Opening Message from Treasurer Garrity:
Hello partners! It`s been a busy few months here at Treasury, and we`re excited to share our updates with you in this edition of Keystone Corner — including details about our new marketing campaign for Keystone Scholars and PA 529, and links to new, fresh materials to help you promote these tremendous programs in your communities.
Our PA 529 College and Career Savings Program just announced its best year ever, adding more than 25,000 accounts during the 2020-2021 fiscal year — more than ever before — and families made record contributions too — saving more than $732 million!
Also, as families receive Child Tax Credit payments in the coming months, it`s the perfect opportunity for those who are able to increase their savings, or get a start on saving for their child`s future.
I appreciate the work you do to help people learn about Treasury`s programs, and I look forward to continuing to work with you so every child in Pennsylvania can have the bright future they deserve!
Lifting Children from Poverty
Just a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania families started to receive monthly Child Tax Credit advancement payments as part of the American Rescue Plan. With these first payments, Pennsylvanians received a total of $554.8 million, with payments averaging $423 benefitting more than 2.2 million children.
Child Tax Credits offer $250 monthly payments for children 6-17, and $300 in monthly payments for children 0-5. Families who have filed taxes and claimed the Child Tax Credit don`t need to take any action to receive these payments. For more information visit: Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021 | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov).
Have You Seen or Heard Us Lately?
You may have already spotted our new “Early Start. Rewarding Finish.” campaign! Perhaps you`ve seen a commercial on TV, heard us on your favorite radio station, spotted a new billboard, or even did a double-take while hopping on a train or passing a bus.
We launched the new multimedia marketing campaign for Keystone Scholars and the PA 529 College and Career Saving Program in late May. If you haven`t seen it yet, you can check it out here!
You Can Expand the Value of Keystone Scholars for Children in Your Community
Treasury and Adagio Health have partnered to leverage Keystone Scholars accounts to incent participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program through the child`s first five years. Adagio Health is the WIC provider in Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, and Lawrence counties.
Adagio`s WIC-Keystone Scholars Milestone Program provides additional deposits into the Keystone Scholars accounts of eligible children whom Adagio serves. Each year the child remains enrolled in WIC, they receive additional Keystone Scholars deposits. Funding for the deposits is made possible by a grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. Treasury and Adagio are working together closely to raise awareness among eligible mothers and to ensure they are able to access their accounts online.
This program is an excellent example of a partnership that equals more than the sum of its parts; it aims to strengthen the early childhood development of financially vulnerable families by promoting the array of financial, social, and financial, social, and emotional benefits that Child Development Accounts (CDAs) provide while encouraging retention in a critical public health program.
If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can create a similar program for children in your community, please reach out to Anne DeCecco, Treasury`s Director of Program Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping Families and Your Staff in the Loop is Easy
If you`re short on time, check out our new social media toolkit. It includes everything you need to easily promote Keystone Scholars and PA 529s. Please link to pa529.com/keystone and use #KeystoneScholars and #PA529 in your social media posts to stay connected with Treasury.
Also, visit our library of free webinars and our resource center where you will find the most up-to-date materials, including grab-and-go content to help spread the word about both programs. We recently added Spanish versions of videos and print materials.
Treasury Releases Survey Results on Keystone Scholars Families
Treasury conducted a baseline survey of Keystone Scholars families, designed and administered by Dr. Robert Nathenson, Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research. The year-long survey launched just as parents of the first Keystone Scholars babies eligible for the statewide program began to receive letters from Treasury notifying them of their child`s $100 savings account.
Among findings: Ninety-eight percent of parents expected their newborn to pursue at least a bachelor`s degree. A greater share of African Americans, Latinx, and Asians expressed confidence that their child would pursue a bachelor`s degree than white parents.
Here are links to the final report and a summary brief.
PA Children Rank in the Middle
In the almost three years since Keystone Scholars launched, Treasury continues to strive, along with its partners, to understand others` efforts to improve access to education in the Commonwealth. In case you haven`t seen it, a new report shows Pennsylvania ranks 19th in the nation for overall child well-being, according to the recently released KIDS COUNT, an annual 50-state report produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an influential national child welfare nonprofit.
Here`s a link to the report: https://assets.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2021kidscountdatabook-2021.pdf
Special Thanks to our Partners for their Support:
We appreciate all those who collaborate with Treasury on sharing information on our savings programs. In this issue of the Keystone Corner, we want to give an extra big THANK YOU to the following partners for their SUPPORT in helping Treasury work to assure every child has a bright future:
PA District Kiwanis International
Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers
Pennsylvania Head Start Association
Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
PA Office of Medical Assistance Programs
Early Learning Resource Centers