Through a series of events that the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis and its international partners organized at campuses in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and elsewhere over a decade, leaders in China’s professional social work organizations came to recognize the potential for training in financial matters and to explore what would be required.

Researchers and several of China’s top social workers proposed an opportunity to discuss how to build the profession’s capacity to deliver training in financial social work at the First National Forum of the Financial Social Work Commission, held January 8, 2022, in Beijing. The CSD team collaborated with Chinese colleagues to organize the event, which featured over 30 presentations, with a keynote address by CSD Founding Director Michael Sherraden.

The overall goal of these efforts, is to use both the relationships of financial social workers and fintech innovations to strengthen families, promote economic equality and achieve common prosperity.

Sherraden is the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor at Washington University

Sherraden added in his address (video), “This workforce is already among the people with trusted relationships in communities. The strategy makes the most of that trust.”

CSD co-organized the conference along with the China Association for Social Work Education, Central University of Finance and Economics, and Shanghai Business School. McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner Peking University participated in this conference.

Gaining major traction in the recent year, CSD’s work in China in Financial Capability and Asset Building (FCAB) builds from the longstanding FCAB partnership in Singapore, a deeply engaged collaboration with the National University of Singapore via the Next Age Institute.