AMES, Iowa (11/12/14)--Greater Iowa CU has been recognized for its efforts in promoting financial literacy among young people, as the $337 million-asset, Ames, Iowa-based credit union's ProjectMoney program earned first prize in NerdWallet's 2014 student financial literacy contest for credit unions.
ProjectMoney draws its inspiration from the concept of the classic science fair. Students choose a subject and explore it through the creation of an original project, but rather than science, students explore the realm of financial literacy. The program is open to any high school student in Iowa.
ProjectMoney is also community oriented. Judges award cash prizes based in part on "value to the community." The winner gets $500. The project that places second wins $250, and the third-place award is $100.
NerdWallet donated $1,500 to Greater Iowa CU to help fund this year's fair.
Gigi Hyland, executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation, served as one of the judges for the contest. "At the foundation, we've seen how successful experiential learning can be, and Greater Iowa CU taps into that well with their ProjectMoney financial literacy fair for teens," Hyland said. "It seems like an engaging and exciting way to teach financial literacy."
Luso FCU, with $170 million in assets, Ludlow, Mass., was first runner-up in the contest. The credit union helps students establish the saving habit by making in-school visits to schools in in western Massachusetts. Another program teaches budgeting, marketing and inventory management. Luso employees also teach age-appropriate personal finance lessons in schools, reaching more than 2,000 kids a year.
"Through its school banking program, Luso FCU leverages a multifaceted approach to financial literacy that combines teaching, interaction, entrepreneurship and more to impact thousands of students in their community," Hyland said.
Royal CU, with $1.4 billion in assets, Eau Claire, Wis., was recognized as second runner-up for its young entrepreneur program. With its inaugural event slated for this year, the Future U.S. Entrepreneurs (FUSE) program invites students to create and pitch business plans to business team members from the credit union.