Release, November 2016:
Download full report and executive summary:
Family Savings for Post-Secondary Education:
A Summary of Research on the Importance and Impact of
Post-Secondary Education Savings Incentive Programs
Press Release, January 2015:
Download press release: Press Release
Research Release, March 2013:
U.S. Microfinance at the Crossroads
Scale and Sustainability: Can Lessons from International Experience Help Guide the U.S. Sector?
Ira Lieberman, Jenifer Mudd, and Phil Goodeve
SmartSAVER is an initiative of The Omega Foundation that seeks to strengthen lower-income Canadian families' ability to save for their children's post-secondary education using Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB).
Building on a successful three-year Toronto-based pilot project, SmartSAVER has launched a national initiative to increase the level of awareness and participation among lower-income families in the federal government's RESP program and the Canada Learning Bond. SmartSAVER includes the use of well-tested education tools, collaborative marketing through private, public and community partners and a new quick-start CLB online application, delivered in partnership with some of Canada's major banks and credit unions.
Funding partners include the Haynes Connell Foundation, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the Lucie et André Chagnon Foundation and the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation. Financial institution partners include BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Meridian Credit Union, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group and Vancity.
Prior to 2005, Omega was actively involved with Calmeadow providing financial support to Calmeadow from 1993 to 2004. Calmeadow is a registered Canadian NGO that for 27 years has supported innovative ideas in microfinance; ideas that promote greater levels of efficiency and outreach through the commercial provision of financial services to low-income borrowers and microentrepreneurs. From modest beginnings as a charity founded by Linda Haynes and Martin Connell in 1993, Calmeadow's work has produced far-reaching impact on the global microfinance industry with the organization investing, advocating and participating in several landmark microfinance events over the years. Given the tremendous growth of the microfinance industry in terms of practitioners, funders, and industry organizations, the role of Calmeadow has changed. However, Calmeadow continues to focus on the bottlenecks and frontiers of this rapidly changing sector with the goal of promoting appropriate and efficient financial services for low-income individuals and their businesses provided by commercial financial institutions.
Calmeadow remains a Canadian Charity and operates from San Jose, Costa Rica.
The Toronto Community Foundation
Omega supports the development of social and community financial capital, which in turn addresses the financial needs of community challenges through philanthropic means. Through a long-term grant relationship with the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF), Omega funds have helped TCF build a growth strategy that has led to a more than doubling of assets over the past ten years while creating a strong leadership role in the philanthropic sector of Toronto.
The role of the Toronto Community Foundation is to connect philanthropy with community needs and opportunities in order to make Toronto the best place to live, work, learn, and grow.
It is one of the largest of Canada's 165 community foundations. Established in 1981, it has grown to hold over $210 million in assets and works with hundreds of concerned Torontonians and high-impact community organizations.
TCF is a registered, public, non-profit charity created for and by the people of Toronto.