platform. That’s part of the early reward system. If you open and connect one of your own accounts, you can get a $25 reward in your scholarship account. You get another reward when you make your first $5 deposit in that account. And the idea here being that it’s not just about what NYC conservatives contributes. It’s not just about what the community contributes over time because I’ll get to that number rent. But it’s also about what families can contribute. It’s trying to, you know, there’s a role for everyone to play here and building what we call the the kind of capital stack for students. And then we work over time with communities who can contribute to groups of these NYC scholarship accounts, we call that community scholarships, those in the pilot have taken many different forms. And we’re really excited about the different forms that it will take in the future as well as we expand to every New York City neighborhood. But this is a way really for communities to be tangibly contributing to students in their neighborhood or across neighborhoods, and also demonstrating their support for student success through these community scholarships. Now, the community’s role is not just about fundraising, there’s other ways that community support comes into play. We worked in the pilot with community based organizations, for example, that were taking kids on college trips, doing readathons, some CBOs, that were working with families during tax time to understand how these accounts can be leveraged during tax time. So we’ve taken this approach where there’s a role almost for every institution to play, there’s a couple other things I want to mention that are part of the work and part of the, the platform. So there’s the scholarship and savings accounts. There’s the community scholarships, but we’ve also been working in very close partnership with the New York City Department of Education, who’s critical to this work and financial education, curriculum extensions, that students are taught in the classroom that kind of accompany the program, integrate information about the accounts into financial education that students get in the classroom. And then there’s financial education and empowerment that, you know, we work with families through workshops, through family community dinners, other direct ways where we’re supporting families directly,

    Alexander Morse  11:44

    you covered a lot there.

    Leila Bozorg  11:46

    Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot. That’s why it’s, in some ways, some people think of it as simple. We’re providing accounts, but there’s, there’s so much more to it, when you dig in a little bit.

    Alexander Morse  11:54

    And sure, I hope we can touch on all of that and a little bit more detail. So we talked about the scholarship accounts, or the scholarship awards. What I want to ask you is what’s the what’s the importance of seed money? What do you find seed money helps with families?

    Leila Bozorg  12:10

    Yeah, I would think of it in a few ways. One is, it’s really a, it’s an early start. That’s an obvious first thing. But it’s really sends that message from an early, really early age for students and their families that you’re not in this alone, part of what it means now to be a New York City. kindergartener, part of what it means to be a family that sends your student to a public school in New York City, is that you are going to have an investment account for your child’s higher education. So we’re really obviously trying to help families start early, help engage communities very early, and the different ways that they can be supporting their students. A lot of this I should also say, is just providing a tool that communities can use to really leverage the work they’re already doing. And I’ll talk a little bit more later on in the conversation about that, because we saw some really beautiful examples of that in the pilot. But it really sends that message that you’re not on your own. We really want to be demonstrating what it looks like for us all to care about everyone’s children in the in the city. This is not just about you taking care of your child. It’s also about how you can support other children in your neighborhood, in your school community or across the city. And we’re really excited to see how we can we can do kind of cross neighborhood support and engagement as well.

    Alexander Morse  13:33

    Right, as you mentioned earlier, that there are different community partners that are you’re trying to collaborate with or invite to participate in the initiative. So the program’s obviously still evolving. sticking on the seed money aspect, I find it interesting. Why so we understand that getting a jumpstart is going to help families save. But were there Economic Studies, were there psychological studies that you guys have showed to to the New York City Department of Education that says if we do this, families are going to be more likely to save, and then increase access to college economic mobility, all of the goals that you have in mind?

    Leila Bozorg  14:10

    Yeah, so I mean, a lot of this work is rooted in research that has shown that even small dollar accounts, you know, a college savings account of one to $500, the research has shown can actually have an impact on a low income student, getting to college and graduating from college. William Eliot, at the University of Michigan is one of the kind of the lead researchers on this, and there are others as well. But that research really goes to show it’s not actually always just about the dollars. It’s not just about being able to afford college itself. It’s also about being able to provide it’s about the the impact that expectations can have on a child growing up that you know what college is for me, career training is for me, I can take steps to To achieve my goals, I can dream big. And so it’s really that message. That expectation that’s demonstrated through those small dollars.

    Alexander Morse  15:09

    And I do have to apologize, I keep saying college affordability. When earlier you said it’s higher education. So I need to start drilling that in. But looking at your universe, Who are you targeting? What families? Are you reaching out to? How are you determining what? Who needs the financial assistance? Or the literacy campaigns? Is it every one that’s enrolled in kindergarten? Or are their income limits?

    Leila Bozorg  15:32

    Yeah, so our this, this platform is universal, we talk about it as a universal community driven wealth building platform. Now that can feel like a mouthful, but it it means something and I’m happy to explain what it means. But the universal ality of this is important. Think of it like pre K, we’ve recognized as a society that pre K is important, no matter your income. And so we’re trying to make universal pre K, a common thing, we’re trying to do a very similar thing here, having an asset from a very early age for higher education is critical to your success later in life. So we want that to become an in New York City, it is now becoming a universal thing that families can have access to. It’s also important for our ethos and our platform that we want to have families of all different incomes engaged in this work. And this question of how do we, what does it look like for us to support all of our children? We asked that question a lot. We don’t want this to be something that stigmatizes families, every family needs assistance in one way or another. Every family has assets to bring to the table, not just financial when it comes to supporting other people’s children and their own. So the universal ality of this is really important to us. And then I should say, when it comes to kind of trying to drive more assets into accounts, for example, through community scholarships, we are focused a little bit more on those students from communities that have historically been excluded from wealth building opportunities in neighborhoods, for example, that maybe are still dealing with the consequences of segregation or inequity. So it is a universal platform. But there’s ways that we want to be driving additional resources progressively into accounts as well.

    Alexander Morse  17:19

    Certainly a justice component to looking at this universe and expanding access to higher education. You’re totally right about the systemic problems that have existed. So you’ve mentioned college 529 accounts, or 529 savings accounts. And I’m not sure if I heard it correctly, that these those 529 accounts can be paired with the NYC kids RISE program, are they separate? What makes them similar and or different?

    Leila Bozorg  17:47

    Yeah, so let me let me pull this apart a little bit. So are the NYC scholarship account that every student receives is invested in the New York 529 plan? Now separate from that from the scholarship account, families and I should say the scholarship account for students is owned and managed on behalf of each student by NYC kids rise. That’s part of what allows people to participate regardless of immigration or documentation status, regardless of income. It also allows us to be providing these accounts and the assets without impacting a family’s qualification for public benefits, or impacting their qualification for financial assistance, for example. So that’s an important aspect of the NYC scholarship accounts. Now, if we encourage all families also to open and connect a savings account of their own, and in the program, they have two options. And we may be adding more options over time, one of those options is to open and connect to their own New York 529 Plan account. The other is through Amalgamated Bank, they can open a more traditional, if that’s not an investment bank, that’s more of a savings, traditional savings account. They have that option as well. So they have in the program, two savings account options to for their own account,

    Alexander Morse  19:04

    or those savings accounts. Do they both have the same tax benefits?

    Leila Bozorg  19:08

    Well, the 529 plan is an investment account. And so that comes with certain tax benefits that a more traditional savings account does not the assets and it can grow tax free families for on the saving side can also take deductions based on their income. So there’s tax advantages to having an investment account that aren’t necessarily there for more traditional savings. Bank accounts. Yep.

    Alexander Morse  19:33

    Okay. And so the program, the pilot started in 2017. How many students were in that first cohort?

    Leila Bozorg  19:41

    Yeah. And Alex, actually, if we can go back for a minute, there’s something I want to I want to say more on the on the 529 accounts. So one of the things that I think the exciting aspects, or something I find really exciting about the work that’s been done through the pilot related to the 529 program is that we’ve worked very closely with The State Comptroller’s office Thomas DiNapoli comptroller DiNapoli as they manage the New York 529 program, we’ve worked with them to make what we call inclusive enhancements to the 529 program. So this is not just about families having this option to connect their own savings account. But we’ve worked to make policy changes with the comptroller’s office that make 520 nines more accessible to your average New Yorker, and particularly for lower income New Yorkers. So examples of that are we worked with them to take away the minimum deposit requirement, you can now open a New York 529, without having to make a minimum deposit, they used to have an ongoing contribution minimum that no longer exists, you can now make $1 contribution if you want, we work with them to allow money orders to be a form of acceptable deposit. We’ve also worked with them to make some of their plan material available in Spanish language access is a huge issue when it comes to access to capital markets and even tools in general for wealth building. So we’ve worked with the comptroller’s office to at least have some materials available in Spanish. So while our work is obviously about all those things I just discussed, there’s also this aspect of the work that is about policy reform to try to break down the barriers to entry to using tools that are meant for asset and wealth building.

    Alexander Morse  21:19

    So now focusing on some of the metrics that you use to define success as an organization and the program. The first cohort started in 2017. So they’re still in grade school, probably right. Yeah. How are you measuring success?

    Leila Bozorg  21:34

    Sure. So to touch on kind of where you started with this question. So in the pilot schools Third, there are 39 pilot schools, across six neighborhoods, and there are about those neighborhoods are Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Jackson Heights, Astoria east, Elmhurst, all in Queens, in that school district school district 30. There’s about 3500 enrolling kindergarteners each year, this program started in 2017. So now we’ve had about 13,500 students in the pilot schools that haven’t NYC scholarship account, that means 96% of the students that are eligible, these are now students that are in first through fourth grade, right? The kindergarteners are in the process of being enrolled, but that 13,500 represents 96% of students that were eligible. So that is a first metric that we look at how many families are are opting out. And so night, this 96% participation rate is great. It means that families have decided this is a tool that is useful for them.

    Alexander Morse  22:38

    Let’s stick on that for just one second, why would families want to opt out of this?

    Leila Bozorg  22:42

    One thing to note about the structure here is that this is a really close partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the city of New York as a whole. So it’s a public private, we call it a public private community partnership, we would not be here without those institutional partners. So through this partnership, the New York City Department of Education runs the opt out process, we as NYC kids rise, the nonprofit that manages the save for college program, we don’t receive information about the students whose families have decided to opt out. And that’s an important element of this of privacy and security. Though that 4% that has decided to opt out, we don’t receive that much we don’t receive any information about them. But I will say we also have a policy where if you were initially opted out, you have until your child’s the end of your child’s fifth grade year to change your mind. And that can work in both directions, you can say actually, I do want to participate. Or if you’ve participated, you can say, nevermind, this isn’t for me, I need to cancel. So we have anecdotally had had a number not anecdotally actually had a number of families who originally opted out decide to come back in and we’ve learned from those conversations, that sometimes it’s just a matter of misunderstanding, a family not knowing exactly what this is maybe feeling a little distressful at first about another organization, helping them quote unquote, helping them which is not, you know, the system and structure that we’ve put in place. But being a little skeptical about a new partner, right. And so a piece of this and part of why the partnership with the Department of Education is so important. And the school the role of the schools in this platform is so important is that we try to work through trusted organizations that really work firsthand with families every day. So sometimes it’s a matter of MIS education. And the other reality is that is that everyone’s financial circumstances are different families may have reasons where they’ve decided they don’t need this, or they just it’s not something that they want to participate in.

    Alexander Morse  24:41

    Sure. Thank you. And so sorry for interrupting because we were talking about the other metrics that you use as a program to defining success. Yeah, so

    Leila Bozorg  24:50

    like, this really is I think as as our conversation is as gotten to a little bit this work is is And I multi-dimensional in a way. We work directly with families, we work through schools, we work through other partners. So for kind of each aspect of this work, we have set up metrics of success to kind of guide us along the way. So one, obviously, is that initial one, I talked about how many families are participating. The other we have a set of what we call foundational steps in the program for families to take building blocks is a family activating and viewing their account is the family connecting their own college savings account, college and career savings account, is the family making their first $5 deposit. These are all what we call the building blocks. And we look very closely at family engagement in the short term along the way. We also, as I mentioned, we do a lot of this work through our partnership with the Department of Education and every individual school. And we do professional learning and communities of practice with school partners. So we look at our metrics around our engagement with schools, how many schools are participating in our professional learning opportunities, and our sessions together? What’s the, you know, we do surveys, what’s the feedback we’re getting? Are these effective sessions are the tools were providing being used? These are a lot of the short term metrics. Obviously, there’s, with this work, there’s long term goals as well, that we’re going to be looking at in terms of outcomes. And I should say that during the pilot, we worked with the Urban Institute, who helped us develop a set of both short, medium and long term metrics to be tracking along the way, given that this is so multi dimensional, and that we were not going to be able to measure real outcomes for a number of years, right. We have the oldest students in the program right now, our fourth graders in the pilot schools. This is just the first year of starting with kindergarteners citywide. So we have a ways to go.

    Alexander Morse  26:49

    Let’s talk about that expansion some more. So this is your first year going city wide? What’s the first thing you’ve learned as you do it?

    Leila Bozorg  26:56

    Ah, that’s a great question. You know, I think one of the first things is obviously, this is not something anyone can do alone. This is a platform that was co created by a lot of different partners. You know, the 39, participating schools in the pilot played a really important role in the creation of this whole platform, everything from our branding, to the types of activities and celebrations with students, they helped us to design. So I think one of the one of the key lessons is just how many people it takes to do something like what we’re doing. I mean, this is a massive undertaking. And there were a lot of people along the way, who said it wouldn’t be possible in a city as complex as New York City. But there are a lot of people who have also really put their time and energy and their own social capital on the line to help make this possible, couldn’t have done it alone. Still can’t. There’s a long ways to go. But we’ve gotten you know, and this speaks to this idea of the, you know, it sounds kind of jargony of this public private community partnership. But there really is a role for every institution to play in this platform. And it wouldn’t be what it is without people already having played that role. So are our partners in the city who really decided to provide the funding to make this go city wide, the gray Foundation who was behind this from the very beginning to provide the funding to do the pilot, the superintendent of school district 30, Dr. Philip impasto who really helped ensure this was a priority for all the schools and school district 30. So the types of partnerships that it takes, and the types of leadership and commitment from so many different sectors is been really important learning. Yeah, so

    Alexander Morse  28:41

    cultivating those relationships. I’m sure it’s a challenge in any environment, let alone New York City. And you said the pilot started with 39 schools. And so now we’re looking at how many schools What’s this universe look like?

    Leila Bozorg  28:55

    We’re looking at just over 1000 schools. So it’s all of the district’s elementary schools across the city that have a kindergarten class, and it’s participating charter schools. So charter schools are public schools. But charter schools had to opt in to participation, and over 90% of them are on board. So we were going we’re scaling from 39 schools to over 1000 from 3500 kindergarteners a year to 70,000 kindergarteners a year. So it’s a big, big jump, but we’re excited to be doing it.

    Alexander Morse  29:28

    What are some other challenges that you’ve been facing as an organization during expansion?

    Leila Bozorg  29:33

    You know, I think one of the interesting questions for us is really, you know, because this was a co created platform. And you know, this, and it’s really intended and what has has occurred in school district 30 is that it’s being used as a tool by local communities to kind of advance the work they were already doing in their neighborhoods, right. So there’s this hyper local pneus of it. I don’t know I don’t have a better word for it at the moment. that is part of what makes this magical right is communities using it as a tool to support their students in the ways that, you know, to kind of build upon the work they were already doing. So I think as we go citywide one of the challenges that we’re going to, or that we’re already taking on and going to kind of keep at the forefront is how you set this up in a way so that communities can still tailor it in the way that it is that’s going to serve them, while also having certain things, certain aspects of the platform, kind of be prescribed in the way that they need to be for the platform to work. So this kind of customization versus standardization, when you go from one school district to 32 is going to be I think, an interesting challenge to to deal with. And, you know, it’s already it’s it’s encouraging that some of the engagement we’ve had with school leaders so far has really shown that they’re, they’re thrilled and excited. And we’re excited to see the ways that they take this and run with it in their school communities. And same with other community based organizations across the city.

    Alexander Morse  31:05

    Yeah, and I wish you luck in that endeavor. I mean, that’s, that’s a serious challenge to expand from 30 million schools to over 1000. But hopefully, that you’re you guys have the infrastructure in place and the plan to maintain those goals.

    Leila Bozorg  31:17

    Yeah, I mean, um, one of the things that we often talk about our organization, you know, it, we manage this in partnership with the Department of Education in the city. But we really see ourselves as a backbone organization. This is not a service that we as a nonprofit are delivering to communities, it’s really a tool for communities to use to help their students or support their students in building wealth and expectations of success. And that’s going to look different in different communities. And we’re excited to see how that plays out.

    Alexander Morse  31:49

    Taking kind of a step back and like 30,000 foot view, if policymakers were to consider expanding this program statewide, throughout New York State, what advice would you give them?

    Leila Bozorg  32:01

    That’s such a great question. So first of all, I’d say, I really think that a program like this can and should be statewide, and we at NYC kids rise stand ready and willing to work with and support whomever wants to help to make that happen. But in terms of advice, I’d say, it’s probably most important to find your local partners. I’ve worked in the federal government before. And sometimes programs can really lose their magic when removed from the hyperlocal way that communities need and want and should use the tools that are provided to them. So for us in New York City, it’s been critical to be integrated in into the social infrastructure of neighborhoods, that’s through schools, through local community based organizations through parent networks, local businesses, that’s been a really critical part of our platform. So in going statewide, I’d recommend that policymakers find ways to similarly integrate this into the institutions that make up that ecosystem and network around a child and the institutions that impact their life outcomes. And based on our experience in New York, I really do believe you’ll need some kind of backbone organization. As New York City kids Rhys has served in New York, to be that convener, an organizing entity, a type of organization that can work closely with with government, but be more nimble than government. And one that really has the commitment to finding and lifting up local voices in part and partners that will make the platform a success at any scale. That won’t be easy, but it’s definitely possible. And I’d be excited to see the state of New York take that on.

    Alexander Morse  33:50

    Lobos org, Chief of strategy and policy at NYC kids rise. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your insight.

    Leila Bozorg  33:57

    Thanks, Alex.

    Alexander Morse  34:03

    Thanks again to Leila Bozorg of NYC kids rise for taking the time to speak with us today. To learn more about NYC kids rise and other models of child investment accounts. Check out the Rockefeller Institute’s policy brief, state sponsored child investment accounts, helping parents save for college, helping students avoid loan debt. If you liked this episode, please rate subscribe and share. It will help others find the podcast and help us deliver the latest in Public Policy Research. All of our episodes are available for free wherever you stream your podcasts. Special thanks to Rockefeller Institute staff Joel tirado, Heather Trella, Brian Backstrom, and Laura Schultz for their contributions to this episode. Thanks for listening. I’m Alex Morse. Until next time, policy outsider is presented by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The institute conducts cutting edge nonpartisan public policy research and analysis to inform lasting solutions to the challenges facing New York state and the nation. Learn more at Roc inc.org or by following Rockefeller Institute that I n s t on social media. Have a question, comment or idea. Email us at [email protected].

Policy Outsider

Policy Outsider” from the Rockefeller Institute of Government takes you outside the halls of power to understand how decisions of law and policy shape our everyday lives.

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