Nat’l foundation distributes 12 experiential learning grants

November 6, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (11/6/15)--The National Credit Union Foundation’s board of directors has approved 12 new Experiential Learning grants for 2015-2016, totaling $150,626. These grants are distributed to encourage credit union organizations to use experiential learning programs such as reality fairs, retirement fairs and life simulations.

“At the foundation, we’ve seen great success with experiential learning programs and we can’t wait to see how these foundation grants change people’s financial lives in the year ahead,” said Lois Kitsch, foundation national program director.

Research has shown that most people learn best “learning by doing,” which is why the foundation supports organizational efforts to start new programs or enhance existing experiential learning programs.

Grant projects the foundation is funding include:

  • The Montana Credit Union Network will train its partners to develop a new reality fair program. The league hopes to host 10 events and reach 200 participants in the first year of the initiative;
  • The Illinois Credit Union League/Foundation will conduct a two-day train-the-trainer program for credit unions to offer retirement fairs, life simulations, reality fairs and a learning map. This program will prepare and encourage credit union staff to build and implement their own experiential learning programs;
  • The Charitable Foundation of the Credit Union League of Connecticut will start a life simulation project by exposing 60 credit union professionals from 20 credit unions to a simulation during its Fall Leadership Conference. The goal is to increase the number of credit unions that offer non-prime auto lending, inspire a credit union to offer check-cashing services, and increase the awareness of poverty in the lives of credit union members;
  • MUNA FCU, Meridian, Miss., is expanding a successful reality fair program. It hopes to reach 800 students during a single event;
  • Northside Community CU, Chicago, will start a reality fair program through a partnership among local schools and employees. It aims to conduct 25 reality fairs in one year, reaching roughly 1,000 students;
  • High Plains CU, Clovis, N.M.,along with local partners, will host a “Day of Reality” during which both a life simulation and a reality fair will be held for 600 high school students. This will create awareness for the programs and help enhance students' financial knowledge;
  • The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation aims to expand its reality fair program by increasing the number of kits available to participating credit unions. The goal is to reach 5,000 new students in 2016 by hosting 12 additional fairs;
  • The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation plans to add new reality fair kits to meet the increased demand for its “Bite of Reality” program. With these new materials, it hopes to double the program’s reach to 10,000 students;
  • The Northwest Credit Union Association will create a one-day financial reality fair extravaganza, which will consist of multiple fairs across Washington and Oregon. These financial reality fairs will be hosted by 20 credit unions across both states;
  • DuTrac Community CU, Dubuque, Iowa, will increase the number of reality fairs in order to reach more than 500 students in 2016;
  • First Florida CU, Jacksonville, Fla., is aiming for 700 students to participate in its community reality fairs; and
  • Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe, N.M., will start a reality fair program within its community. Currently there are no fairs being conducted in the state of New Mexico. The credit union hopes to reach 450 students in 2016 with this initiative.