WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association (ALA) have announced $1.4 million in grants to 20 recipients as a part of the Smart investing@your library® initiative.
Smart investing@your library® is administered jointly by the Reference and User Services Association – a division of ALA – and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The program funds library efforts to provide patrons with effective, unbiased financial education resources. Now in its fourth year, the program has awarded a total of more than $4.6 million to public libraries and library networks nationwide.
The new grant recipients will use the funds to implement a variety of programs designed to increase patrons’ access to and understanding of financial information. The grants target a diverse group of library patrons – among them youth, seniors, English-language learners, local employment counselors, members of the military and their spouses and low-income families. Participating libraries will use a variety of technologies and outreach strategies to connect library users to the best financial education and information available. These strategies include gaming, online learning, classroom formats, one-on-one clinics, storytelling and staff training.
The grantees will partner with community organizations, schools, universities and local governments to expand the impact of the services and resources the grants enable. Library patrons will be empowered to make educated financial choices for both long-term investing and day-to-day money matters.
“This very generous grant from the FINRA Foundation enhances the library's role as part of the solution to help communities in this difficult economy,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “Smart investing@your library® allows libraries to establish, test and share models that other libraries can adopt or adapt for their own communities, helping people to arrive at a brighter financial future. The innovative and popular programs that the grant has funded have helped many people, in all age groups, at all levels of financial awareness and in urban, suburban and rural communities across the nation. This generous support couldn't have come at a better time, and I would like to thank the FINRA Foundation for its continued investment in our nation's libraries.”
“We are excited about the programs and services the new grantees will provide in their communities for people seeking unbiased information on the full range of financial issues that affect their everyday lives,” said John Gannon, president of the FINRA Foundation. “These libraries are collaborating with nonprofit partners to make sound financial literacy information readily and freely accessible. Whether you’re a young person just starting out or an experienced investor, public libraries are a free resource to help you make better and better informed decisions.”
The grantees, which serve urban, suburban and rural communities across the country, will receive one to two years of funding, in addition to assistance with program marketing, outreach and evaluation provided by ALA. For more information about Smart investing@your library®, visit www.smartinvesting.ala.org.
The new grant recipients are:
Apache Junction Public Library, Apache Junction, Ariz.
The Apache Junction Public Library will partner with the University of Arizona to offer financial literacy classes at the library and other community locations, emphasizing the small steps residents can take to lead a healthy lifestyle, both physically and financially.
Grant amount: $70,200
Burlington County Library System, Westampton, N.J.
Burlington County Library System will partner with Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education and the library/technology center at nearby Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to offer a variety of personal finance and investing workshops for adults. These face-to-face sessions will be supplemented by customizable Web-based learning resources.
Grant amount: $95,942
Camden Public Library, Camden, Maine
The Camden Public Library and its partners will undertake a multipart campaign to reach every household in the town with a variety of personal finance messages, resources and utilities. The project will give particular attention to students in high school and working adults in the community.
Grant amount: $45,440
Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, Ind.
Carmel Clay Public Library will collaborate with the local public school system, the Ball State University Center for Economic Education, the Indiana Council for Economic Education and the Indiana Youth Institute to establish the library as the county’s focal point for personal finance learning. The program will address money basics for teens, college financing, retirement planning and investor protection, among other topics.
Grant amount: $84,600
Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, Va.
Chesterfield County Public Library will work with local elementary schools, PTAs and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond to help moms and their children understand the mathematics of personal finance and investing.
Grant amount: $81,600
Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, Maine
Curtis Memorial Library and its partners will offer a financial literacy program tailored to the specific information needs and learning styles of women in three life stages: teens and young women entering the workforce (ages 15–24), women in midlife in various stages of transition that require smart financial management (ages 25–44), and women entering retirement age (ages 55–65).
Grant amount: $72,950
Emmet O’Neal Library, Mountain Brook, Ala.
The Emmet O’Neal Library will collaborate with the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Junior Achievement to offer multigenerational programming of broad appeal to the community. The program will begin with performances by a professional storyteller, who will prepare narratives about money and investing and how they can affect relationships, particularly among friends and family. This kick-off event will be followed by a series of educational offerings targeting teens, young families and women who are recently widowed or divorced and have never before handled finances.
Grant amount: $46,200
Florence County Library System, Florence, S.C.
Florence County Library System will pursue a multigenerational financial literacy strategy in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and others. The project will reach children, teens/young adults, seniors and low- to moderate-income residents to help them become financially savvy and alert them to money scams.
Grant amount: $47,949
Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence, Kan.
Lawrence Public Library will incorporate a new financial wellness clinic into its business center to provide straightforward money management and investing information to low-income families. This will be accomplished through partnerships with the local school district and social services agencies, a series of educational workshops and a promotional campaign using both traditional and social media.
Grant amount: $52,800
Martin County Library System, Stuart, Fla.
Martin County Library System and the University of Florida Cooperative Extension will provide a graduated series of personal finance and investing workshops for lower-income residents referred by Habitat for Humanity and local social services agencies. The programming will emphasize the financial considerations pertaining to homeownership, saving for children’s education, planning for retirement and rebuilding a nest egg.
Grant amount: $45,054
Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries, Martinsburg, W.Va.
The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries will partner with the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to establish a four-part financial literacy program serving county residents under the theme “Free-Way to Financial Information.” The program will include a family financial fair featuring services available in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, special programming on financial basics for children and teens delivered with assistance from the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, financial seminars for adults, and a “CASH Corridor” on the library system’s website with multimedia personal finance resources.
Grant amount: $79,560
Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.
The Milwaukee Public Library will leverage partnerships with Make a Difference-Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Department on Aging and Money Smart Week to improve financial literacy among high school students, address the investor protection needs of senior citizens and provide basic financial education to the broader community.
Grant amount: $99,000
Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, Ind.
The Monroe County Public Library will target teens and 20-somethings, including Spanish speakers, through 15 workshops and 15 “talk-to-an-expert” sessions on five high-priority topics: budgeting, saving, spending, managing credit and debt and investing. Programs will occur at the library and various county locations and will be produced with assistance from Purdue Extension, in part to leverage community-wide attention to Indiana Saves and Money Smart Week.
Grant amount: $79,582
Newton Free Library, Newton, Mass.
Librarians, financial literacy experts and volunteers will collaborate to integrate financial education into the library’s English-as-a-second-language services and to offer a full complement of public programs on personal finance topics, including preparing for retirement.
Grant amount: $81,811
Orange County Library System, Orlando, Fla.
Orange County Library System will continue its partnership with the Graduate School of Business at Rollins College to serve the financial and investor education needs of lower-income and Spanish-speaking residents, especially wage earners in the region’s hospitality industry.
Grant amount: $51,150
Pelham Public Library, Pelham, Ala.
The University of Alabama, Jefferson State Community College and the Alabama Cooperative Extension Center will assist Pelham Public Library in delivering a financial literacy initiative for youth, adults, seniors and Spanish-speaking library patrons.
Grant amount: $88,546
Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Youngstown, Ohio
The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County will partner with Junior Achievement, experts in museum exhibit design and the Mahoning County Financial Stability Partnership to provide a continuum of family-centered financial education experiences and services.
Grant amount: $95,102
Santa Clara County Library, Los Gatos, Calif.
The Santa Clara County Library project will emphasize staff training on financial topics and related reference resources. This training will be led by faculty from nearby higher education institutions and be made available to all librarians within the Pacific Library Partnership, a consortium of four regional library systems. In addition to staff training, patron workshops on investing literacy will be offered at Santa Clara’s seven libraries. The public workshops will be complemented by a personal finance portal added to the library’s website, offering relevant materials in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
Grant amount: $100,000
Schaumburg Township District Library, Schaumburg, Ill.
Schaumburg Township District Library and its partners (including the University of Illinois Extension) will organize and train a network of local employment counselors and social service agencies to act as intermediaries in the provision of basic personal finance information and refer clients to the resources and programs available at and through the library.
Grant amount: $87,000
Washington-Centerville Public Library, Centerville, Ohio
Washington-Centerville Public Library and the nearby Hithergreen Senior Center will establish a series of financial seminars geared towards adults ages 50 and over in the region. Among various topics, the seminars will address healthy finances and establishing saving and investing goals, recovering from job loss and other financial challenges, IRAs, investing strategies for seniors, identity theft and financial scams targeting seniors.
Grant amount: $30,000
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation. FINRA registers and educates industry participants, examines securities firms, writes and enforces rules and federal securities laws, educates the investing public and provides trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, visit www.finra.org.
The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services and collection materials they need. Established in 1876, the American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world. It strives to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.