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Grinstein-Weiss awarded new grant to study tax-time savings program

Associate Professor Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Ph.D. was recently awarded $350,000 in new funding from the Ford Foundation to continue research on the potential impact of short-term savings on financial stability through an innovative program that helps low-income working families in New York City build savings at tax time.

$aveNYC, a program of the NYC Department of Community Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment, encourages low-income tax filers to commit a portion of their refund to a 12-month restricted savings account. Savers are encouraged to keep their money in the account with the promise of earning a 50% match if they continue saving for one year.

Grinstein-Weiss, a faculty fellow at UNC’s Center for Community Capital (CCC), and Janneke Ratcliffe, associate director of CCC are the principal investigators.  Clinton Key, research associate in the School of Social Work, is an investigator on the grant and is leading the analysis.

Grinstein-Weiss and her team are using the new funding to assist with the design of participant surveys and collection of data in order to analyze the effect of participation in the $aveNYC program on participants’ take up rates, saving performance and a variety of social outcomes.