April is National Financial Literacy Month; How Will Your Credit Union Celebrate?

Some credit unions will partner with local schools and community groups in April to sponsor workshops and seminars. Some will send volunteers to staff reality fairs. And some will raise money to make sure those kinds of events continue in the future.

How will you celebrate National Financial Literacy Month?

“Advancing financial literacy is a top priority for the National Credit Union Administration, and it’s a core mission for credit unions,” says NCUA board Chair Debbie Matz. “While consumer education is a year-round effort, Financial Literacy Month is a good reminder about the importance of learning how to manage money and build financial security. Credit unions should use this month to help their members become smarter consumers.”

There’s certainly no shortage of ideas available to help credit unions do just that. In fact, the Northwest Credit Union Foundation has created a Financial Education Library that’s filled with links to programs for children, young adults and their parents. From Googolplex and Biz Kid$ to LifeSmarts and Credit Unions Rock, it’s a one-stop inspiration shop for financial literacy planners.

Want more ideas? Check out these upcoming opportunities:

Financial Fitness Day (April 2)

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation is partnering with its national counterpart to sponsor Financial Fitness Day, a fundraising and awareness campaign that will support their initiatives to help consumers of all ages achieve financial freedom. All of the money raised will be split between the two organizations.

Want to join in? Just hold one or more of the following activities at your credit union on Wednesday, April 2:

  • Jeans Day: Let the staff dress casually — in exchange for a donation, of course;
  • Bake Sale: Cookies, cupcakes and other edible delights, all for a good cause; or
  • Deduct or Donate a Buck: Ask staff and/or members to consider a voluntary contribution of $1 or more, either in cash as they complete their transaction or as a deduction from their checking or savings account as often as they choose.

Donations collected at branches will be sent to the National Credit Union Foundation for distribution to state leagues. Donations can also be made online at the official campaign website, where you’ll find a wealth of material — web buttons, sample tweets, logos, flyers and more — to help promote Financial Fitness Day.

Visit financialfitnessday.com for more information or to download promotional materials.

Money Smart Week (April 5-12)

Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign designed to promote financial education across all age groups. Hundreds of organizations across the country — including businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, government agencies and the media — are invited to collaborate on projects that stress the importance of financial literacy, inform consumers about where they can get help, and provide free educational seminars and activities throughout the week.

For a list of events already planned in the Northwest or to register to host your own event, visit www.moneysmartweek.org. The website also includes a wealth of resources, including contests, blogs, podcasts and more.

Financial Reality Fairs

Volunteers are being recruited now to play the role of vendors or financial counselors at upcoming Financial Reality Fairs sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.

At the fairs, students will choose a career and a salary and then have to figure out how to create a budget that covers housing, food and other essentials. They’ll visit with volunteer “vendors” — apartment leasing agents, auto dealers and insurance agents, for example — to obtain the goods and services needed in everyday life. And just like in the real world, they’ll be tempted by entertainment opportunities and other non-essential services that can often wreak havoc on a family’s budget.

Armed with all of that information, students will then document their income and expenses, balance their monthly budget and get a “financial counselor” to sign off on their plan.

There’s no advance training required — just the desire to give young people the skills they’ll need to be smart financial consumers. Upcoming volunteer opportunities include:

  • April 17: Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Wash.; 7:30 a.m.-noon; hosted by the NWCUF.
  • May 15: Northwest Career & Technical Academy in Mt. Vernon, Wash.; 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; co-hosted by the NWCUF and North Coast Credit Union.
  • June 7: NWCUA Directors’ Conference in Vancouver, Wash.; 9:45 a.m.-2:15 p.m.; hosted by the NWCUF.
  • June 25: Financial Education Institute for Teachers in Bremerton, Wash.; time TBA; co-hosted by the NWCUF and the Washington state Financial Education Public Private Partnership.

Volunteers can register for any of the Reality Fairs on the Foundation’s website. For more on all of the NWCUF’s financial literacy efforts, contact Kim Vu at kvu@nwcua.org or 260.340.4818.

Biz Kid$ Box Sets for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

CO-OP Financial Services will pay half the cost of all Biz Kid$ DVD box sets purchased by credit unions this month as part of a unique program designed to enhance the financial education of patients and families at the nation’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“Even though CMN Hospitals treat sick and injured children without regard for ability to pay, many of their families still face tremendous financial challenges,” says Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services and a member of the Board of Governors of CMN Hospitals since 2010. “The Biz Kid$ box sets will provide a source of entertainment and financial education for families that need both at a very difficult time.”

CO-OP Financial Services will pay $150 toward the $300 cost of each DVD set, which includes all 65 episodes produced to date for Biz Kid$, the Emmy Award-winning and credit union-funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.

The program is a joint initiative of Credit Unions for Kids and the National Credit Union Foundation. Its goal is give all 163 CMN Hospitals at least one box set by the end of April. As part of the effort, the Northwest Credit Union Foundation has committed to sponsoring one set for each of the six CMN hospitals in Oregon and Washington.

For more information on how you can join in this collaborative effort, or to order a DVD box set for your local CMN hospital, visit ncuf.coop or click here.

National Credit Union Youth Week (April 20-26)

“Catch the $ave Wave” is the theme for CUNA’s 2014 National Credit Union Youth Week™, which will harness the fun of sunny beaches and surfing to engage younger members and potential members with their credit union. The goal of Youth Week is to pave the path to life-long credit union membership by encouraging kids to set up savings accounts, learn how to manage money, and be more financially literate.

“National Credit Union Youth Week fits perfectly with the credit union cooperative principle of member education,” says Jan Garkey, CUNA’s Youth Week coordinator. “Expose young children to the credit union through regular deposits of their quarters, hold a Mad City Money simulation at a local high school, or hold a parent seminar on how to teach money skills to children. Use the celebration to create a new generation of financially literate consumers, and have fun in the process.”

Credit unions can also:

  • Register for the National Youth Saving Challenge for a chance to win one of 25 $100 prizes for a young saver. Prizes will also be awarded to participating credit unions.
  • Sign up for the free Youth Week e-Newsletter to receive tips for celebrating Youth Week and setting goals for the Saving Challenge.
  • Download National Youth Week art, articles and celebration materials from cuna.org/youthweek.
  • Get the latest information by following @CUYouthWeek on Twitter.

 And That’s Not All…

The Washington state Attorney General’s Office has teamed up with the Better Business Bureau to offer a wealth of financial information:

  • Follow the Better Business Bureau on Facebook for daily financial tips about earning, saving, protecting assets, spending and borrowing. Follow @AGOWA on Twitter for more information from the Attorney General’s Office on how to be financially fit and the latest consumer updates.
  • For resources and more information about how to get involved, visit the Financial Literacy and Education Commission website.
  • For a list of financial workshops in your area, click here.

The NCUA has additional National Financial Literacy Month resources available, including:

  • A free webinar for credit unions, “Financial Literacy: Putting Your Mission into Action,” will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 3. Online registration is available here.
  • A new video documenting the history of America’s credit unions and the NCUA will be available on the agency’s YouTube channel beginning on Tuesday, April 1.
  • Throughout April, consumers can also visit NCUA’s updated pages on MyCreditUnion.gov and the agency’s financial literacy site, Pocket Cents, to get more information about saving, borrowing and managing credit.
  • NCUA’s consumer Twitter feed, @MyCUgov, will l focus on financial literacy issues in April, such as saving, budgeting and borrowing.

No matter how you celebrate National Financial Literacy Month, be sure to share your ideas and stories with the NWCUA and CUNA! And don’t forget to share via Twitter with the #CUYouthWeek hashtag! 

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events.