Councilmembers Will Jawando and Gabe Albornoz Introduce Bill to Support Generational Wealth-Building and Economic Investment

The Offices of Councilmembers Will Jawando and Gabe Albornoz issued the following news release on Tuesday, March 19:

Today, Montgomery County Councilmembers Will Jawando, chair of the Education and Culture Committee, and Gabe Albornoz, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, introduced Bill 5-24, the Child Investment Fund (CIF), to support generational wealth-building and economic investment in Montgomery County.

The Child Investment Fund supports young people in their efforts to build their future in Montgomery County. Funds are appropriated annually based on estimated birth rates. The investments grow and accrue interest over time. Eligible applicants apply for funds to support local opportunities related to education, business, homeownership and retirement. This approach is grounded in research as well as best practices from similar existing and proposed policies across the U.S.

The CIF would be administered through the Department of Finance. The bill establishes the Child Investment Fund Advisory Committee (CIFAC) to advise the Council and County Executive on the funding and disbursement criteria for eligible applicants.

Children born to parents living in Montgomery County on or after Jan. 1, 2024, would be eligible. When an eligible child reaches age 18, they may apply for a fund disbursement. Applicants must be County residents at the time of application. Payments will be made progressively based on wealth and income at the time of application.

“I am thrilled we are introducing the Child Investment Fund as part of our commitment to build a more just, caring and equitable future for all Montgomery County residents,” said Councilmember Jawando. “The CIF would be the first of its kind in the state and make Montgomery County the first local jurisdiction in the nation to create a fund aimed at addressing systemic barriers to wealth-building, particularly for communities of color. The CIF will help us grow our own future entrepreneurs, homeowners and business leaders, while reducing the racial wealth gap and systemic barriers to generational wealth-building. The CIF is an investment in the future of our County, a transformative investment in our community and will help us remain a leader in the region.”

“The Child Investment Fund is a bold step to support our children and families across Montgomery County,” said Councilmember Albornoz. “The CIF will allow all eligible children born in Montgomery County to take advantage of this investment, with tiered disbursement levels based on their income and financial status at the time of distribution. This builds a foundation for economic opportunity and closing the racial wealth gap, while also providing incentives for families to move to and raise their children in Montgomery County. Like the Guaranteed Income pilot that Councilmember Jawando and I introduced two years ago, and the recent J.O.B.S. Initiative introduced by Council President Andrew Friedson, the Child Investment Fund provides opportunities for all Montgomery County residents to grow and thrive. We look forward to the work ahead.”

The Child Investment Fund has wide support among leading advocates.

“The CASH Campaign of Maryland advocates for policies at all levels of government to protect and grow financial security for our state’s low-to-moderate income residents. The Child Investment Fund in Montgomery County will accomplish just that and serve as a model to the rest of the state and the nation,” said Tonaeya Moore, Director of Policy for CASH Campaign of Maryland. “The Child Investment Fund will help ensure economic security and narrow the racial wealth divide in Montgomery County.”

“Wealth inequality perpetuates disadvantages across generations. The Child Investment Fund represents a structural change to Montgomery County that will interrupt the current cycle to create a more just and moral economy,” said Dr. Darrick Hamilton, a champion for similar legislation and the Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy and founding director of the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School.

“The Child Investment Fund in Montgomery County is a stepping-stone to long-term wealth building,” said Lauren Bealore, Associate Director of State & Local Policy at Prosperity Now. “This can provide a nest egg to the most vulnerable children to acquire a wealth-generating asset in young adulthood, while ultimately leading the charge in momentum of financial stability policy solutions in Maryland. Since wealth is primarily passed down intergenerationally, without interruption to the current system, wealth inequities will perpetuate the historical influence that has impeded financial stability for families in low- and moderate-income communities for years, especially that of Black and Brown families that have been disproportionately impacted by past policies and practices.”

Following the bill’s introduction today, a public hearing will be scheduled this summer following the budget season.

View the full text of the bill.

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