Foundation accepting experiential learning grants

May 28, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (5/28/15)--The National Credit Union Foundation has sent out a call for applications for its Experiential Learning financial grant program.

Funded applications, which will be accepted between June 1 and July 15, will be for $10,000 or more.

Credit unions, credit union service organizations, state credit union foundations and any other organization owned or controlled by credit unions and other nonprofits are eligible to apply.

“At the foundation, we’ve seen great success across the country with experiential learning financial education programs such as reality fairs and retirement fairs,” said Lois Kitsch, foundation national program director. “We want to build on that success and encourage credit unions to submit grant applications to improve people’s financial lives through interactive and engaging programs.”

Experiential learning refers to a process of making meaning from a direct experience, the foundation said. Research has shown that most people learn best through experiential learning, or by “learning by doing,” which is why the foundation has decided to support efforts to create or enhance such programs through grant funding.

The experiential learning programs that the foundation is most familiar with, and thus will favor, include:

  • Reality fairs: A hands-on financial literacy event in which students assume adult identities and corresponding financial situations that they must consider as they purchase needs and wants during a simulation;
  • Retirement fairs: Developed in cooperation with CUNA Mutual Group, these events help credit union members and staff better prepare for retirement; and
  • Life simulations: Also known as “Poverty Simulations,” these events teach participants what it might be like to live in a typical, low-income family trying to survive month-to-month.

Applications will be reviewed by the foundation between July 15 and Sept. 1. Grant contracts will be signed and disbursed to successful applications likely by early October.

The grant timeline runs for 12 months starting the date of the contract.