News Release - Mayor Evans Announces Launch of Pilot Children’s Savings Account Program

City of Rochester

News Release

(Thursday, July 27, 2023) – Mayor Malik D. Evans today announced that the City’s Office of Financial Empowerment received a $244,000 grant from ESL to design and pilot a city-wide Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. The program’s goal is to provide better economic opportunities to Rochester’s children and their families by offering earlier access to banking services.

The grant will enable the City will contract with Prosperity Now – the leading national institution in Children’s Savings Account design and implementation – to convene a local, cross-sector task force that will determine initial deposit amounts and financial incentives, help select a financial institution partner, and help develop a family engagement strategy. The grant funding will also support team training and development, and the City’s creation of a Financial Empowerment Initiatives Coordinator whose primary responsibility will be to manage the planning of the program.

“Helping children and families establish children’s savings accounts empowers kids and puts them on a path to success,” said Mayor Evans. “This savings program is about equity and will teach our young people the skills and benefits of saving and budgeting. I am thankful to ESL for the generous gift that will enable our Office of Financial Empowerment team to prepare our children and their families for economic mobility and a hope-filled future.”

“It is critical to start healthy financial habits at a young age if we are to prepare our children to be financially healthy when they grow up,” said Ajamu Kitwana, vice president/director, community impact, ESL Federal Credit Union. “ESL is committed to the financial wellness and well-being of all our community’s residents. We support the planning and implementation of this pilot program for Children’s Savings Accounts form the City of Rochester’s Office Financial Empowerment because the findings and learnings from the pilot can guide future decisions that could help set Rochester’s children up for financial success.”

The Children’s Savings Account pilot should launch in 12 months, with the city-wide effort rolling out within two years. The planning and implementation process will involve community engagement from residents, community organizations, and intergovernmental partners.

We believe every child should have the chance at a healthy financial future, not just the few who have been born into wealth. Children’s Savings Accounts are instrumental in helping families create the nest egg children need to set them up for success,” said Cherie Collins Sims, PhD, interim president & CEO of Prosperity Now. “That’s why we are proud to partner with the City of Rochester to design a successful CSA program that will help the next generation build assets and resources to support a more secure and prosperous future.”

Children’s Savings Account programs provide positive benefits for both children and their parents. Research shows that children with a savings account are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college with a degree, have positive connections to financial institutions, and improve social-emotional development, which leads to academic achievement. Programs help increase a parent’s expectations of their child and provide a sense of security that they have a savings designated for college or vocation.

“Kids need to learn the right way to go about handling money,” said Deshanah Barnes, whose son opened a checking and savings account last year as part of the City’s Summer of Opportunity Program. “It relieves the parent so that they don’t have to do everything themselves, especially being a single parent. I think it’s a good idea; it teaches them financial literacy at an early age.”  

The Office of Financial Empowerment focuses on supporting Rochester residents and families gain financial security and achieve economic mobility. To learn more, visit   


The Administration of Mayor Malik D. Evans strives to create a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester by inspiring hope and delivering opportunity for everyone. Guided by the Administration’s Mission, Vision and Values and the principles of the “Rochester 2034” comprehensive plan, City employees are committed to providing exceptional customer service, transparent stewardship, and collaborative leadership to foster a vibrant community that empowers personal, professional and generational growth for all who live, work or play in the city of Rochester.