Charles Schwab Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Launch Make Change Count Pledge for Teens in Order to Spark Movement toward Financial Fitness

Pledge Asks Teens to Commit to Four Personal Steps to Get on the Path to a Sound Financial Future and Encourage Others to Do the Same

Monday, October 25, 2010 6:00 am PDT

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SAN FRANCISCO

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"Our goal is to empower teens with the knowledge and skills to make smart financial decisions throughout life"

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aiming to harness the power of America’s youth and drive a national movement inspiring teens to make positive financial choices and help others, Charles Schwab Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) have launched the Make Change Count Pledge. The pledge aims to deepen and extend the message of the successful six-year-old Money Matters: Make it CountSM financial education program funded by Charles Schwab Foundation and available through all Boys & Girls Clubs that serve teens.

Teens across America will be encouraged to log on to www.makechangecount.com and commit to four personal steps:

  • Save Money. If I don’t already have one, I’ll open a savings account and add to it regularly. That way, I’ll always have money for the important things in life.
  • Spend Wisely. I'll recognize the difference between needs vs. wants and think carefully about how I spend my money.
  • Plan for College. I'll explore how to make college a reality, because I know it can make a big difference in my future.
  • Share What I Know. I’ll help my friends and family understand how to make good choices with their money, too!

The website provides specific learning resources for next steps, with links to valuable tools, such as savings calculators, budgeting plans, financial aid information and interactive games.

“Our goal is to empower teens with the knowledge and skills to make smart financial decisions throughout life,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “We know that teens have the ability to strongly influence other people in their lives, so it’s our hope that they will take the Make Change Count pledge as a first step on the path to lifelong financial well-being for themselves, and for the benefit of their friends and families as well.”

Schwab’s 2007 Teens & Money Survey found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of teens find the subject of money management interesting and 60 percent consider learning about personal finance one of their top priorities. The majority of high schools in the U.S. do not offer personal finance education, however, leaving many young adults feeling “financially flabby.” Schwab’s 2009 Young Adults & Money Survey revealed fewer than one in five young adults (23-28) believe they are financially fit, and many feel enormous pressure to live beyond their means.

“We’ve seen how the lessons learned through the Money Matters program have a positive impact on teens’ financial attitudes and behaviors,” said BGCA President and CEO Roxanne Spillett. “By promoting the pledge, we’re hoping to reach teens outside the confines of BGCA and help them become financially fit adults.”

The first teen to take the pledge was Tamara Johnson, the current National Ambassador for the Money Matters: Make It Count program. Johnson, a freshman at Marquette University, experienced Money Matters at the Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club in her hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and credits it with helping her plan for longer-term financial goals like funding college. As National Ambassador, Johnson spreads the word about why getting grounded in the basics of personal finance is crucial to lifelong success.

“My message to other teens is to take the pledge and get started on making smart choices with your money,” said Johnson. “Plus, if you share the pledge and your money management knowledge with your family and friends, you can help make a big difference in other people’s lives. There’s power in spreading the word.”

The Make Change Count pledge will run through March 2011 and results will be announced in April, which is National Financial Literacy Month.

About Money Matters: Make It Count

Funded by Charles Schwab Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Money Matters program is designed to promote money management skills among teens, ages 13-18. The program consists of fun, interactive activities and exercises on topics such as using a checking account, managing debt, saving for college and learning the basics of investing. The program is targeted primarily at teens from underserved communities.

Nearly 245,000 youth at approximately 1,600 teen Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. have participated in Money Matters since the program’s launch in mid-2004. In addition, over the past five years, Charles Schwab Foundation has presented a cumulative total of $345,000 in scholarships to 167 Club teens who have completed Money Matters and demonstrated exceptional financial skills from their newly acquired knowledge of personal finance.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 4.2 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

About Charles Schwab Foundation

Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. (1010-6712)

Photo Caption: Tamara Johnson, Boys & Girls Clubs of America financial literacy teen ambassador, was the first person to take the pledge.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6479937&lang=en

Contact:

Charles Schwab
Sarah Bulgatz, 415-667-0328
sarah.bulgatz@schwab.com
or
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Jennifer Sibley, 404-487-5321
jsibley@bgca.org
or
CRT/tanaka
Karen de Groot, 310-659-5380
kdegroot@crttanaka.com

Multimedia Files:

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Tamara Johnson, Boys & Girls Clubs of America financial literacy teen ambassador, was the first person to take the pledge. (Photo: Business Wire)

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