Horizon’s ‘Piggy Hunt’ Finds Its Way to Regional, National Recognition

If Horizon Credit Union’s Piggy Hunt program is any indication, the age-old question of how to best share financial education might just be to ask more questions.

Horizon was honored with a state-level award Desjardins Award from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and with a second-place award on the national level for its Piggy Hunt program, a scavenger hunt that rewards local students with clues earned by completing financial education exercises as they search for a blue piggy bank hidden somewhere in their school.

“We are incredibly excited about the two awards,” said Josh Allison, Horizon’s relationship development manager who first established the Piggy Hunt. “We believe the Piggy Hunt is a perfect blend of excitement and education. It creates the opportunity to partner and collaborate with local middle schools while allowing us to reach students, teachers and parents with needed financial education as well.”

The winner at each of three participating middle schools earned a $250 prize in the program’s inaugural run, along with the opportunity to donate an additional $250 to his or her charity of choice.

“The Piggy Hunt has allowed our school to provide financial literacy in a way that is fun and interactive. In a time of crowded curriculum, higher levels of expectations, and limited instruction time, the hunt fits into our schedule perfectly,” said Gordon Grassi, principal of North Pines Middle School in Spokane Valley, Wash., which played host to the first Piggy Hunt. “The students are rewarded for their hard work, and they have a chance to expand their success by giving back to our community.”

The Piggy Hunt has already been picked up by the National Credit Union Foundation and re-branded for wider use by “Biz Kid$,” giving the program a national reach within months of its implementation, and Allison said that the program will expand to more schools on a local level next year. Horizon staff also shared the program’s details at a local Jump $tart conference and at the Washington State Association of Principals Conference last summer.

“All three of the original schools are bringing the program back this school year,” Allison said, “and we have all three hunts scheduled for early January, with teacher and parent Piggy Hunts that follow right after the student hunts end.”

The teacher and parent components represent the Piggy Hunt’s continued evolution, giving the program reach to now impact adults as well as children.

In addition to searching for clues, completing age-appropriate financial education activities and lessons and searching for their own piggy bank on the school campus, teachers “will also have to share what they’ve learned with their students on each leg of the hunt,” Allison said. “And instead of teachers handing out the activities, the teachers will locate students who will be giving out the education activities.”

“The Parent Piggy Hunt program will be similar to the teacher hunt, but the clues will be hidden around town and will include our local credit union branches as well.”

As the program continues to grow, Allison said it will continue to push its borders beyond the walls of local middle schools.

“The Piggy Hunt future looks very bright,” Allison said. “We will continue to expand the program to include youth and civic organizations such as the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club, as well as other middle schools in our local Horizon Credit Union communities.

The Desjardins Awards are named for Alphonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement. Besides founding the first credit unions in Canada and the U.S., Desjardins pioneered youth savings clubs and in-school “banks,” known as “caisses scolaires.” The award honors credit unions, chapters and leagues for their commitment to both youth and adult financial literacy.

Winners for the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award include (asterisks indicate repeat winners):

  • Clarence Community & Schools Federal Credit Union (Clarence, NY)
  • CommunityAmerica Credit Union (Kansas City, Mo.)*
  • CORE Federal Credit Union (East Syracuse, NY)*
  • Generations Federal Credit Union (San Antonio, Tex.)
  • Northwest Chapter of the Ohio Credit Union League*

Second-place winners for the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award include:

  • Acadia Federal Credit Union (Fort Kent, Maine)
  • Horizon Credit Union (Spokane Valley, Wash.)*
  • Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation (Herndon, Va.)

Honorable mention winners for the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award include:

  • Arapahoe Credit Union (Englewood, Colo.)*
  • CASE Credit Union (Lansing, Mich.)
  • Commonwealth Credit Union (Frankfort, Ky.)
  • Tarrant County Credit Union (Fort Worth, Tex.)

Winners for the Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award include:

  • Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union (Virginia Beach, Va.)*
  • Credit Union 1 (Anchorage, Alaska)*
  • Town & Country Credit Union (Minot, ND)
  • United Labor Credit Union (Kansas City, Mo.)

Second-place winners for the Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award include:

  • Capital Credit Union (Kimberly, Wis.)
  • Community Credit Union (Lewiston, Maine)*
  • Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union (Columbia, SC)*

Honorable mention winner for the Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award included:

  • CommunityAmerica Credit Union (Kansas City, Mo.)*

The Maine Credit Union League was also awarded a first place award for their efforts to improve financial literacy for both youth and adults.


Questions? Contact the NWCUA Awards Program: 800.995.9064, ext. 106; awards@nwcua.org.

Posted in Awards, Compliance News, Compliance News, Federal, NCUA.