Accent on Financial Reality Refreshes NWCU Educator Awards Program


Northwest Community Credit Union presented happy news to 76 Oregon educators late in November: $76,000 in Project Community awards were delivered in surprise classroom deliveries the week before Thanksgiving.

Sixty schools located in Clackamas, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Linn-Benton, and Multnomah counties received awards in the form of giant checks.

Direct support for education is much appreciated by school leaders, teachers, students, and community families. In this fifth year of the NWCU Project Community mini-grant program, the credit union was looking to extend the reach of great news about creative teachers and their classroom efforts, as well as inspire more sharing and participation in communities they serve.

To spark that interest, Northwest Community added a new category to their education awards: $11,600 of the total awards went to fund Financial Reality Grants, designed to support projects, programs, or curriculum specifically developing skills and habits of children and youth in saving, money handling, personal finance, budget building, safe borrowing, investing, economic principles, digital purchasing or app-driven financial practices.

Grants Pass Hidden Valley High School Seniors Practice Online Financial Habits
One of this year’s Financial Reality awards of $3,000 went to Grants Pass Hidden Valley High School instructor Chris Pendleton for his personal finance unit dedicated to prepare all seniors with an online bill paying simulation.

In the computer simulation, students “hold” a job, receive a paycheck, use a bank account, pay rent for an apartment, and more. They choose insurance; a cell phone plan, and start saving for retirement.

“They have to pay their bills for the next ten weeks while racking up heavy credit card expenses —the simulation spends the money for them without their approval,” said Pendleton.

As adults know, you can make mistakes in setting up bill pay or auto pay, and just because accounts are automated, it doesn’t mean you can set it and forget it—on the contrary, faster payment cycles mean the money you thought you had may already be clearing to satisfy a purchase or a payment.

“I have had a student accidentally pay their car insurance three times in a month, and have no money left for rent!” said Pendleton.

“Obviously, I needed to teach that student better, but it gave him and the rest of the students a wonderful learning opportunity they would not have had if it was being done with a textbook and paper.”

Students are required to log in everyday (including holidays and non-school days), and they are accountable for meeting their obligations in spending and payments.

“This is preparing them for their life that they will experience once they graduate in June,” said Pendleton.

Northwest Community Credit Union is proud to help Chris develop an amazing learning experience with his seniors.

The credit union 2019 grants will be used in the academic year 2020 to support creative curriculum and classroom experiences varying among elementary, middle, and high school levels.

A new grand total of 321 educators will have been awarded over $300,000 in funding over the five-year grant program.

Find more 2019 winner details here.

Posted in Member News.