Learning how to manage and save money is an important developmental milestone for adolescents. Most young people learn these skills in a permanent family. Opportunity Passport™-- one component of the comprehensive Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative – is designed specifically to help youth transitioning out of foster care develop these skills and move them toward becoming financially stable young adults.
As the Jim Casey Initiative grantee in Iowa, the Youth Policy Institute of Iowa (YPII) manages the Opportunity Passport™ program in the Des Moines, Dubuque, Ottumwa and Waterloo areas. In a related effort, YPII is expanding the Opportunity Passport™ matched savings program through three additional Aftercare agencies – Young House in Burlington, Foundation 2 in Cedar Rapids, and YSS-Marshall in Marshalltown. These expansion efforts have been possible through a new funding stream from the Jim Casey Initiative as well. Opportunity Passport™ provides financial literacy training, connects eligible youth to mainstream banking, and matches participants savings $1 for $1 up to $1,000 per year when they purchase an approved asset that will help them transition successfully to adulthood. Eligibility criteria and other details about the program can be found in this Fact Sheet.
Since launching Opportunity Passport™ in Des Moines in 2004, YPII has enrolled nearly 500 young people in the program with the help of numerous partnering organizations. Key local financial support is provided by United Way of Central Iowa and the Principal Financial Group Foundation. Greater Iowa Credit Union is our financial partner.
Amanda, age 25, has been an Opportunity Passport™ participant for eight years. While participating in the program she surpassed the lifetime match of $5,000 and has learned the value of saving for the future and building assets. Amanda has this to say about her experience.