Building Bridges to the Middle Class: The Role of Community-Based Organizations in Asian American Wealth Accumulation
Despite the increasing provision of social and financial services by community-based organizations (CBOs), few studies focus on the roles that Asian American-serving CBOs play in helping their economically and culturally diverse communities accumulate wealth. The authors explore this overlooked sector by interviewing key informants in 30 mostly Asian American asset-building organizations nationwide. Participating CBOs respond to the financial needs of their diverse communities primarily in three ways: (a) adapting programs for the underserved, (b) facilitating access to the mainstream, and (c) preserving existing assets. Unlike mainstream banks, they use a comprehensive asset-building framework premised on extensive technical assistance and culturally congruent programming. The interviewed organizations face a variety of challenges in implementing programs---namely, maintaining financial solvency and working with limited capacity---issues that they struggle to overcome through forming collaborations and partnerships, earned income strategies, obtaining certification, and cross-training.
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