Sarah Dieleman Perry Speaks at National Association of State Treasurers Conference

May 23, 2024

PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity with Neighborhood Allies staff members, Toni Corinealdi and Sarah Dieleman Perry at the conference.

In a compelling speech at the National Association of State Treasurers Conference, Sarah Dieleman Perry, our Vice President of Economic Mobility, illuminated the stark wealth disparities affecting marginalized communities and how Neighborhood Allies and our partners are working to combat the growing wealth gap experienced by people of color across Pittsburgh. She highlighted systemic barriers preventing people of color and those with disabilities from accessing wealth-building avenues like inheritance, education, homeownership, and business ownership. She underscored the necessity of addressing these challenges and acknowledged the audience’s efforts in promoting economic equity within their states.

In 2022, the National Association of State Treasurers created the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Plans Network to coordinate efforts to promote increased awareness and use of ABLE accounts, as well as to advocate for improvements to the use and administration of ABLE plans. Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity leads ASPN to build strategic partnerships with Congress, federal agencies, and the disability community to promote the use of ABLE accounts, and she invited Sarah to speak to this esteemed network. The ABLE Act, passed in 2014, allows individuals with disabilities and their families to save and invest money without losing eligibility for public benefits. These accounts are designed to cover expenses such as education, housing, transportation, and healthcare, thereby empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater financial independence and security.

Sarah’s address, delivered to employees of state treasurers’ offices, banks, investment managers, state vendors, program administrators, detailed Neighborhood Allies’ initiatives to foster economic opportunity, including the Financial Empowerment Center, Bank On Coalition, youth financial capability programs, and investment programs for Black women. She spotlighted the Fund My Future PGH program, which incentivizes saving for children’s education through monthly raffles.

Sarah shared practical examples of partnerships and outreach efforts, such as collaborations with banks and credit unions to facilitate account openings and organizing field trips to financial institutions for elementary students. She also discussed efforts to bridge awareness gaps, especially regarding resources for people of color with disabilities, like ABLE accounts.

She concluded with a call to action for collaboration with local organizations to advance equity and reduce poverty, emphasizing creativity and leveraging community resources. Ms. Dieleman Perry expressed Neighborhood Allies’ commitment to promoting a culture of saving for children and invited further exploration of their initiatives.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA