WASHINGTON – The FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) Board of Directors approved initiatives at its June meeting to expand personal finance programs and services for adults and children, and particularly those in underserved communities.
The Board approved a $2 million, three-year renewal of the Smart investing@your library® initiative, including the continuation of an 11-year partnership with the American Library Association (ALA). The expanded initiative encompasses training for library professionals, assistance to libraries in communities recovering from major natural disasters, and a newly designed traveling exhibition targeting children ages seven to 11, along with their parents, caregivers and educators.
The exhibition represents a collaboration between the FINRA Foundation and ALA’s Public Programs Office. When complete, the hands-on intergenerational exhibition will help young learners understand how money and credit work, while investigating money values such as fairness, responsibility and charitableness. The exhibition will travel to 50 libraries selected through an application process, which will open in January 2019.
The ALA and the FINRA Foundation are wrapping up a very successful two-year tour of their Thinking Money exhibition, which has served more than 350,000 teens, tweens and adults across the country. Participating libraries have delivered nearly 450 creative public programs on personal finance topics of critical importance to consumers.
Since 2007, the FINRA Foundation has allocated more than $15 million to libraries and library organizations to expand the availability of effective, unbiased financial education.
“Public libraries serve a critical need within communities, providing convenient access to free and reliable information to help patrons make educated choices about their personal finances,” said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. “Our research shows that these initiatives are empowering people to change their money management practices by saving more, budgeting, changing their credit card habits or putting money away for college or retirement.”
The FINRA Foundation Board also approved two grants totaling $40,000 to advance workplace financial capability programs in Idaho and Oregon, in collaboration with United Way Worldwide and Catholic Charities USA.
The grant funding is part of a national initiative, Financial Wellness at Work, which creates tools and provides peer-to-peer training for nonprofit leaders seeking to implement workplace financial wellness programs. To bolster these programs, the FINRA Foundation awards $20,000 implementation grants to community-based organizations to underwrite the costs of starting or advancing a workplace financial wellness program.
“Our vision is to foster sustainable community programs that use the workplace as a platform for providing financial capability programs,” Walsh said. “When we partner with community leaders, nonprofits and employers, we begin to establish pathways to household financial stability.”
Using a FINRA Foundation grant and training opportunities, for example, the United Way in Geauga County, Ohio—along with Geauga Growth Partnership and other community organizations—started a workplace financial wellness program in 2015 that is now available to more than 2,000 employees at 13 local companies. The Bridges@Work program, as it is known, includes one-on-one resource coordination, onsite financial education workshops and access to an Employer Sponsored Small-Dollar Loan Program.
“The financial support, training, and resources provided by the FINRA Foundation have helped us move more and more families and individuals toward self-sufficiency, and to do so in a way that makes economic sense for employers and for the community as a whole,” said Kimm Leininger, Executive Director of United Way Services of Geauga County.
About the FINRA Foundation
The FINRA Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills, and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit finrafoundation.org.
FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry—brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.