“Rosazlia Grillier, co-president emeritus of family advocacy and resource center Community Organizing and Family Issues and a parent herself, said during her organization’s advocacy work for children’s savings funds, the group realized there were many barriers to starting college savings accounts.
‘529s have always existed, but they weren’t accessible to communities of color or people in financially challenged communities, and we had no knowledge of how to navigate them or even what they were,’ Grillier said. ‘So we started to try to make it accessible to folks.’
The legislation upholding this program includes a section that will allow the Treasurer’s Office to track who takes advantage of the program to see what equity barriers may still be in place, according to Grillier.
After years of advocacy work, Grillier said it was bittersweet to see the legislation pass because of the original about $8 million requested, the group received $2.5 million. But, she said this is an important step to take to ensure saving for college is attainable for everyone.
‘This is really a statement that empowers our children,’ Grillier said, ‘$50 is not going to pay for a college education, but it can say to you, ‘I believe in you, let me help you get started.’’”
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