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Mathieu R. Despard

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Mat Despard, MSW, PhD, is an assistant professor with a research focus on the financial security of lower-income families and on the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations serving these families.

Currently, Despard is conducting research on the outcomes of a large scale tax-time savings experiment and on the promise of employer-based financial wellness programs in partnership with colleagues at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. He also is working on research concerning summer youth employment, the relationship between access to and use of financial services and household financial outcomes, and the capacity and financial health of nonprofit and non-governmental organizations. At the U-M School of Social Work, Despard is a member of the Learning Community on Poverty and Inequality and the Leadership in Community Benefit Organizations program.

Prior to joining U-M SSW, Despard was clinical associate professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, where he taught management, community practice, and social policy courses, coordinated the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate program, and served as adjunct instructor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Before joining UNC, Mat worked for 12 years post-MSW in nonprofit organizations and applied research settings focusing on asset development, early childhood development, HIV care, and access to health care among low-income persons and communities.

Research Interests/Focus

Financial capability and security of lower-income households, emergency savings, Earned Income Tax Credit, evidence-informed practice in nonprofits, and nonprofit capacity-building and financial sustainability.

Education

Year Degree   School
2015 PhD Social Work University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
1994 MSW Social Work University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
1990 BS Psychology & Sociology Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg

Despard, M., Ansong, D., Nafziger-Mayegun, R. N., & Adjabeng, B. (in press). Predictors of capacity-building needs among non-governmental organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Community Practice.

Despard, M., & Friedline, T. (2017). Do metropolitan areas have equal access to banking? A geographic investigation of financial services availability. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center on Assets, Education, & Inclusion (AEDI).

Despard, M., Friedline, T., & Refior, K. (2017). Can post offices increase access to financial services? A geographic investigation of financial services availability. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center on Assets, Education, & Inclusion (AEDI).

Friedline, T., Despard, M., & West, S. (2017). Navigating day-to-day finances: A geographic investigation of brick-and-mortar financial services and households’ financial health. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center on Assets, Education, & Inclusion (AEDI).

Friedline, T., Despard, M., & West, S. (2017). Resilient in the midst of financial change: A geographic investigation of brick-and-mortar financial services and households’ financial health. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center on Assets, Education, & Inclusion (AEDI).

Friedline, T., Despard, M., & West, S. (2017). Investing in the future: A geographic investigation of brick-and-mortar financial services and households’ financial health. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Center on Assets, Education, & Inclusion (AEDI).

Wu, S., Despard, M., & Chowa, G. A. N. (2017). Do parents or physical proximity to a financial institution influence youth’s understanding and perceptions of financial services? A study from Ghana YouthSave. Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Despard, M., Nafziger-Mayegun, R. N., & Adjabeng, B. (2017). Revenue diversification and the financial challenges and strengths of non-governmental organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.

Despard, M. (2017). Can capacity be measured? Results from a survey of nonprofit human service organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 46, 607-626.

Despard, M. (2016). Strengthening evaluation in nonprofit human service organizations: Results of a capacity-building experiment. Human Services Organizations Management, Leadership & Governance.

Despard, M. (2016). Challenges in implementing evidence-based practices and programs in nonprofit human service organizations. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work.

Cuddeback, G., Blank Wilson, A., Despard, M., Tomar, N., & Chowa, G. (2016). Financial insecurity and risk experiences of justice involved persons with severe mental illnesses. Social Work in Mental Health.

Despard, M., Grinstein-Weiss, M., Ren, C., Guo, S., & Raghavan, R. (2016). Effects of a tax-time savings intervention on use of alternative financial services among lower-income households. Journal of Consumer Affairs.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Despard, M., Guo, S., Russell, B., Key, C., & Raghavan, R. (2016). Do tax-time savings deposits improve financial outcomes and reduce hardship among low-income filers? A propensity score analysis. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, volume(7), 707-728.

Despard, M., Perantie, D., Taylor, S., Grinstein-Weiss, M., Friedline, T., & Raghavan, R. (2016). Student debt and hardship: Evidence from a large sample of low- and moderate-income households. Children and Youth Services Review, volume(70), 8-18.

Friedline, T., Despard, M., & Chowan, G. A. N. (2016). Preventive policy strategy for banking the unbanked: Savings accounts for teenagers? Journal of Poverty.

Zerden, L., Sheely, A., & Despard, M. (2016). Debunking macro myths: Findings from recent graduates about jobs, salaries and skills. Social Work Education.

Despard, M. R., Perantie, D. C., Oliphant, J. E., Roll, S. P., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2016). The role of health insurance in the financial lives of low- and moderate-income households (CSD Research Brief No. 16-26). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.

Despard, M. R., Taylor, S. H., Perantie, D. C., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2016). The burden of student debt: Findings from a survey of low- and moderate-income households (CSD Research Brief No. 16-15). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Perantie, D. C., Oliphant, J. E., deRuyter, A., & Despard, M. R. (2016). Characteristics and hardships associated with bank account ownership among Refund to Savings participants (CSD Research Brief No. 16-09). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.

Despard, M. (2016). Can capacity be measured? Results from a survey of nonprofit human service organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

Despard, M. R., Perantie, D. C., Luo, L., Oliphant, J., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2015). Use of alternative financial services in low-and moderate-income households: Evidence from refund to savings. CSD Research Brief No. 15-57. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Despard, M. R., Perantie, D. C., Oliphant, J., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2015). Do EITC recipients use their tax refunds to get ahead? Evidence from the Refund to Savings Initiative. CSD research brief number 15-38. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Despard, M., Nafziger-Mayegun, R. N., & Adjabeng, B. (2015). Capacity-building and financial sustainability needs of non-governmental organizations in three sub-Saharan African countries: An exploratory study. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

Chowa, G., Masa, R., Ansong, D., Despard, M., Wu, S., Hughes, D., Osei-Akoto, I., Afranie, S., Mark-Sowah, N. A., Ofori-Acquah, C., Lee, Y., Johnson, L., & Sherraden, M. (2015). Impacts of financial inclusion on youth development: Findings from the Ghana YouthSave experiment. CSD Research Report No. 15-35. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Despard, M., & Chowa, G. A. N. (2014). Testing a measurement model of financial capability among youth in Ghana. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 48(2), 301-322.

Wike, T. L., Bledsoe-Mansori, S. E., Manuel, J. I., Despard, M., Johnson, L. V., Bellamy, J. L., & Killian-Ferrell, C. (2014). Evidence-based practice in social work: Challenges and opportunities for clinicians. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(2), 161-170.

Chowa, G., Ansong, D., & Despard, M. (2014). Financial capabilities for rural households in Masindi, Uganda: An exploration of the impact of internal and external capabilities using multilevel modeling. Social Work Research, 38(1), 19-35.

Despard, M. & Chowa, G. A. N. (2013). Training social workers in personal finance: An exploratory study. Journal of Social Work Education, 49(4), 689-700.

Chowa, G. A., & Despard, M. (2013). The influence of parental financial socialization on youth's financial behavior: Evidence from Ghana. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 35(3), 376-389.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Yeo, Y., Manturuk, K., Despard, M., Holub, K., Greeson, J., & Quercia, R. (2013). Social capital and homeownership in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. Social Work Research, 37(1), 37-53.

Chowa, G. A. N., Despard, M., Masa, R., Ansong, D., Sneed, C., Omala, H., Getanda, D., Ngenga, J., & Giyonko, E. (2013). Youth Workforce Development, Financial Assets, and Psychosocial Wellbeing: A Report on the Formative and Market Research in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya [Report]. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

Chowa, G. A. N., Ansong, D., Masa, R., Despard, M., Osei-Akoto, I., Richmond, A.-A., Agyei-Holmes, A., & Sherraden, M. (2012). Youth and Saving in Ghana: A Baseline Report form the YouthSave Ghana Experiment [Report]. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Chowa, G. A. N., Despard, M., & Osei-Akoto, I. (2012). Financial knowledge and attitudes of youth in Ghana. YouthSave Research Brief 12-37. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Chowa, G. A. N., Despard, M., & Osei-Akoto, I. (2012). Youth saving patterns and performance in Ghana. YouthSave Research Brief 12-36. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

Mandell, L., Sherraden, M. S., Despard, M., Masa, R., Adams, D., Elliott, W., Ansong, D., Lucey, T., Hira, T., Ssewamala, F., Prabhakar, R., & Williams Shanks, T. (2012). Children and youth as economic citizens: Reviewof research on financial capability, financial inclusion, and financial education. Child and Youth Finance International Research Working Group Report.

Despard, M., Chowa, G. A. N., & Hart, L. J. (2011). Personal financial problems: Opportunities for social work interventions? Journal of Social Service Research, 38(3), 342-350.

Despard, M. & Chowa, G. A. N. (2010). Social workers' interest in building individuals' financial capabilities. Journal of Financial Therapy, 1(1), 23-41.

Grady, M., Powers, J., Naylor, S., & Despard, M. (2010). Measuring the implicit curriculum: Initial development and results of an MSW survey. Journal of Social Work Education, 47(3), 463-487.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Yeo, Y., Despard, M., Zhan, M., & Casalotti, A. (2010). Does banking experience matter? Differences of the bank and unbanked in Individual Development Accounts. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 31(2), 212-227.

Despard, M. (2010). Interim Program Assessment and Evaluation Report Reinsertion Program. Foundation Enfant Jesus, Lamardelle, Haiti.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Greeson, J. K. P., Yeo, Y. H., Birdsong, S. S., Despard, M., & Quercia, R. G. (2009). The impact of low- and moderate-wealth homeownership on parental attitudes and behavior: Evidence from the community advantage panel. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 23-31.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Yeo, Y. H., Greeson, J. K. P., & Despard, M. (2008). Are Low- and Moderate-Income Homeownership and Neighborhood Context Associated with Social Capital? A Multi-level Analysis [Working Paper]. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Yeo, Y. H., Despard, M. & Zhan, M. (2008). Does banking experience matter? Differences of the banked and unbanked in individual development accounts. Working paper number 08-08. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.

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