Meet our members! AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing economic opportunity and prosperity. Check back each month and meet your peers!
1: What’s your main interest/focus on asset building in 2020?
My primary focus for this year is to continue addressing harmful debt burdens that threaten the financial security of households. Casey’s Southern Partnership to Reduce Debt is a multi state initiative that aims to relieve the debt burdens of families in the South — especially families of color — and enable them to begin building and maintaining wealth. We primarily focus on student loan debt, medical debt, predatory high-cost loans, and traffic court debt/fines and fees. The Asset Funders Network has been a critical partner in this work.
2: What’s the most “ah-ha” provoking new book or research that you’ve read in the past year?
Dear Martin by Nic Stone is a provoking young adult novel I recently read that provides raw, unapologetic insights on how an African American teenage boy experiences and navigates racial equity, racial profiling, racial identity, privilege, and police brutality, while also reflecting on the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
3: What advice would you give to a colleague starting out in the asset building field?
I would encourage colleagues to intentionally explore and understand the ways asset building connects with various systems and fields. The asset building field does not operate as a detached silo from other macro and micro level factors that impact the financial well-being of families and communities; rather, it connects with broader cross-sector efforts, including the racial/ethnic wealth gap and the connection between wealth and health, among others.
4: What is your favorite vacation spot or most memorable leisure trip?
One of my most memorable leisure trips was the first time I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica a few years ago with my closest friends.
About Velvet Bryant, Program Associate, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private philanthropy that creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. Velvet is part of the Foundation’s Center for Economic Opportunity, where she helps advance policies, programs, and practices to improve financial well-being and financial stability for youth, young adults, and families. Their strategies, in part, aim to promote savings, reduce debt, and increase access and uptake of safe credit building. They focus primarily on low- to moderate-income and low-wealth households.