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D2D Fund is an Allston, MA non-profit that is using innovative ideas to "increase the financial security and opportunity of low- and moderate-income households."

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Our federal, state, and local governments do a lot of things that are bad for their constituents, but one of the worst has to be state-run lotteries. They are great at generating income for things like schools, but they are a massive regressive tax that disproportionately harms lower-income individuals. It’s almost as if people see lotteries as a savings account instead of a long shot bet. For a long time I’ve had an idea that state lotteries should be transitioned into an investment vehicle. Imagine how much better off people would be if a one dollar scratch off ticket contributed 50 cents to savings account, 40 cents to prizes, and 10 cents to education or something similar. You could even engineer it so that people win “prizes” out of their own savings accounts. To my surprise I recently learned about a non-profit that is working on similar ideas. It’s called Doorways to Dreams Fund, and they’re based in Allston, MA. They work “with the financial services industry, government agencies, national non-profit groups, grassroots community agencies, and public policy organizations to generate promising ideas, pilot test financial products and services, build awareness of the needs and potential of low-income communities, and advocate inclusive social and economic policies.”

Doorway to Your Dreams

It’s kind of crazy to think that our country is in debt, our states are in debt, our cities are in debt, and our people are largely in debt. The best way to solve this problem is to start with the people, and that’s what D2D Fund does. They have a “a four-stage innovation process” that is focused on increasing “the financial security and opportunity of low- and moderate-income households”:

  1. Ideate: Seek out and observe new consumer finance trends.
  2. Innovate: Create new consumer financial products, services, and public policies.
  3. Incubate: Pilot test and evaluate the most promising ideas.
  4. Stimulate: Provoke private and public financial system participants to scale tested concepts.

You can see how they put this process into action by reading through some of their publications and their projects. My favorite project is probably Prize-Linked Savings, but I like Tax Time Savings too. D2D Fund is one of the most exciting non-profits that I’ve read about in a long time. Their current job postings aren’t entry level, but it’s still worth taking a look at their Innovation Strategist position. They also invite people to contact them directly about internship and volunteer opportunities.

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