Charles Schwab Foundation Rolls out “Innovation Awards” for Creative Delivery of Financial Education at Select Boys & Girls Clubs

Imaginative Tactics Engage Teens in the Money Matters: Make It CountSM Program

Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:00 am PDT



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SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a quest to uncover new and engaging ways to make learning about money management compelling and meaningful to today’s youth, Charles Schwab Foundation has announced the first annual winners of the Money Matters Innovation Awards. Five winning Boys & Girls Clubs, all of which offer the Money Matters program, were selected from approximately 100 competing clubs across the country’s five geographic regions. The winners, which each will receive a $3,000 grant, are:

  • Boys & Girls Club of East Aurora (New York),
  • The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte (North Carolina),
  • Boys & Girls Club of Evansville (Indiana),
  • Boys & Girls Club of Collin County (McKinney, Texas), and
  • Boys & Girls Club of King County (Seattle, Washington).

While each winning club employs different strategies and tactics to teach critical personal finance skills, a common theme for all involves reaching outside the framework of the basic Money Matters financial education curriculum to encourage hands-on, experiential learning. The different approaches include simulation of real-life financial decision-making, entrepreneurism and community involvement, local business participation in the program, and family outreach and involvement.

For example, the Boys & Girls Club of East Aurora, New York, has created its own “bank” and provides each teen participant with $1 as “seed money” and a checkbook complete with check register and deposit slips. When the teens wish to purchase something from the Club’s snack bar, they are encouraged to write a check as payment—provided they have the funds in their account to cover it. As a group, the kids learn to reconcile bank statements created by the club, with their own personal check registers. The Collin County Club similarly has its own currency, called “smart bucks” that kids can earn in a variety of ways and spend in the Club’s “Buck Store.” They also have the ability to save their smart bucks (and earn interest on them).

At the Boys & Girls Club of King County in Seattle, a Micro Society program enables teens to create their own city-society within the club’s walls and serves as an umbrella for multiple club programs including Money Matters.

“This entrepreneurial playground gives our youth experience in running a business, participating in government and taking leadership roles in the community, and it motivates them to develop skills that prepare them for success in school, work and life,” said Chief Professional Officer Daniel Johnson. “Financial education is a big part of that. Youth learn in a safe setting how financial decisions can have a real, positive or negative effect on every aspect of their community. Money Matters is the backbone of the Micro Society program.”

Community and family involvement are other important elements for two of the winning Clubs. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte and the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County in McKinney, Texas, aim to involve the whole family in Money Matters in order to strengthen the foundation of learning for the kids. Sessions for parents are offered in addition to those for the teens, covering topics such as renting vs. owning a home, choosing a bank, the importance of credit scores, budgeting, and credit card use.

Community partnership is the key to success for the Evansville Boys & Girls Club. Employees of Old National Bank teach the Money Matters sessions, and each teen who successfully completes the program receives a savings account at the Bank, pre-funded with ten dollars to get them started on a healthy saving habit.

“This partnership has proven to be a very effective way to break down barriers in both directions,” said Ron Ryan, chief professional officer at the Club. “Participants gain a sense of trust for the Bank and its employees, and the Bank employees gain insight into the lives of teens living in poverty and the challenges they face in becoming productive, responsible adults. Through the entire interactive relationship-building and education process, everyone involved benefits from this unique experience.”

“Even the best financial education curriculum needs to incorporate creative ways to deepen impact with young people,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “The Innovation Awards have helped identify meaningful, new ways to reach teens and bring financial education to life. That’s what’s most important: making the lessons fun and real so that these kids gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to make good financial decisions throughout their lives.”

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 and complements other Boys & Girls Club youth development programming.

Nearly 180,000 youth at approximately 1,500 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 $300,000 in scholarships to 147 Club teens who 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 ( has been changing and saving young lives, providing hope and opportunity for kids who need them most. Today, some 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found all across the country and on U.S. military bases throughout the world. Clubs provide young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. In communities large and small, Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a recent Harris Survey of Club alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their life. 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 (1009-11550)

PHOTO CAPTION: The Boys & Girls Club of East Aurora, New York, has its own “bank,” and teens get their own checkbooks complete with check register and deposit slips.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Brian E. Hill, 404-487-5978
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Sarah Bulgatz, 415-667-0328

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The Boys & Girls Club of East Aurora, New York, has its own "bank", and teens get their own checkbooks complete with check register and deposit slips. (Photo: Business Wire)

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