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Financial Literacy

Money is a commodity we deal with every day and is essential for everyone. It brings context as a measurement of value to the goods, services, and resources that we have, need, and give. And yet, money is often discussed in hushed tones, if it is discussed at all. Limited discussion and opportunities to learn about money may result in a lack of basic financial knowledge and management skills, known as financial literacy. Financial literacy is key to understanding both our tangible and intangible assets so we can best manage our finances and ourselves.

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series

Health Care

From ancient times it has been understood that “Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings.”
(Publilius Syrus)

Good health is a building block of a good life and the American Dream. Advanced medicine is modern-day blessings courtesy of economic development and American medicine is by some measures the best in the world, but costs have been rising for decades, creating problems of access and affordability, and suppressing wage growth. Reforms meant to address these concerns have had unsatisfactory results. Is there a better way?

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The 2022 Series


From the Great Depression to the housing market crash of 2008, or the plight of homelessness to the shortage of affordable housing, housing has been a pressing policy issue in the U.S., and new trends are emerging in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Is owning a home still a crucial part of the American dream? What about housing for those for whom it has been a constant struggle? What roles do society and government play to meet the universal need for a safe place to call home?

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The Community Series

Impact Investing

Capital enables companies to expand, innovate, and take risks, which gives them the unique ability to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Investors looking to generate a financial profit while also contributing to socially-conscious companies and entrepreneurs have turned in recent years to impact investing. How exactly does impact investing work? What challenges exist in this sector? How do these investments perform, both in terms of social impact and financial returns?

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series

Safety Net Programs

Government assistance programs, sometimes referred to as social safety net programs, are various programs meant “to protect low-income Americans from poverty and hardship,” with the goal of getting Americans back on their feet, or to protect those without “sound body and mind” with a minimum standard of living. How are these programs structured and funded? How is success measured? What are the long-term financial outlooks?

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series

Strategic Giving and Civic Engagement

How we give of our time, talent, and treasures is often how we are known and remembered. This brief will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on how you currently give, better define your values and goals, and boost your understanding of the opportunities and challenges in philanthropy. It also highlights the role strategic giving can play in civic engagement and the renewal of civic life in America.

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The Active Citizenship Series


To fund the services it provides, the United States government derives revenue from individuals and businesses by taxing income, purchases, and property, in addition to a variety of taxes paid on specific goods or on various activities. However, some think the current tax code undermines fairness, economic growth, and transparency. Do the recent changes to the tax code go far enough to better serve these goals? What else should be done?

State Specific Information: Illinois Wisconsin
Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The Business Series

The Affordable Care Act

This deep dive focuses on the Affordable Care Act, its impact on healthcare, and what's next. It can be used along with our Healthcare Reform Brief or as stand-alone reading material.

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The 2022 Series

The Federal Debt

High federal deficits and debts emerged in the United States during the Great Depression and World War II. Since the Great Recession, though, a more troubling phenomenon has emerged: persistent deficits even when the country is at peace and is enjoying economic growth, leading to a constantly expanding national debt. Why are these annual deficits occurring year after year? What are the key contributing factors? If there is a way for our nation to reign in this out-of-control spending, what should be done and who will it affect?

State Specific Information: Illinois
Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The Foundational Series