When it comes to deploying financial education into their local schools and communities, Cornerstone Credit Union League-member credit unions have a valuable resource, the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation (Foundation). Courtney Moran, executive director of the Foundation, tells Credit Union National Association’s NewsNow, that the Foundation provides free resources on its website and train-the-trainer sessions for curriculum from the National Endowment for Financial Education and Biz Kid$.
"We try to make it as easy as possible for our credit unions to do what they need to do to provide that education," Moran tells News Now.
According to Moran, credit unions are champions of the financial literacy cause, and schools across the country are turning to credit unions for help. In Oklahoma, for example, Tinker FCU is partnering with 66 schools and is a primary sponsor of MoneyIsOK.com, a project of the Oklahoma Council of Economic Education.
Last year, Tinker FCU reached 19,000 people under age 25 with its various workshops. Its financial empowerment team has dedicated educators who teach in the community as well as staff volunteers.
"It's part of our member give-back," Cody Buchholz, assistant vice president of financial empowerment at Tinker FCU, tells NewsNow.
In Oklahoma, the Passport to Financial Literacy Act passed in 2007, and effective in May. Oklahoma's seniors must now earn a passport in order to graduate from high school. To earn it, they must show "satisfactory knowledge and satisfactory completion" of 14 areas, including earning an income; understanding state and federal taxes; banking and financial services; balancing a checkbook; savings and investments; planning for retirement; understanding loans and borrowing money; understanding interest; credit card debt and online commerce, and other important money skills.
“Some schools are scrambling to meet the additional curriculum requirement, and that's where credit unions come in,” Buchholz tells NewsNow readers. "We've built a reputation to help teachers with this subject matter.”
The Foundation has scheduled six FOCUS “Train-the-Trainer” workshops in 2014. These workshops are designed to arm credit unions, educators, non-profit organizations and community leaders with the skills they need to motivate young people into adopting positive savings and spending habits. The 2014 schedule is as follows:
March 21, Austin
April 30, Dallas
June 6, Oklahoma City
June 27, Houston
July 11, Arkansas
Oct. 10, San Antonio
The Foundation is also encouraging credit unions to hold a "Financial Fitness Day" fundraiser April 2, to kick off National Financial Literacy Month. This initiative will raise funds for the Cornerstone Foundation and the National Credit Union in support of their financial education initiatives.
To participate, credit union organizations can hold a jeans or casual Day for staff, a bake sale, deduct or donate a buck, or come up with their own idea. For more information, please visit financialfitnessday.com.