FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association announce $1.19 million in grants to public libraries to support financial literacy

For Immediate Release
Thu, 01/09/2014

Contact:

Susan Hornung
Executive Director
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
shornung@ala.org

CHICAGO — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association (ALA) have announced $1.19 million in grants to 17 recipients as 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 educational resources about personal finance and investing. Now in its seventh year, the program has awarded a total of $8.2 million to public libraries, community college 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, veterans, college students, rural residents, grandparents and their grandchildren 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. This year’s projects give special attention to intergenerational learning and helping adults model effective financial behaviors for children.

The grantees will partner with schools, universities, community colleges, various nonprofit organizations 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.

“The Smart investing @ your library® grant program aligns with the emerging, transitional nature of library services and demonstrates the library’s role as a community innovator. Libraries across the country are helping family members expand their personal understanding of basic financial concepts, and that builds a lasting framework for success,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling.

“The libraries participating in this grant program have a deep commitment to expanding access to effective, unbiased financial education,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA Foundation. “They are taking action to ensure that patrons in search of reliable information about personal finance and investing will be guided by knowledgeable staff to the best available learning opportunities and resources.”

2013 Smart investing @ your library® Grantees

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library, Albuquerque, N.M.
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library will collaborate with a nearby charter school and a statewide, nonprofit small business development and training organization to deliver financial education for teens ages 14 to 17. Eight library locations throughout the county and Amy Biehl Charter High School in Albuquerque will host learning activities. Program modules will address: managing your money; planning your future; making your money grow; and protecting what you have. Grant amount: $63,270

Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Brooklyn Public Library will engage adult and teen patrons through a series of programs and services tailored to the borough’s diverse audiences. The project has several components, including: integration of financial concepts into existing adult basic education programs (such as GED preparation programs and English for Speakers of Other Languages); virtual investment clubs for adults and teens; teen financial literacy workshops; and a financial empowerment fair with in-person and virtual components delivered in conjunction with the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Grant amount: $100,000

Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, Rochester, N.Y.
Rochester Public Library and the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester (CCCS) will provide personal finance education to participants in library-hosted English as a Second Language classes and integrate financial literacy activities into the library’s summer camp for ESL children. The adult classes will be co-taught by the library’s ESL instructors and a financial educator from CCCS. Grant amount: $58,509

Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, Va.
Chesterfield County Public Library will focus on the intergenerational transfer of financial learning, while improving participants’ facility with the mathematics of money. The project will give special attention to grandchildren and the grandparents who have an influential or primary role in raising them. The library — in partnership with the County Office of the Senior Advocate, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Chesterfield County Public Schools — will seek to equip these “grandfamilies” with financial literacy skills necessary to address immediate needs and longer-term well being. For the broader community, the library and its partners will deliver a series of mini-workshops on: developing a financial plan and setting goals; reducing debt; avoiding fraud and identity theft; investing fundamentals; saving and paying for college; retirement planning; and managing healthcare costs. Grant amount: $78,280

Florence County Library System, Florence, S.C.
Working with nearby Francis Marion University, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Florence County Library System will engage children, teens and lower-income adults in a series of financial literacy activities that appeal to the different learning preferences of the target audiences. For children, the library will conduct a “Dewey Dollars” campaign that incentivizes young readers to explore the library’s financial literacy collections. For teens in middle and high school, the library will sponsor a graphic novel contest and a video contest. Students will create narratives illustrating financial themes learned through their engagement with the FDIC Money Smart for Teens program and other multimedia curricula. For low- to moderate-income adults, the library will work with its partners to provide money management instruction and resources to job seekers and residents in economic distress. A separate track of adult workshops will help residents understand and prepare for their retirement needs. Grant amount: $50,605

Glen Carbon Centennial Library, Glen Carbon, Ill.
Glen Carbon Centennial Library will collaborate with nearby Six Mile Regional Library District (Granite City, Ill.), the local chamber of commerce and the Madison County Employment and Training Department to provide personal finance education for the county’s families and small business owners. For children, the project team will create interactive, portable kiosks housing age-appropriate learning materials and manipulatives. The kiosks will allow elementary students to explore, independently or with a caregiver, the financial concepts outlined in the Money as You Grow sequence endorsed by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. For adults, Glen Carbon Library will host a series of workshops designed to reduce stress and achieve financial stability among low- and moderate-income families. For single mothers, Six Mile Library District will join with local Head Start programs and community partners to provide financial planning strategies to deal with high-risk circumstances. And for small business owners, Glen Carbon Library and the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce will co-host workshops using the FDIC’s Money Smart for Small Business Owners program. Grant amount: $54,590

Idaho Commission for Libraries, Boise, Idaho
The Idaho Commission for Libraries will partner with the University of Idaho Extension, the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition, the College of Southern Idaho and 12 public libraries to bring much-needed financial education to residents in an eight-county region of south-central Idaho, where more than half of the population has an income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Public programs will kick-off with family financial literacy fairs to showcase financial education opportunities available to residents and introduce the resources provided by and through their public libraries. The fairs will be followed by multiple financial education events coordinated by the 12 participating libraries. All of the educational events will address the project content areas, namely basic financial literacy, financing a college education, investing fundamentals and retirement planning. Grant amount: $71,014

Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, N.Y.
Middle Country Public Library, in partnership with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, will create interactive, hands-on learning activities for children, teens and their parents/caregivers focusing on money and mathematics. The project will include portable learning stations, special activities integrated into established, ongoing programs serving preschool and school-age children, financial literacy outreach visits to elementary schools and circulating family financial literacy math kits to reinforce learning at home. Children will learn fundamental concepts such as prioritizing, exchange and valuation. Teens will receive training to act as “financial math buddies” and help facilitate learning for younger students. For parents and caregivers, the project will improve their ability to model exemplary financial practices and teach their children essential personal finance skills and knowledge. Participating adults will also have opportunities to learn about financial planning, credit and investing best practices. Grant amount: $71,000

Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, Ind.
Monroe County Public Library and its partners — including Indiana University and the local United Way Financial Stability Alliance — will help residents ages 20 to 39 create a savings and spending plan, manage credit and debt, make prudent decisions about major purchases (a home, for example) and invest wisely. The project complements Indiana University’s newly established Money Smarts initiative by extending financial learning to residents experiencing the demands and opportunities of post-college life. The project will follow a “Say – See – Do” approach to adult education. For the “Say” portion of each program component, faculty from Indiana University will deliver short presentations inclusive of topical videos created for each project theme. During the “See” portion, instructors will demonstrate various personal finance tools and processes (such as how to review your credit report). During the “Do” portion, participants will practice using online tools and begin to build their own financial plans with assistance from the instructional team. Participants will also have opportunities to schedule one-on-one or small group “talk to an expert” sessions with instructors and obtain more in-depth guidance. Grant amount: $87,230

Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln, Neb.
The Nebraska Library Commission will partner with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension to bring financial education programs and services to 23 libraries in mostly rural locations across the state. The program will combine face-to-face educational sessions with online learning. The inaugural educational event at each location will be face-to-face, allowing educators to introduce the online curriculum. Participants will then work through self-paced online courses. These courses address balancing risk, cutting investment costs, choosing an investment adviser and managing an investment portfolio and are segmented for different age cohorts with attention to specific needs depending on life stage. Participants will receive support and encouragement from library staff and coaches at the local level. They will also have access to online Q&A services staffed by Extension educators. At the conclusion of the online series, participants will reconvene for face-to-face sessions to assess outcomes and maintain momentum for continued learning on financial topics. Grant amount: $100,000

New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, N.C.
New Hanover County Public Library will lead a coalition comprising New Hanover County Schools, Cape Fear Community College, the main library at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and the North Carolina Council on Economic Education to help students from the middle grades through college make informed financial decisions during their early adult lives. The project will give particular attention to budgeting, managing consumer debt, paying for education and investing fundamentals. Grant amount: $36,500

Pelham Public Library, Pelham, Ala.
Pelham Public Library will concentrate its efforts on improving the financial literacy of families with school-age children. For children up to age 8, the library will collaborate with educators from the Milwaukee-based Betty Brinn Children’s Museum to create hands-on money smart exhibits. These exhibits will develop children’s financial math skills and basic money management knowledge. Children ages 9 to 13 will participate in Money on the Bookshelf and Bank on Books — two programs that combine reading development with lessons in personal finance. Students will learn about saving, budgeting, credit, compound interest and related mathematics concepts. High school students will learn about budgeting and the financial considerations of living on their own through the interactive Reality Check simulation. Supplementary lessons from the University of Tennessee’s Love Your Money online program and the National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program will enhance learning. Parents will work with project educators to examine the Money as You Grow sequence of financial competencies (endorsed by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability) and learn to help their children establish good money management skills. Grant amount: $83,500

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway, N.J.
Piscataway Public Library will collaborate with libraries in nearby Dunellen and New Brunswick, N.J., and with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to deliver an online and in-person financial education initiative to help the “sandwich generation” — those adults who are simultaneously managing their own finances while raising children and assisting aging parents, both financially and otherwise. Workshop topics will include: creating a savings plan; basic investing principles; getting started as an investor; selecting and monitoring investments; investing for long-term goals; investing for college; and avoiding fraud. Grant amount: $63,671

Santa Fe College Library, Gainesville, Fla.
Santa Fe College Library will focus on increasing financial capability among several audiences in the college’s service area: the college’s veteran population and their dependents; first-generation college-goers; students receiving financial aid; students who were displaced but have returned to campus (including some who have previously defaulted on student loans); students in the college’s Displaced Homemaker Program; high school dual-enrolled students; and middle and high school students and their parents in pre-college assistance programs. The initiative will give special attention to building financial self-sufficiency and making sound, informed decisions about paying for college. Instructional units will be integrated into the college’s continuing education courses, credit-bearing courses and various college readiness and student support programs. Project leaders will also collaborate with community agencies to refer students to supplemental services and one-on-one financial counseling as necessary. Grant amount: $100,000

Saratoga Springs Public Library, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Saratoga Springs Public Library will sponsor separate financial literacy series for adults and teens in the region. Adult workshops will address: financial fundamentals (from banking to sound credit practices); personal finance for veterans (including understanding military benefits); introduction to investing; retirement planning; college financing; and personal finance considerations for small business owners. Teen workshops will be activity-based and will help young people create a budget, examine how credit works and how to establish good credit, prepare for important financial decisions such as paying for college, establish goals and understand their first paychecks. Librarians will conduct outreach visits to business- and finance-related clubs at Saratoga Springs High School and deliver programs both during and after school hours. Grant amount: $60,596

Springdale Public Library, Springdale, Ark.
Springdale Public Library will collaborate with the local school district to improve the financial literacy of immigrant families with school-age children. The library will organize a series of family finance events (with translation services) at selected public schools in the district. Parents and children will attend together. Each event will encompass a rotation through four financial literacy sessions led by educators from Credit Counseling of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the Economic Opportunity Agency serving northwest Arkansas and Economics Arkansas (an affiliate of the Council for Economic Education). Session topics will include: bank products and services; comparing credit opportunities; obtaining and reviewing a credit report; how to build or repair credit; making good decisions about large purchases; saving for college; avoiding financial fraud; and teaching children about money. Participating children will receive age-appropriate learning materials about money concepts. Parents will obtain resources to improve household financial management and will have the opportunity to enroll in more in-depth, topical workshops conducted at library locations with the assistance of the Economic Opportunity Agency. These workshops will address household savings, taxpayer topics, the Earned Income Tax Credit and introduction to investing. Grant amount: $34,055

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Toledo, Ohio
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and United Way of Greater Toledo will partner with three social service agencies to help residents with income of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level achieve financial stability through participation in the FDIC Money Smart program and follow-up financial coaching. In addition to the Money Smart sequence, the participating library branches will host a menu of financial workshops taught by educators from Ohio State University Extension, the regional Social Security Office and Better Investing. Scheduled classes and workshops will be positioned as gateways to one-on-one financial stability services offered by East Toledo Family Center, Lutheran Social Services and United North (a community development corporation). Grant amount: $81,881

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 and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business — from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws, informing and educating the investing public, providing trade reporting and other industry utilities and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.

Smart investing @ your library® is a partnership between the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The program supports public libraries and community college libraries across the country in their efforts to meet financial education needs at the local level. Visit http://smartinvesting.ala.org for details.

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. For more information, please visit www.ala.org/rusa. The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 60,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. For more information, please visit www.ala.org or call (800) 545-2433 ext. 4279.

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