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The Corporation for Enterprise Development is a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for low-income families and communities. CFED uses a “think-do-invest” approach grounded in community practice, public policy and private markets at the local, state and federal levels to create economic opportunity that alleviates poverty.

As a Plus Three client, CFED uses our technology to manage multiple websites to expand the national dialogue on poverty, conduct & disseminate research and policy analysis, and train field staff on policy and advocacy strategies. Sites include:

Read more about the context in which CFED works in Alexander Eichler's article in The Huffington Post below.

Working Poor: Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line

Alexander Eichler

The Huffington Post

Jan 31, 2012

What does it mean to be poor?

If it means living at or below the poverty line, then 15 percent of Americans -- some 46 million people -- qualify. But if it means living with a decent income and hardly any savings -- so that one piece of bad luck, one major financial blow, could land you in serious, lasting trouble -- then it's a much larger number. In fact, it's almost half the country.

"The resources that people have -- they are using up those resources," said Jennifer Brooks, director of state and local policy at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group. "They're living off their savings. They're at the end of their rope."

The group issued a report today examining so-called liquid asset poverty households -- the people who aren't living below the poverty line, but don't have enough money saved to weather a significant emergency.

According to the report, 43 percent of households in America -- some 127.5 million people -- are liquid-asset poor. If one of these households experiences a sudden loss of income, caused, for example, by a layoff or a medical emergency, it will fall below the poverty line within three months. People in these households simply don't have enough cash to make it for very long in a crisis.

The findings underscore the struggles of many Americans during what has often seemed like an economic recovery in name only. While the Great Recession officially ended more than two years ago, unemployment remains high and wages have barely budged for most workers. For more people, whether they draw a paycheck or not, a life free of deprivation and financial anxiety seems perpetually out of reach.

That's not to say that everyone who is liquid-asset poor spends all their time fretting. On the contrary, because many have regular paychecks coming in, they may not grasp the precariousness of their situation.

"They don't necessarily realize how close people can be to one interruption to income or one interruption to health benefits," said David Rothstein, the project director for asset building at the non-profit Policy Matters Ohio. "They're one paycheck away from being in debt."

Rothstein, who also serves on a steering committee at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, told The Huffington Post that payday lenders -- who loan money to desperate borrowers at high interest rates, drawing people into hard-to-escape cycles of debt -- are "a huge problem" in Ohio, as in many other states. People often turn to payday lenders to cover one-time, unexpected expenses, but can end up in a long and costly relationship.

"People say things like, it's just one mechanical problem with their car," said Rothstein. Before they know it, he said, "every other week, they're back at the payday lending shop."

The Corporation for Enterprise Development findings echo other recent studies showing that many Americans are ill-prepared for financial emergencies. Analysts said the reasons include flat wages, the high cost of medical treatment and the nationwide drop in housing values leaving homeowners with less wealth than they believed they had.

Andrea Levere, the president of Corporation for Enterprise Development, told HuffPost that greater financial literacy might have helped prevent the current situation.

People can "graduate high school and not know how to write a check," Levere said, adding that an increased emphasis on personal responsibility for budgeting and spending should be an important part of any step forward.

At the same time, Corporation for Enterprise Development officials were quick to argue that public policy needs to address the scope of the problem. Levere cited the example of asset limits in public benefit programs, which restrict services like food assistance and public health insurance to households with few or no assets -- a policy that critics say denies help to many people in need.

"In some cases," said Levere, "it means they can't even own a car that is in good enough shape to get them to work."

Brooks agreed. "A family that loses its job, that was maybe solidly middle class, in a state where they have restrictive asset tests, is going to have to liquidate all their assets, all their savings for the future" in order to qualify for benefits.

The report maintains that there are a number of measures that could alleviate liquid asset poverty, from strengthening consumer protections against payday lenders to making greater assistance available to first-time homebuyers. Levere said even minor policy adjustments could have "revolutionary implications."

"There's a lot of ways forward. It doesn't mean it's not tough," Levere said. "I'm a great believer in one step at a time."

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USHLI's Project SED Will Spark a New Generation of Voters

Rebecca Villaneda

Dec 14, 2011

The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) today launched Project SED (Students for an Educated Democracy), which aims to generate a new generation of voters.

Project SED already is offered to high school students, but in this new phase, students will learn civic education via social media.

Dr. Juan Andrade

Dr. Juan Andrade

"Now, students everywhere will be able to become involved in the democratic process through Project SED, which includes an instructional curriculum, a mock election and the option to register to vote," said USHLI President Juan Andrade Jr. "This is arguably the most challenging, exciting and innovative initiative I have been involved in, in my 40 years of promoting civic education and participation.

"While USHLI will continue registering voters in more traditional ways, we are mindful of the fact that with an estimated 50,000 Latinos turning 18 years of age every month we must learn to utilize technology to create ways to effectively reach, educate and empower more people in less time," Andrade continued. "To that end, in addition to an interactive curriculum that will make civic education fun and engaging, Project SED incorporates multi social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. We are putting electoral power into the hands of students -- literally -- through mechanisms such as smartphones, cell phones, PDA's and laptop computers."

Likening the project to a "virtual classroom," USHLI aims to reach 1.5 million students in 2012.

Through a partnering with the technology company Plus Three, Project SED is expected to launch in time for the 2012 Iowa Caucusus, scheduled for Jan. 3.

"Yes, we are ambitious," said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of Plus Three. "Dr. Andrade came to me with a 10-year plan that would benefit the future of the Latino community -- this rarely happens. I am enthusiastic about this project because it's selfless."

Project SED welcomes the participation of nonpartisan groups, the education community and students of all grades and ages, according to a news release.

"This is about community and civic engagement," Andrade said. "Organizations such as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers agree that we must continue to encourage our youth to become and stay active within their communities, and political engagement is one great way."

USHLI is a Chicago-based national nonprofit tax-exempt organization that was incorporated in 1982. Initially known as the Midwest Voter Registration Education Project, it changed its name in 1996. Its mission is to promote civic engagement, social integration, research, leadership development, redistricting and financial literacy.

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USHLI announces Project SED, a virtual civics classroom slated to reach 1.5 million students in 2012

Posted on 12/14/2011 @ 08:30 AM

Tags: Hispanic strategy

Project SED (Students for an Educated Democracy) uses latest in social media and on-line engagement technology to educate and engage new and future voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) introduced Project SED, a virtual classroom bringing civics education to the age of social media. The project is the boldest in USHLI’s 20-year history and aims to reach 1.5 million students in 2012 alone. The students will learn about federal and state elections, participate in mock elections, and interact with peers online and with mobile phones.

"We are very excited to launch Project SED. The annual USHLI conference will turn 30 this year—we have seen major technological advances throughout our tenure, and we have seen how successful students can be when we provide them with the necessary tools to stay active and engaged in their communities locally and nationally," said Dr. Juan Andrade, president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. "If we want to promote civic engagement and encourage young people to vote we must put the power in their hands—specifically, cell phones and other electronic devices. It's the way the world communicates and USHLI will remain at the forefront."

Dr. Juan Andrade

Dr. Juan Andrade

Project SED (Students for an Educated Democracy) first began as a civics education program in the Chicago area nearly 15 years ago. Today it expands to computers, mobile phones, and social networks spanning the country. After studying gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections, students will discuss issues and candidates, trade the latest political humor, and then vote in a mock election. Students turning 18 years old by election day will receive information on registering to vote.

“This ambitious project takes participating in our democracy out of the classroom and into the lives of today’s students: on Facebook or Twitter and by text or email,” said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of technology company Plus Three. “At Plus Three we are delighted to lend our technology expertise to this crucial project. Discussing political issues and casting a ballot are key tenants of American life. The next generation of voters is well served by integrating civics education where they live, learn, and interact—online.”

USHLI is a Chicago-based national non-profit tax-exempt organization whose mission is to promote civic engagement, social integration, research, leadership development, redistricting and financial literacy. USHLI was incorporated in 1982 in Illinois as the Midwest Voter Registration Education Project, and changed its name to the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in 1996.

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Plus Three’s Juan Proaño to speak tomorrow on civic engagement at 2011 LATISM Conference on social media

Posted on 11/10/2011 @ 11:00 AM

Tags: Hispanic strategy

Proaño to address the power of social media to drive political change in the United States and around the world

Juan Proaño

WASHINGTON, DC – Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of leading social media and technology company Plus Three, will be a featured speaker at the 2011 Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) Annual National Conference which is taking place November 9-11 at the Navy Pier in Chicago.

The LATISM conference brings together innovative Latinos who use social media across three tracks: public service, business and leadership, and personal influence and community. Mr. Proaño will participate in the public service track as part of a panel on “The Social Media Movement for Civic Engagement” at 2:00 pm on Friday, November 11.

Mr. Proaño formed Plus Three in 2002 to improve the way nonprofit organizations fundraise and build constituent groups, by deploying cutting-edge technology and his 17 years of political experience. Plus Three has worked with some of the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organizations including the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), the Friends of the American Latino Museum, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and on issue campaigns which include Sotomayor for Justice, Latinos United for Healthcare and the 2008 Latino Inaugural Gala.

Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of Plus Three

“The Social Media Movement for Civic Engagement” panel at the 2011 LATISM Conference

Friday, November 11 at 2:00 pm

The Navy Pier, Chicago, Ill.


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Plus Three Continues to Build National Support for American Latino Museum

Posted on 10/15/2011 @ 12:00 PM

Tags: Hispanic strategies, National Museum of the American Latino

The Hispanic-owned company proudly highlights its work promoting the stories and contributions of American Latinos as Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close

Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino The Latino List Insider Game LULAC

WASHINGTON, DC – Plus Three, a leader in social media and technology for nonprofit and political organizations, marks the conclusion of Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting their continuing partnership with and services for the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS).

FRIENDS seeks to create a museum in our nation’s capital dedicated to the history, culture, and contributions of Latino leaders, pioneers and communities to the American fabric. Plus Three began its work with the Congressionally mandated National Museum of the American Latino Commission, which presented its Congressional Report in May of this year, and within a few months built national support for the museum to 50,000 people. Now, under the banner of the FRIENDS, Plus Three has designed and helped launch and the organization is now on the verge of surpassing 200,000 supporters—already more than any of the existing Smithsonian museums.

“At Plus Three we are privileged to work with so many virtuous non-profit organizations and important political causes, and this Hispanic Heritage Month we are especially proud of our work with the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of Plus Three. “With our help, the effort to build a Latino museum in Washington, DC has found thousands of supporters across the country. The museum will one day inspire a new generation of Latino leaders, and we are delighted to take part in the effort to build it.”

Plus Three has also recently launched the website of the HBO special The Latino List, which tells the American Latino story through the eyes of some our nation’s most celebrated Latino icons, elected officials and celebrities. This month also saw the launch of a project for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) to raise awareness of its Insider Game documentary project on diversity in the highest echelons of corporate America. Finally, Plus Three is proud to continue its work to enhance the online presence and outreach of the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the nation, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). With over 700 chapters in the U.S., Plus Three is working to ensure that LULAC has the capabilities to promote its public policy priorities and mobilize its members.

These are just a few among a host of examples of Plus Three’s capabilities. To learn more, visit Plus Three’s website at, or contact Alice Lincoln at (866) 945-4889 ext. 707.

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