It all started late last year. CUNA Mutual Group launched a social media effort (#CUGiveBack) encouraging credit unions, their members and partners to share pictures of people giving back to the communities they served with each post garnering a $5 donation to the Foundation.
CUNA Mutual Group ultimately donated $10,000 to the Foundation to support 20 Financial Reality Fairs in 2016 (Reality Fairs are a “hands-on” financial literacy experience for high school students).
Reality Fairs have been championed by the Foundation and spread by credit unions across the country over the last few years because it helps many young people prepare stronger financial futures. It also gives their parents a helping hand in preparing their children to manage finances as they get ready for college and life afterwards.
I reached out to my state credit union foundation cohorts to find the 20 fairs that we assisted through this initiative, which were:
- 3/17 @ Mendez Intermediate, Santa Ana, CA by SchoolsFirst FCU
- 3/29 @ Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT by Achieve FCU and Seasons FCU
- 4/5 @ KV Community College, Fairfield, ME by multiple CUs via the Kennebec Chapter of CUs
- 4/8 @ John Tyler High, Tyler, TX by Cooperative Teachers CU (CTCU)
- 4/12 @ Marshwood High School, Berwick, ME by PeoplesChoice CU, Saco Valley CU, Ocean Communities FCU, and York County FCU
- 4/13 @ Pleasant Grove High School, Elk Grove, CA by Schools Financial CU
- 4/14 @ Robert E Lee High School, Tyler, TX by Cooperative Teachers CU (CTCU)
- 4/21 @ Multiple events across the Pacific Northwest (multiple fairs in one day) by multiple CUs via the Northwest CU Foundation’s 2016 Financial Reality Fair Extravaganza.
- 4/22 @ Eater Jr High in Rantoul, IL by Community Plus Federal CU, Credit Union 1, and Central Illinois CU
- 5/13 @ Mt. Morris High School, Flint, MI by ELGA CU, Dort FCU, Flint Area School Employees CU, Financial Plus CU, Sagelink CU, and Security CU
- 5/17 @ Alief ISD-Taylor High School, Houston, TX by People’s Trust FCU
- 5/25 @ Pinkerton Academy, Derry, NH by St. Mary’s Bank and Service CU
Over 5,000 students were reached! Also, through this partnership, all the students had access to Thrive ‘n’ Shine, a strategy and life simulation game for Android, iOS devices, and internet browsers, that empowers students to experience and master critical financial concepts.
After attending a fair, 14-year old Allison, said, “It really shows you how much things cost and how people really try to get you to buy more expensive things. The best thing I learned was how to not spend too much money on things and also to realize know what our parents go through. This experience also really shows how it can be in the real world.”
A sample of press coverage:
“Schools unfortunately don’t have much financial education built into their curriculum,” noted Rhonda Baggarley, President of Sunset Science Park FCU that participated in the Northwest’s Reality Fair Extravaganza. “Credit unions are able to fill that gap for them.”
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