|January 25, 2012|
George Smaragdis, FINRA Foundation
Liz Markel, ASCLA/RUSA
WASHINGTON—The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association (ALA) have announced $1.2 million in grants to 16 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 fifth year, the program has awarded a total of nearly $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, college students, rural residents 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 online learning, seminars, one-on-one clinics, storytelling, performances 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.
"Libraries are integrating financial literacy into existing programs and services and making this content very visible and highly valued within their communities," said ALA President, Molly Raphael. "Financial education resources, staff training opportunities and partnerships developed through grants from the FINRA Foundation have created collections of core financial resources and a nationwide network of librarians equipped with the knowledge to connect users of all ages with programs and materials."
"Quality financial education is often as close and accessible as your local public library," said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Foundation. "Through these projects, public libraries and their partners make learning about personal finance and investing free, fun and convenient."
2011 Smart investing@your library® Grantees
Ada County Free Library District, Boise, ID
Ada County LYNX! consortium libraries will offer an array of programs and electronic services to meet the financial education needs of Generation Y residents (ages 18-32). The University of Idaho Extension and other state agencies will collaborate on a variety of project components, including finance book clubs for young professionals and a personal finance portal designed for mobile telephones and tablet computers.
Grant amount: $69,000
Albany County Public Library, Laramie, WY
Albany County Public Library is partnering with faculty from the University of Wyoming and a local technical college to provide Laramie residents with a better understanding of personal finances and tools to make optimal financial decisions. Workshops will emphasize finance basics, preparing to invest, retirement planning and student loan debt management.
Grant amount: $29,800
Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY
Boone County Public Library and the Brighton Center, a social services agency reaching 84,000 clients in northern Kentucky, are collaborating to improve the financial literacy and fiscal health of families in the region. The project will challenge families to evaluate and improve their financial health through a series of interactive learning experiences.
Grant amount: $100,000
Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Public Library will offer a combination of workshops, seminars, individual counseling sessions, and virtual investment clubs for adults and teens in the library's service area. The Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (the nation's first community development corporation), the Coalition for Debtor Education and Mind Your Money (an organization devoted to the financial literacy of teens and pre-teens) will assist with public programs and one-on-one counseling.
Grant amount: $100,000
Dakota County Library, Eagan, MN
Dakota County Library's initiative, "Dollars by the Decade," will promote financial literacy education as a lifelong process addressing the evolving needs of residents in various life stages. Recognizing that individuals will come to the program with different levels of knowledge and interests, the program will use print, digital and in-person workshops to teach personal finance fundamentals such as budgeting, saving, spending, credit and financial protection.
Grant amount: $69,513
Delaware County Library System, Media, PA
Delaware County Library System is partnering with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley and various Pennsylvania state agencies to improve the financial literacy and capability of low- to moderate-income families in the region. Educational experiences will help participants manage budgets and debt and plan for future needs.
Grant amount: $97,470
Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
Fairfield Public Library will build on its award-winning job assistance program and offer a series of practical personal finance workshops for adults aimed at expanding investing capability with a combination of direct instruction and team-based learning.
Grant amount: $50,070
Genesee District Library, Flint, MI
The Genesee District Library will collaborate with Central Michigan University and the regional chamber of commerce to establish a "family financial freedom" education initiative with programming and services for K–12 students, current college students, recent graduates and African American women, among others.
Grant amount: $91,500
Greenville County Library System, Greenville, SC
Greenville County Library System and its partners will pursue a multifaceted project designed to turn personal finance assumptions into changed attitudes, changed attitudes into changed behaviors, and changed behaviors into changed habits. Workshops on the psychology of spending, a public information campaign anchored by a dedicated project website and help with tax preparation are just a few of the strategies planned to help female heads of household overcome obstacles and achieve their money goals.
Grant amount: $66,325
Jackson District Library, Jackson, MI
Jackson District Library is partnering with United Way and other community agencies to deliver financial education resources in the county and improve communications about finances among low- and moderate-income households. Participants will develop a financial plan, increase their knowledge about money management and investing, and gain better access to learning resources with support from a personal finance help desk service and classes based on the FDIC Money Smart curriculum.
Grant amount: $99,187
Niles Public Library District, Niles, IL
Working with university and government partners in the region, Niles Public Library District will help adults ages 50 and over get prepared to make capable decisions in the years immediately preceding and during retirement. Topics will include a better understanding of Social Security, retirement preparedness, predatory financial practices and investment fraud.
Grant amount: $21,754
Pioneer Library System, Norman, OK
Pioneer Library System will partner with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Oklahoma, Citizen Pottawatomi Nation, Chickasaw Nation and employers in the hometowns of its 10 member libraries to offer "fiscally fit boot camps" to employees.
Grant amount: $57,967
Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC
Richland County Public Library will combine traditional educational activities (workshops, story times and outreach presentations) with creative and engaging experiences for families. The library will partner with Lunch Money, a children's band that "brings indie-rock to family audiences," to write a children's song about money, earning and saving for the future, and to schedule performances for young children. The library will work with Columbia College and local schools to engage teens in creating performances and games that teach younger children financial basics. The library's African-American History and Cultural Events Committee will work with partner organizations to sponsor and promote a series of family-focused financial literacy events on topics ranging from home ownership and saving for college to the basics of investing.
Grant amount: $78,500
Seekonk Public Library, Seekonk, MA
Seekonk Public Library and its partners will assist women ages 25 and over as they master financial basics, craft long-term financial plans, and acquire the saving and investing skills to put these plans into practice. Instructional programs will be organized around themes and will be supplemented by a series of networking events to add a social dimension to the program and allow participants to learn from each other. Guest speakers will address fiscal fitness for women. Business school faculty from Johnson & Wales University and staff from Money Management International (a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency) will lead the seminars.
Grant amount: $98,818
State Library of Iowa, Des Moines, IA
The State Library of Iowa, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Ames Public Library, will expand a successful, mixed-methods (online and face-to-face), library-based financial education model to 18 underserved rural communities across Iowa. The online courses will each last six weeks and will be segmented according to three generational cohorts: Starting Out (Generation X), Building Up (trailing Baby Boomers) and Making it Last (retirees). A capstone, face-to-face event in each location will follow the online learning and bring the local libraries into lasting partnership with community organizations.
Grant amount: $72,438
York County Library System, York, PA
York County Library System will partner with 17 high schools and seven urban elementary schools to improve the financial literacy and capability of students and parents by connecting them with the personal finance resources available through county libraries. The project will seek to teach York County high school juniors and seniors how to build a financial plan for post–high school success, and will equip parents of high school juniors and seniors with financial literacy tools to guide their teenagers' financial planning. Younger children will learn about spending, saving and borrowing, and their parents will learn financial literacy tools to reinforce their own financial knowledge and help them positively influence their children's future money management skills.
Grant amount: $99,922
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 independent 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 rules, enforcing those 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 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 across the country in their efforts to meet financial education needs at the local level.
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. 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.