Baby Bonds Task Force takes shape in effort to narrow the racial wealth gap

June 20, 2022 — State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg recently announced a group of experts, leaders, and community members, including many nonprofit leaders, to spearhead a Baby Bonds Task Force. The Task Force is charged with providing the Treasurer, the Office of Economic Empowerment, and the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund with recommendations on creating a Baby Bonds initiative in Massachusetts.

The Task Force will meet monthly and will provide its final recommendations by November, ahead of the legislative filing deadline.

Baby Bonds is an initiative that provides government-supported trust funds for children. When account holders reach adulthood, they can access their funds and spend it on assets that can grow over time or generate wealth (e.g., higher education, buying a home, starting a business, etc.). Studies show Baby Bonds can help close the racial wealth gap.

The Task Force’s diverse cross-sectoral group is filled with people who have expertise and lived experience in racial wealth equity, community engagement, child welfare, and asset-growth initiatives. The members’ personal experiences and professional backgrounds will help the Task Force design a Baby Bonds program that is feasible, impactful, lasting, and tailored specifically to Massachusetts. The Task Force will be chaired by former Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien.

“Baby Bonds has the potential to narrow the racial wealth gap and provide our youngest generation with a foundation for success in adulthood,” said Treasurer Goldberg.

Several policy proposals on Baby Bonds have been introduced on the federal level, including Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s American Opportunity Accounts Act, which would establish federally funded savings accounts for all children in the United States. Multiple cities and states are exploring or have launched these wealth-generating programs as well, including Washington, D.C. and Connecticut.

Task Force members include:

Allie Puleo, Program Administrator, Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Ancel Tejada, Program Manager, Financial Empowerment, Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP)

Andrea Lee-Salley, CEO, Br8zen LLC

The Honorable Andres Vargas, State Representative, 3rd Essex District

Bahar Akman Imboden, PhD, Managing Director, Hildreth Institute

Brendan McGough, Associate General Counsel, State Board of Retirement, Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General

Brian Harrison, Project Manager, Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Celia Johnston Blue, CEO and President, Mass Women of Color Coalition

Chris Shannon, Lead Consultant, rAsa consulting

Claudia Catalano, Project Director, Pregnancy, Infancy, and Early Childhood Division, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Darien Johnson, Policy and Advocacy Lead, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA)

Darrick Hamilton, PhD, Founding Director, Institute for the Study of Race, Power, and Political Economy at the New School

Dashima Washington, Senior Program Coordinator, Department of Elder Affairs, City of Springfield, MA

Denise Courtney, Nutrition Education and School Wellness Training Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Drew Smith, Treasurer, University of Michigan

Elizabeth Morrocco, Associate General Counsel, Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General

Elizabeth Pierce, Family Resource Liaison, Kid's Net, MSPCC, A Division of Eliot

Elle Tibbitts, Innovation and Policy Manager, Commonwealth

Emilio Dorcely, CEO, Urban Edge

Evander White-Laing, Research Analyst, Portfolio Management Administrator, Risk Paradigm Group

Gail Fortes, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern MA

Gail Sokoloff, Vice President, United Way Mass Bay

George Kokoros, Sales Leader at Ellume Health, Adjunct Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship, Suffolk University, Fisher College, Outschool

Gisenia Stewart, DEI Coordinator, ServiceNet

Gosia Tomaszewska, Director, Innovation Lab, Commonwealth

Jack Moriarty, Founder and Executive Director, Ownership America

Janet Iraola, Community Field Coordinator, Family Liaison, Boston Public Schools

Jaquelina Dabo, Project Director, Cambridge RISE, Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee

Jason Ewas, Policy Manager, Aspen FSP

Jennifer Hill, Massachusetts State Team Capitan, COVID Survivors for Change

Jennifer L. Kernan, Esq., Assistant General Counsel, Massachusetts Department of Children & Families

Joe Diamond, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP)

John Gijanto, Financial Specialist, Empath

Julie Beckham, Financial Education Development & Strategy, Rockland Trust Bank

Karin Barrett, State Registrar, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Karin Downs, Director, Pregnancy, Infancy, and Early Childhood Division, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Karley Ausiello, Senior Vice President, Community Impact, United Way Mass Bay

Katherine Von Haefen, Director, Community Impact, Berkshire United Way

Keenen Grooms, Senior Community Development Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Kimberly Zimmerman Rand, Principal, Dragonfly Financial Solutions LLC

Kristen Florek, Director, Payer Strategic Marketing, Pfizer

Kyra Grenier, COO, Family Health Project

Leimary Llopiz, Advocacy Assistant, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

Liz Keating, Finance Manager, Campus Child Care, Inc.

Maria Vu, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Martha Amaral

Mary Kay Browne

Matt Paradise, CEO, Matt Paradise Consulting LLC

Michelle Wright, Project Engineer, Wt Rich

Molly Goodman, Executive Director, The Midas Collaborative

Nairoby Sanchez, Director of Programs, Mass CultivatED

Ofronama Biu, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute

Patricia Jackson, Housing Development Manager, Brockton Redevelopment Authority

Patricia Groves, Attorney, GGR

Patrick Roath, Chair, Advisory Board, Common Cause Massachusetts

The Honorable Paul Feeney, State Senator, Bristol and Norfolk District

Peter Tufano, Professor and former Dean, Said Business School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, Oxford University

R. Kelly Cameron, EdD, Career Development Officer | Lecturer, School of Architecture + Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Robert Dais, Statewide Director, Gear Up MA

Robert Miller, Student Loan Advocate and Financial Literacy Advisor, Esperanza Academy, Budget Buddies, BEU

Sarah Thang, Project Manager, The Policy Lab at Brown University

Sarita Rogers, Deputy Director of Programs, MA Children’s Trust

Shadman Rahman, Student, Harvard Kennedy School

Sharon Pagnano, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics,, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Sherry Riva, Founder and Strategic Advisor, Compass Working Capital

Shira Markoff, Policy Fellow, Prosperity Now

Tim Garvin, Executive Director, United Way Central MA

Tom Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, Brandeis University

Yasmin Padamsee Forbes, Commissioner, Cambridge Human Rights Commission,Executive Director, Asian American and Pacific Islanders Commission