BOSTON (WWLP) – A new program will be coming to western Massachusetts to help low to moderate-income families build assets for future generations.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg brought a member of the Task Force, Dr. Darrick Hamilton’s vision to life. On March 7, Massachusetts Baby Bonds Task Force was created. The Baby Bonds program is to close the racial wealth gap and guarantee a right to economic security.

These funds will grow until children reach adulthood. Funds will become accessible when they reach adulthood and spend them on assets that grow over time to generate more wealth. For instance, receiving higher education, buying a home, or starting a business.

22News spoke to newly appointed Baby Bonds Task Force Chair, Lisa Wong on how Baby Bonds are an investment in the Massachusetts economy. “A Baby Bonds program would support our local economy by giving people money to buy a home, start a business, and attend higher education institutions here in our state,” said Wong.

Recommendations to the Treasurer on filing legislation are to be offered by the Baby Bonds Task Force this November. Before it becomes an official initiative, the legislature is to first consider the proposal. “Should the legislation pass, the state would make an initial investment in a government-sponsored trust fund automatically when a Massachusetts child is born,” said Wong. “Recipients would be able to access these funds when they reach adulthood.”

The program will focus on wealth transfer to young people who have little to no generational wealth and may face barriers to acquiring wealth. “The Massachusetts Task Force is putting a lot of thought into making sure that we manage to capture those who are most in need,” added Wong. “These people are more likely to come from regions with a concentration of low-income families, including in western Massachusetts.”  

According to Urban Institute data that shows the median net worth of households in the city of Springfield is $27,540, compared to $256,887 in the surrounding suburbs. While some of the suburbs surrounding Boston are $1,365,547.

Wong’s central focus will be to concentrate their work not only on eligibility but also on how they manage to reach people and support them using community-level organizations and resources.

Active community participation has been formed within the program for those with previous or personal experience and knowledge. The future of Baby Bonds in Massachusetts is shaped by their input and feedback in the Task Force. “This is a dynamic program that will incorporate strong community participation and input in the policy and the eventual program,” expressed Wong. “This is still a work in progress, but we hope to achieve engagement as we continue to promote the initiative.”