Tools & Resources

  • Taking the First Step: Six Ways to Start Building Financial Security and Opportunity at the Local Level (2013)

    Drawing on the experiences of cities of all sizes across the nation, a new report published by CFED and NLC highlights six no-cost or low-cost ideas for how city officials can get started in helping more families in their community achieve financial stability.

  • Banking On Opportunity: A Scan of the Evolving Field of Bank On Initiatives (2011)

    NLC has prepared a new report under contract with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and CFED tracing the growth of the Bank On model within the broader financial access field and examining the current landscape of Bank On programs.

  • JoinBankOn.Org Online Portal

    City officials can find a wide range of tools to help residents gain access to mainstream financial services and enhance families' economic well-being at the revamped online portal. The site focuses specifically on helping communities adopt the Bank On model. Users can find information on the number and proportion of unbanked residents in their community, guidance for launching a Bank On program, and opportunities to network with other Bank On professionals.

  • Bank On Cities: Connecting Residents to the Financial Mainstream (2011)

    This toolkit provides municipal leaders with a step-by-step guide for launching "Bank On" initiatives that help working families avoid high-cost check cashing and other fringe financial services.

  • Publicly-Funded Jobs: An Essential Strategy for Reducing Poverty and Economic Stress Throughout the Business Cycle (2010)

    Originally presented at an Urban Institute conference on Reducing Poverty and Economic Distress after ARRA held in January 2010, this paper - coauthored by Clifford M. Johnson, executive director of the YEF Institute; Amy Rynell, director of the National Transitional Jobs Network; and Melissa Young, associate director of the National Transitional Jobs Project - makes the case for using public-service employment (PSE) and transitional jobs programs to combat economic recession and advance long-term workforce development goals. The paper was originally presented at an Urban Institute conference on Reducing Poverty and Economic Distress after ARRA held in January 2010.

  • Cities Pave the Way: Promising Reentry Policies that Promote Local Hiring of People with Criminal Records (2010)

    This report published by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and the YEF Institute highlights innovative local hiring policies that enable people with criminal records to find work, live within the law and give back to their communities. The guide highlights an emerging trend in which cities "ban the box" that asks about an individual's criminal record on city job applications.


    Developed by the Aspen Institute and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, this online resource is designed for municipal and nonprofit organization staff who provide residents with financial education, coaching and asset development services. offers a variety of relevant training, tools and products organized around six primary categories of resources: 1) budgeting; 2) savings; 3) credit score; 4) debt; 5) insurance; and 6) organizational resources.

  • The State of City Leadership for Children and Families: Innovations and Trends in Family Eonomic Success (2009)

    The YEF Institute's first-ever report on The State of City Leadership for Children and Families identifies the nation's most cutting-edge city strategies to help children and families thrive. A chapter on family economic success highlights a broad range of innovations and trends in municipal leadership.

  • Action Kit on Helping Families Achieve Financial Stability (2008)

    This action kit focuses on steps that city officials can take to help families avoid debt and predatory lending, save and build assets, and achieve long-term financial stability.

  • Combating Poverty: Emerging Strategies from the Nation's Cities (2008)

    This report highlights local poverty reduction strategies from 13 cities across the nation. The survey responses compiled in the report demonstrate how municipal leaders are well-positioned to lead citywide initiatives to reduce poverty.

  • Maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit in Your Community: A Toolkit for Municipal Leaders (2006)

    This toolkit was created to help municipal leaders ensure that eligible families have the information and assistance they need to claim the EITC.

  • Transitional Jobs: A Workforce Strategy for Cities (2006)

    This report highlights local efforts to develop transitional jobs programs, which provide time-limited, wage-paying jobs - typically in public and nonprofit agencies - combined with skill development activities and related support services to help hard-to-employ participants be hired in and retain unsubsidized jobs. This report describes lessons learned from NLC's 2002-04 Transitional Jobs technical assistance project, in which nine cities designed transitional jobs programs to help residents overcome significant barriers to work.

  • State and Local Support for Earned Income Tax Credit Outreach Campaigns (2006)

    This report describes how state and local governments have strategically funded EITC outreach campaigns to help low-income families become more financially secure and bring additional federal dollars into local communities.

  • Screening Tools to Help Families Access Public Benefits (2005)

    This report provides municipal officials with approaches and specific technology options for using screening tools to connect eligible residents to key state and federal benefits. Highlighted in the report are several local, state, and nationally franchised electronic screening tools used by city governments.

  • Strengthening Families in America's Cities: Family Economic Security (2003)

    Research findings published in this report are from NLC's Strengthening Families in America's Cities Survey of municipal officials, which examined issues affecting children and families in American cities and towns. Among the findings are that homeownership incentives and transportation improvements are the strategies cities are most likely to use to improve family economic security; city leaders consider a wide range of strategies to be effective; and most officials say job training and education are effective in helping low-income families.

  • Financing Transitional Jobs: A Strategic Guide to Federal Financing Sources (2003)

    This report, produced in partnership with the Finance Project, explores federal funding sources and financing options for transitional jobs programs that serve three targeted populations: ex-offenders, homeless individuals, and youth.

  • Leaving Young Workers Behind (2003)

    This study by the Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies provides an overview of the long-term deterioration in the labor market position of black teens and young adults.

  • Action Kit on Helping Working Families (2001)

    This action kit for municipal leaders focuses on outreach steps to assist low-income working families in accessing benefits such as the Child Health Insurance Program, food stamps, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.